NBA Offseason: 5 Things the Future Holds for the Miami Heat
With the triple zeros on the clock, the dream became a reality. Many previous NBA assumptions were again removed.
A team built mostly on free agents can't win a championship. Two top-5 players can't play together harmoniously. A team without a true center can't win a title.
Whatever adversity and issues the Heat had faced, they passed everyone with flying colors.
With Dwyane Wade playing on one good leg, Chris Bosh missing extensive postseason action, the role players being on and off and a confrontation between D-Wade and Coach Erik Spoelstra in Game 3 versus Indiana, the Heat proved they have the mental toughness and ability to close.
The Heat celebrated their title in today's victory parade. Here are five things the future holds for Miami that could have an effect on whether this team has any more victory parades.
And, if so, how many.
No.1: Dwyane Wade Becoming Flash Again
In the NBA Finals, Wade, according to the Palm Beach Post, brought back his former trainer, Tim Grover. Grover also trained Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady to career resurgences, as well as the great Michael Jordan.
Miami, as a team, struggled mightily with back-to-back-to-back games this season. Wade was forced to miss less important games to rest himself.
Though it was presumed the Heat would benefit from a lockout-shortened season, the quicker schedule with no practice time didn't allow Wade to recover from injuries game to game. Their schedule prevented them from practicing with certain lineups that needed to be played based on matchups.
With Wade, whether he gets the same "treatment" Kobe got in Germany last offseason, or redevelops good habits that allowed him to recover from a 15-win season a few years ago.
This year's performance by Wade was the worst since that time.
Wade will no longer be a 30-point scorer. Look for him to be between 20 and 25 points, be much more efficient with his shot, block more shots, get more steals and be a more efficient player with less minutes on the court.
Wade has given up control of the team to LeBron James, but can still be a top 5 player in the NBA for the next two seasons if he recovers the way Kobe Bryant did after last season. That will make Miami nearly unbeatable.
After a seven of eight three-point shot performance in the closeout Game 5, Mike Miller will visit with doctors to determine whether or not he should retire, according to The Daily Republic.
Miller's presence as a shooter, even if he wasn't making shots, makes defenses think about whether they should close out on shooters or pack the paint. But, his rebounding and defense have really added to the Heat.
Miller is 32 years old and may have had just a bad string of injuries the past two seasons. With Miami having possibly its first full offseason without intense scrutiny or a lockout, maybe everyone with bumps and bruises will recover before the beginning of the season.
Miller is the best shooter on the Heat roster considering retirement, but 31-year-old James Jones definitely sees retirement as an option, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Don't be surprised if Juwan Howard, 39, considers retirement as well.
With these three players retiring a possibility, Miami's roster could have some huge changes in terms of who the first players are off the bench and the shooters the Heat will use around the penetration of LeBron and D-Wade.
No. 3: Young Point Guards Developing into Potential Stars, This Year's Draft
Mario Chalmers waved to the crowd in the third quarter of Miami's Game 5 win, but LeBron told him to stop.
This was after Chalmers' Game 4 of 25 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, which included missing a few open shots early.
Chalmers' inconsistency and lack of control may finally disappear this offseason, as he was pushed hard by rookie Norris Cole early this season.
A full offseason as the No.1 point guard, along with a championship ring, will give him the confidence to play his game without worrying about playoff time.
Though he may make some mistakes from trying too hard, Chalmers appears to have the full confidence from the rest of the veterans and the Big Three. Cole hit arguably the two biggest shots of Game 4 with two quick three-pointers that helped lead a 19-2 rally for Miami to tie Oklahoma City after a quick deficit.
Both guys are very good defenders with underrated shooting abilities and have a lot of room to develop. While neither is depended on as a pure point guard, they both can set the offense.
Chalmers has the ability to add to the Heat's Big Three as a fourth scorer in a similar way to Rajon Rondo did for Boston's Big Three.
Cole and Chalmers could, and should, be the best young point guard combination in the NBA next season. Their now more consistent abilities will give Miami it's fourth option on offense.
With a deep draft this year, if Miami can get another player like Cole or have a talented player like Jared Sullinger, Tony Wroten, Draymond Green or Royce White drop to them, Miami's window could possibly increase for a year or two while also making Miami a little younger and more athletic.
No. 4: LeBron James Getting Even Better
LeBron had always been a perimeter offensive threat until this offseason, when he worked on his postgame with Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, according to the Associated Press (via USA Today).
James used that new postgame to full effect in the final four games of the Finals, and it led to his first NBA Finals MVP and first triple-double of the season in Game 5.
With his size and strength allowing him to play either power forward or center, James is the one player in the league who can play and defend all five positions on the court. He is by far the best rebounding player for the Miami Heat right now.
At 27 years old, LeBron is arguably in the first year of his prime—which for most professional athletes is from 27 to 32 or 33.
Therefore, LeBron could have five or six years better than this past one. Would you bet against him learning more from Olajuwon, along with the rest of the players on the U.S. Olympic team, including Kobe Bryant?
Once LeBron can combine the best of his jump shooting we saw in Game 6 in Boston, an improved postgame and be efficient with the use of both, he may shoot 60 percent from the field.
The best of LeBron James is yet to be seen, and there is no way to predict what his true ceiling is.
No. 5: Possible Veteran Additions
Even if Mike Miller and James Jones come back, Miami will still look for more veterans to join the team—especially those who can shoot from the perimeter.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com's Heat Index has written that there is mutual interest between Ray Allen and the Miami Heat. Miami can offer him the taxpayer mid-level exception of $3 million per year.
With any other free agents, however, Miami will have to offer the veteran's minimum. Players could include players like Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis, once he is bought out by New Orleans.
Depending on what happens with Miller, Miami could amnesty him or try to get a disabled player exception depending on how serious his injuries are.
With Pat Riley's success as President in putting championship teams together, veterans will jump at the chance to go for a championship.
If Miami can add another shooter, a stretch four and a possible starting center, look out for a possible historic season.