In South Beach, the Miami Heat currently sit in second place in the Southeast Division with a 6-5 record. Now, looking across the NBA, there are other teams with far more talent than the Heat who sit in a record lower or worse than the Heat. Here’s the issue at hand. When LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland, many thought the Heat would no longer be competitive or legit playoff contender this year. Even with the newest additions through the offseason, many fans sat on the edge of their seats prior to the opening of this season. However, thus far, head Erik Spoelstra has been able to construct a team of players who have a great chance to make an impact in the Eastern Conference this year, despite losing their star in LeBron James.
Again, at 6-5, if the playoffs started today, the Heat would sit at the sixth seed playing Chicago as the fifth seed. What may seem a little bit far-fetched this early in the season, it is evident the pressure will be on the Miami Heat as to whether or not they will have a successful season and if the team will be a genuine contender in the playoffs this year. Overall, it is good Spoelstra has established the concept to other teams around the league that his team will be competitive this year. However, here are two things to consider as the Heat move forward in terms of progressing throughout the season and ultimately competing to make the playoffs this year.
Forward Chris Bosh is now the true star of the team and must play accordingly.
Over the past three seasons, Bosh has been known to have inconsistency issues in terms of his offensive production, his ability to crash the boards and be the anchor to the previous “Big Three”. Thus, with James gone and through the first 11 games, it is imperative that Bosh becomes the star of the team. Essentially, he now needs to be the LeBron James of the team. This statement is not to discredit the body of work from superstar teammate Dwyane Wade and the supporting cast of the Heat but it is known when the Big Three were together, James was the leader. So, putting things into perspective, Bosh needs to take more initiative into being the leader on the court. This does not mean scoring the most points every game but this also does not mean have an outstanding performance in one game and score five points in the next six games for example.
Overall, Bosh is averaging nearly 20 points and nine rebounds per game. However, in the last five games and factoring in the injuries to Dwyane Wade, Josh McRoberts and offensive stud Luol Deng, Bosh has averaged just over 14 points per game. At this point, with the caliber and makeup of this team, this will not cut it. He has to be more dominant and more visible in every game. He will need help from his supporting cast but this team will ultimately fall on his shoulders this year until the end of the season when free agency roles around again, which could be very interesting for Miami going into the future.
Shawne Williams must continue to make an impact and build his presence on the team.
In Shawne Williams, you have a player who was playing in the D-league at one point in time after initially being selected as a first round pick out of the University of Memphis. Nevertheless, since joining the Heat, he has shown his dedication to getting better and proven that he can provide quality offensive and defensive production for a Miami Heat team, who currently ranks 21st in points per game and 30th in rebounds.
The 6-foot-10 big man has averaged nearly 12 points and six rebounds in every game this season. However, here is something even better, Williams has averaged 13 or more points in six of the Heat first eleven games. Honestly, if he continues to dedicate himself to working hard and improving, he will be great asset to the Heat for offensive production when other key players like Bosh, Wade, Deng or struggling to score. Not to mention, he has a good stroke from beyond the arc, shooting nearly 51 percent from three point range.
If Bosh continues to find his way as the leader of the team, Wade, Deng, McRoberts return from injuries healthy and ready to work, Williams continues to impress and bench or rookies like Shabazz Napier continue to get valuable playing time, Miami will continue to develop its team chemistry and get better as the season moves forward.