NBA Preview: Can Miami Heat build off momentum of last season’s finish?

GM: Andy Elisburg
Head coach: Erik Spoelstra
2016-17 record: 41-41 (9th in the Eastern Conference)
2016-17 result: Didn’t make the playoffs
Key departures: Willie Reed
Key acquisitions: Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat shocked everyone last year after they were able to finish the season on a 30-11 run despite a 11-30 start. They missed the playoffs by one game, but no can expect the same result by the end of 2017-18.

Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley believes that his team is ahead of their re-build schedule, adding quality players to his roster after waiving Chris Bosh this summer, which opened $25.3 million in cap space.

After failing to attract a star like Gordon Hayward in the off-season, they were still able to retain their core, the same one that had turned the Heat back into winners in 2016-17. They signed Dion Waiters to a bargain, four years for $52 million, and also brought back James Johnson for a slightly higher price.

They added strength in their front court in free agent Kelly Olynyk, after drafting a potential steal in Bam Adebayo. Those two will help add versatility alongside players like Hassan Whiteside, and a plethora of scrappy wings in Justise Winslow, Justin Richardson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson, who all averaged north of 10 points last season while making up for each others’ injuries.

Goran Dragic also had a great summer, winning the EuroBasket MVP award while leading Slovenia to a title. Behind a championship-calibre coach in Erik Spoelstra and the leadership of freshly signed Udonis Haslem, the Heat seem to have all the ingredients to become any team’s worst nightmare.

Potential Breakout Player
Josh Richardson should emerge this season as the Heat’s most impactful piece coming off the bench after averaging 10.2 points in his sophomore …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

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