There has not been a preseason game more hyped up than the one between the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons tonight. Possibly due to the fact that one of the greatest juggernauts in NBA history is stepping onto the court for the first time since joining forces in early July.
It has been a long summer as Heat fans have patiently waited for the preseason to arrive so that they might finally get a glimpse of their new look team. They will get their wish at 7:30 tonight at the American Airlines Arena in a match up with the Pistons.
There will be much to see from the AAA tonight as we get to see our first looks at Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Eddie House in the red and black, but obviously the focus will be on that of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh and just how well they mesh together.
With eight preseason games on tap, there will be ample enough opportunities to get a chance to see the Heat in action prior to the start of the regular season.
There will also be opportunities for the nation to see as the Heat's last two preseason games are nationally televised.
To put that into perspective, there are a number of teams that don’t have that many nationally televised regular season games. With the entire preseason televised locally, observing games won’t be difficult to those in the counties surrounding the AAA.
With all the hype surrounding this team, going into a preseason game nonetheless, what should we expect to see from the three weeks worth of preseason games ahead of us?
Don’t Expect Too Much Wade, James, and Bosh.
If you want a true glimpse of what the big three are going to look like, wait until October 26th when the regular season begins. Chances are that we’ll see the three play together for the majority of the first quarter and possibly a few minutes in the second quarter to see how well each one plays with the second or third units.
They’ll be inserted into preseason games mostly to develop a chemistry on the court with each other and their teammates, but don’t expect too much big three action in the second half.
The Heat organization won’t be risking any chance of losing any one of the big three this preseason for a certain amount of time considering this is mostly a chemistry building exercise. LeBron, Dwyane, and Chris have nothing to prove talent wise and will be sat for most of the game to allow lower tier players a chance to gain a roster spot that will see minutes in the regular season.
The team might be stacked with talent, but most of these players haven’t played together. This Heat team is completely different from that of the one from last year, so seeing a few turnovers here and there shouldn’t come as a surprise as a number of plays could be misread and the chemistry begins to develop.
Every player needs to develop an on-court relationship with their teammates and a few wires might get crossed in the process. The good thing is that this is preseason and there are plenty of room for errors like this.
We can also expect a position battle at the point guard position. While it is nearly assured that Mario Chalmers is the point guard to be come October 26th, there will be a huge race for a spot as far as the depth chart goes. Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House, Kenny Hasbrouck, and Patrick Beverly will all be looking to prove themselves as legitimate point guards that are ready to receive significant minutes as back-ups to Chalmers.
Expect plenty of three-pointers.
There are three legitimate three-point threats on this Heat team in Mike Miller, Eddie House, and James Jones and they are all ready to shoot lights out from beyond the arc.
Miller is listed as the first option off the bench considering that he is coming off of a season where he averaged a career high 48% from behind the three-point stripe and has averaged 40% for his career. Miller is easily the most consistent three-point shooter on this team and will begin to get back into form during the preseason.
Jones will be an interesting case as he will attempt to make a push for a significant roster spot after being an afterthought the previous two seasons. Jones has put on clinics in the past but has not received too many chances in the past in securing a spot that receives minutes.
In the recent scrimmage, James hit a number of three-pointers, uncontested and guarded, and could see an opportunity to receive minutes in the regular season if he can learn to thrive off of the big three and hit open shots.
This is one of most confident teams the Miami Heat have ever put out. Never before has a team like this been assembled and every player on the Heat knows it. The team knows what they can be capable of during the regular season and might want to establish that in a few preseason games.
In the short amount of time that the big three will be out on the floor, they’re going to look to possibly use intimidation as a means of winning and pulling ahead early.
With the thought that they know they are a good team, they can establish a strong sense of confidence. If there is any trait that is needed in an NBA team, it is the confidence that they can go out and believe they can win every game if they play hard enough.
Shooters like Miller, House, and Jones will have the confidence to shoot when given opportunities, Chalmers and Arroyo will have the confidence to complete assists to the plethora of talented players on the team, and most importantly the big three will have the confidence needed to lead this team.
Don’t be surprised if the Heat are below .500 this preseason. Considering they are basically trying to establish a chemistry between the team, fans should not expect too many wins over the next three weeks.
Not only that, but the three highly coveted players on this team will not be needed too much to win games in the preseason when they can handle that responsibility in the regular season.
The preseason will be a learning exercise for most of the team as they learn to gel and mesh with each other, including the big three and the rest of the squad who will need to learn to play alongside one of them at every instance in the game.
The Heat will need to learn to work through James, Bosh, and/or Wade for the entire 48 minutes and there could be a few momentary lapses of judgment for teammates that are just now learning to work together.
The next three weeks will be a momentous occasion as we can finally begin to witness what the Heat truly have on their hands. While the preseason is usually of little to no performance, Miami’s will still be one to watch as we get to see the three-headed monster finally play together after two months of anticipation.