With the All-Star break almost upon the NBA, the Miami Heat are fourth in the Eastern Conference. They do not have a roster full of All-Stars like in the days of LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane wade. This is a team full of veterans and young players. There main acquisition in the offseason was signing Kelly Olynk. In one of their recent games they showed why they could cause teams problems in the playoffs. They held a Rockets squad that’s been averaging 114 points a game to 99. It was only the fourth time this season that the Rockets were held under 100 points. The Heat will not win by simply outscoring teams in the playoffs, but their depth and defense could carry them.
So far this year Miami’s highest scorer is Goran Dragic, who is averaging 17.1 points a game. Unlike most playoff teams, Miami doesn’t have a superstar that can carry this team. Not having a superstar hasn’t stopped this team, as players such as Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, and Josh Richardson are performing above expectations. As the Heat have dealt with injuries to key players Goran Dragic and James Johnson, other players such as Josh Richardson and Wayne Ellington have stepped up. They’ve done a tremendous job at adapting to the change of play in the NBA. The league has turned into a shooters game, and the Heat have been extremely good at running people off the perimeter. The defense is not the only thing carrying this team, as they have very good depth.
Although the Heat do not have a twenty point scorer, they do have eight players averaging more than ten points a game. As a team, Miami is shooting forty five percent from field and have only two players shooting under forty percent. This allows the Heat to spread the ball around because everyone can shoot. What makes it more impressive is that the Heat are doing this with players other teams gave up on.
When James Johnson joined the Heat last year, it was his fifth team in eight seasons. He was inconsistent and struggled to earn his coaches trust until last year. Injuries gave Johnson the opportunity he needed and he took it. Wayne Ellington is another player who falls under this category. Before joining the Heat last season, Ellington spent his first eight NBA seasons with six different teams. This year he is taking 7 three pointers a game. The Heat don’t mind as he is shooting 41 percent from three point range and becoming one of the premier sharpshooters in the NBA. While this team has been impressive, they still have a ways to go.
They will have to continue this type of play for the remainder of the season. They do not have any elite scorers, meaning their defense will have to carry them. The playoffs will be a completely different atmosphere for this team. It does look as though the days of the Heat being contenders again is close. Miami may not win a championship in the near future, but they are building towards it and are not far off.