Miami Heat Ready to Rise to the Top Once Again

Mike PiccoloContributor IOctober 5, 2008

As the Miami Heat get ready for their preseason tipoff, I can't help but make a prediction about the upcoming season. 

We have all seen the offseason moves and chances that the Heat have taken, but will they pay off? 

The answer, I believe, is yes.

Miami has made huge headlines and major waves since the end of their worst and most-disastrous season in their short history in the league.  Moves including drafting one of the best and most NBA-ready talents in years, Michael Beasley, and picking up for basically nothing one of the most underrated rookies on draft night, Mario Chalmers. 

But this was just the tip of the iceberg.  The Heat went on to make many major acquisitions, such as James Jones—and my personal favorite, former lottery pick Shaun Livingston.

After the offseason moves, here is a look at what may potentially be the Heat's starting lineup:

PG: Shaun Livingston/Mario Chalmers

SG: Dwyane Wade

PF: Shawn Marion

SF: Micheal Beasley

C: Blount/Udonis Haslem/Magliore

I really don't see how this team could miss the playoffs.  With this much talent and the leadership of one of the best players in the league, Dwyane Wade, there is no doubt in my mind that, barring injury, this team will rise to be one of the most-feared and powerful teams in the Eastern Conference. 

My predictions are as follows:

The Miami Heat will finish first in the Southeast Division, with a 51-31 record.

The Miami Heat will finish second or third in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Boston Celtics and possibly the Detroit Pistons.

Looking into the playoffs, however, is another story. With Dwyane Wade on the team, they could easily slip into the Conference and/or NBA Finals.  This is why I feel that the sky is the limit for this amazing team. 

The Miami Heat have the world in their palms (no pun intended).  What they do with it is up to them.