State of the Southeast Division: Miami Heat


The NBA Southeast Division is ripe for challenge. While the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards managed to withstand the winds of fate last year as good playoff teams, the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat were beaten down by injuries and unable to join the playoff party. Now both Charlotte and Miami are reloaded and healthy and looking to make their own mark.

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Between the two teams, it is the Miami Heat who made the biggest off season waves. They brought back Dwyane Wade for next year. They brought back Goran Dragic, who was added at the end of last season. They added to their bench depth with forwards Amare Stoudemire and dunk master Gerald Green.

More importantly they get Chris Bosh back. Bosh was right about his abilities to be the primary scoring option in the offense. Without his lung blood clots, the Heat would have been a playoff team this year.

Then of course there is the Duke connection. That includes Luol Deng, who returns. It includes draftee Justise Winslow, fresh off his National Championship victory. Both of them are wings and one will start with the other coming off the bench. My current money would place Deng in that spot for now.

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  • The last Duke player is Josh McRoberts. McRoberts has seen his role shift with the emergence of center Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside enables the Heat to play Bosh at the four in his natural position. McRoberts was brought as a stretch four under the assumption that Bosh would see ample time at center. Now McRoberts would be a backup for Bosh, although it would be hard to see how he and Stoudemire would share minutes. The Heat have to know that Stoudemire does not have the defensive game to anchor the low post.

    Probable Starting Lineup

    PG Goran Dragic
    SG Dwyane Wade
    SF Luol Deng
    PF Chris Bosh
    C Hassan Whiteside

    Bench – F Justise Winslow, G Mario Chalmers, F Gerald Green, F Amare Stoudemire, F Josh McRoberts

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    How good the Heat may become is hard to say. The team seems significantly upgraded compared to last year’s Heat roster, which was not bad. The players the Heat can put on the floor concern me more than the Hawks roster even if the Hawks had the superior record last year. The Hornets will have to play hard to match that 2-2 record they compiled against the Heat last year.

    Next: State of the Division: Atlanta Hawks