LY W-L: 66-16
Key Additions: None
Key Departures: Mike Miller
Analysis: The Miami Heat have participated in the NBA finals in all three years (winning each of the last two championships) of the Big Three era and there is no reason to think this year will be any different.
The Heat had a mostly quiet offseason. They re-signed big man Chris Anderson, who was a fantastic midseason pickup. They exercised their option on starting point guard Mario Chalmers Seldom used forwards James Jones and Rashard Lewis exercised their own options to return to the team. The Heat used the amnesty provision to waive swingman Mike Miller. Despite playing in 17 playoffs games and even starting five, Miller isn’t much of a loss. The 33-year old is on his last legs and averaged just 3.4 points in 13.6 minutes per game during the postseason.
Obviously the Heat will only go as far as LeBron James (26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.3 aassists per game) takes them, but he has more help than many probably believe.
Dwyane Wade (21.2 ppg, 5.1 apg, 5.0 rpg) is still a big time player when he is healthy and will help James carry the scoring load.
Despite rumblings during the playoffs, forward Shane Battier (6.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg) had a much better numbers in his second season with the heat, shooting 43.0% from beyond the arc last season.
Last year the Heat made a big splash, signing guard Ray Allen (10.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and it really paid off. Allen was Miami’s fourth leading scorer behind the big three and hit the, biggest shot of his great career when he tied game six of the NBA finals, sending the game to overtime (The Heat went on to win games six and seven). Allen will again have to be productive and provide timely shooting.
If Chalmers (8.6 ppg, 3.5 apg) can continue to bug opposing point guards and knock down shots from the outside (he shot 40.9% from three last year) and Norris Cole (5.6 ppg, 2.1 apg) can continue to develop, the Heat will be fine at point guard.
Anderson (4.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Chris Bosh (16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg), and Udonis Haslem (3.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) will man the front court.
(Projected) 2013-2014 W-L: 61-21
As long as the Heat have the best player in the world, LeBron James, they will be one of the favorites. Due to a declining health of Dwyane Wade and the age of several of the Heat’s main contributors, this season will be more difficult.
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