Miami Heat: 7 Bold Predictions for Boys of South Beach Down the Stretch
This season has started out like the Heat had hoped it would. Even though they have had some injury problems, they are still 22-7 and only one game back from having the best record in the league.
LeBron James is having possibly the best season of his career, and Wade and Bosh are also contributing with superb play on a nightly basis.
One of the biggest surprises for the Heat this season and a big reason they’ve been so successful is the emergence of Norris Cole. No one expected him to come in and be so successful as Chalmers’ backup right away.
Currently the Heat are all healthy and on a roll, winning five of their last six games. Here are my predictions for how this season will turn out for the Miami Heat.
Shane Battier Continues to Struggle
Last offseason, the Heat thought they were signing a key role player when they signed Shane Battier away from the Memphis Grizzlies, but that has not been the case. He is having by far the worst season of his career.
Battier’s strengths have always been his tenacious defense and ability to always take smart shots. This season, however, these have been his worst attributes. He is putting up well below his career average in both steals and blocks and has the lowest field goal percentage of his career.
Battier just looks out of place when he’s on the floor with the Heat, and I don’t see that changing much as the season goes on and his role diminishes.
James Jones Defends His Three-Point Shootout Title
James Jones is not having nearly as good of a season as he had last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost his shooting touch at all. Last season, Jones played almost twice the amount of minutes and shot many more three-pointers than he’s shot this season, but his three-point percentage is nearly identical to what he shot last season when he won the Three-Point Challenge.
I hope the NBA doesn’t overlook him due to the lack of playing time this season because I believe he will repeat as Three-Point Champion if given the opportunity.
Eddy Curry Gets Cut
I don’t know what Pat Riley’s realistic expectations were for Eddy Curry this season, but it had to be more than what he’s gotten out of him so far.
All summer, all you heard about was how Curry lost almost 100 pounds and was determined to finally be an effective NBA player again. This clearly wasn’t the case, though, since he has only played in six games for a total of 29 minutes as a member of the Miami Heat.
The man, who was once referred to as “Baby Shaq” for his dominant presence on the court, has now scored a total of 41 points and grabbed 22 rebounds over the past three seasons. This has to be a sign that Curry has nothing left in the tank and shouldn’t be on an NBA roster anymore.
Dwyane Wade Wins All-Star Game MVP
LeBron James may be having the better season so far out of the two, but Dwyane Wade will be the one who shows off in Orlando during the All-Star game later this month.
D-Wade always shows up to play during the All-Star game. In his six All-Star appearances, Wade is averaging 18 ppg and shooting 59 percent from the field. He is one of the few players who actually plays a little bit of defense in this game and is averaging three steals per game in his All-Star appearances.
Wade loves to entertain the crowd and will have a huge performance at this year’s All-Star game. The East will end up on top in the game, and Wade will take home the MVP trophy for the second time in his career.
The Heat Sign a Veteran Big Man
The Heat only start Joel Anthony at center because they have no other options. He is decent at best on defense and below average at both scoring and rebounding.
Since Anthony can only be counted on for around 20 minutes per game, the Heat often play a smaller lineup with Haslem and Bosh as the two big men. This can lead to a lot of mismatches with bigger teams like the Bulls, Lakers and Magic.
The Heat should go out and find a suitable center they can use during the playoffs, so they don’t need to count on Curry or Anthony for many minutes. It is rumored that the Heat currently have an offer out to former Bobcat center Joel Przybilla.
He would be a perfect option for the Heat since he is known for his tough defense and rebounding. If he doesn’t accept their offer, other options could be the recently released Kyrylo Fesenko or Erick Dampier if his 10-day contract isn't renewed by the Hawks.
LeBron James Wins Third MVP Award
As I stated before, LeBron James is probably having his best season ever so far, and he has already played well enough to earn two MVP awards in his young career.
He is currently second in the league in scoring and is shooting a ridiculous 54 percent from the field. He is also shooting a career high from three-point range, as well as grabbing a career high 8.2 rebounds per game. On top of all of that, LeBron is also playing his usual amazing defense, averaging 1.7 steals per game.
Barring no sudden collapse, the Heat will finish the season towards the top of the Eastern Conference and LeBron James will become just the eighth player in NBA history to be awarded three MVP awards.
The Heat Fall Short of a Championship Once Again
I’m sorry, Heat fans, no happy ending for you guys once again. Even worse, this season the Heat won’t even make it to the NBA Finals.
I really believe the Chicago Bulls are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They are just so solid at all five starting positions and have a much deeper bench than the Heat do. They currently have the best record in the East, while still being very cautious with Rose’s injuries and benching him for a few games.
I don’t believe the Heat match up well with the Bulls. The Bulls two biggest strengths are their PG, Derrick Rose, and their big men, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. These happen to be the Heat’s two biggest weaknesses, so the Bulls should be able to take advantage at these positions.
Also, LeBron James is clearly the better SF and best player on the court, but the Bulls still have their own All-Star at that position who will make this a really tough series for LeBron.
I believe whichever team comes out of the Eastern Conference is going to win the NBA Championship this season, but I expect it to be the Chicago Bulls and not the Miami Heat.