The opening of the Miami Heat’s training camp last week brought with it a new season, new rumors and new storylines for fans and the media to over dissect and analyze from now until the 2013 NBA Finals are complete.
No team has received the spotlight as much as Miami since LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join the South Beach party. With a championship under their belt, that attention certainly won’t decrease.
Here are some of the biggest storylines heading into camp.
The biggest concern for Miami is the health of multiple key pieces.
From the sounds of it, Wade’s status for the season opener against the Boston Celtics is questionable. He’s going to miss time in both training camp and the preseason as he slowly works his way back into shape.
I doubt the Heat would rush him at all in his return. Wade will turn 31 in January, and this is his second career surgery on his left knee.
Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley know the most important part of the regular season is to win the division and preserve everyone’s health in the process. Miami can easily do that with Wade missing the first few games of the regular season, so don’t be surprised if Wade sits out the first week or two.
Miller also was visibly going through incredible pain during the 2012 playoffs.
According to an interview with Dan Le Batard Friday, Miller says he’s feeling better than ever. He said this was the first offseason in his career where he couldn’t work hard because he was only resting and rehabbing. That rest has apparently paid off, as Miller said the only thing holding him back right now is his conditioning.
Like Wade, don’t be surprised if Miami gradually work Miller back into normal playing time, given the additions of sharpshooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in the offseason.
Although he’s not hurt, it sounds like LeBron James will also take it easy early on because of his nonstop basketball activities over the past 10 months.
Other injury notes, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst–Ray Allen is still dealing with some swelling in his right ankle, Chris Bosh took the full summer to rest his abdomen and Rashard Lewis is still working his way into shape after only playing 28 games last year.
Overall, the Heat will probably start out the season sluggishly, so don’t panic if a record of 5-5 presents itself after three weeks.
Last offseason, Spoelstra consulted the Oregon Ducks’ football spread offense for inspiration on how to revamp his athletically-based offense.
This year, he’s going to Paul Westhead.
Westhead is known for his run-and-gun style of coaching known as “The System”. He used it successfully as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson in the early 1980s, then with Loyola Marymount in the mid-to-late 80s.
Although Spoelstra is looking for inspiration, don’t expect Miami’s style to change much. Spoelstra said he wants to up the team’s pace a little bit while keeping the same team philosophies, which are, “defend, attack and attack the paint in particular.”
With a regular schedule that is not condensed this year, it would be smart for Miami to run a little more, considering the team’s athleticism.
Yes and no. A recent interview with ESPN’s Michael Wallace revealed how exactly the Heat plan on using Bosh.
While it sounds like Bosh will technically be the starting center, he’ll still be doing Chris Bosh things.
Yeah, he’ll have to guard the Andrew Bynums and Dwight Howards of the NBA, but his offensive style won’t be changing much, if any at all.
Miami will just be using a small ball type of starting lineup in order to get their five best players on the court. It’s what they’ll use in crunch time, and it’s what they used to win the NBA Finals, so why not use it to start the game?
With Bosh becoming the team’s new center, that leaves LeBron as the starting power forward.
Speculation has risen about the chances of him playing point-power forward full-time for Miami.
This is an exciting prospect, since the NBA has never really seen one before.
But, really, this is the same situation with Bosh. The official name is new and exciting, but overall, it’s not like LeBron’s role or performance will dramatically change.
He’s been a forward basically his whole career, and he’s led his team in assists every year since joining the NBA.
LeBron’s rebounding and low-post scoring might increase a little as his comfort in the post grows, but he’s still going to be the same old LeBron, no matter where he’s officially listed.