2008-09 Season preview: The Miami Heat

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst ISeptember 16, 2008

15-67 was a feat accomplished by the Miami Heat only one time before and that was its inagural season which featured Heat great Rony Seikaly. Two years after beating the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA title, the Heat have fallen off—and I mean off.

No team has done this bad two years after a championship (I'm used to it, Im a Florida Marlins fan).

But even after an abysmal season where it looked like the Heat reached rock bottom, the team shows nearly as much promise as any other team in the NBA thanks in part to its new pickups and an A+ plus draft.

The Miami Heat have taken a different approach by departing with some of its veteran players in return for young players that show alot of promise. Ricky Davis, Jason Williams, Earl Barron and most of its D-league players have all been released or sent to another team to make room for it's new batch of young players. 

No. 2 pick Michael Beasley adds new young firepower to the Heat and will surely help the Heat in a run back to the top of the east. With Dwyane Wade's performance in the 2008 Beijing games, fans of the Heat saw something that they haven't seen in years, a healthy D-Wade.

Running the point guard spot still is up for grabs, but it looks like that rookie Mario Chalmers out of Kansas will beat out Marcus Banks and Chris Quinn.

Chalmers was a steal in the early second round when the Heat traded for him getting what they've needed in a young point guard. Chalmers was remembered for his last second shot in the game against Memphis in last years NCAA championship that sent the game into overtime leading to a win.

Chalmers most likely won't be taking the big shots when the time comes, but expect an up and coming player out of Mario.

Taking the shooting guard will be superstar Dwyane Wade and after rehabbing his knee the last month of the 2007-08 season and proving his worth in the Beijing olympics, Dwyane Wade is looking alot like the Dwyane Wade we all remember him as.

Wade constantly led the U.S. team in points, hit big shots for the team and had some dunks we haven't seen in years. With Wade nearly 100 percent healthy, expect MVP caliber numbers and even a possible MVP award.

Small forward at the moment is looking to be last years midseason acquisition Shawn Marion. With trade rumors looming over him, but nothing being completed as of yet, Marion looks to be the starting small forward. Marion has always been known as a versatile player and for his run and gun offense, the matrix will be a valuable part of the Heat and will put up his usual numbers.

Udonis Haslem should be replaced at the power forward spot for the upcoming season by newcomer Michael Beasley. Beasley was a standout at Kansas State last season and put up absurd numbers nearly averaging 25-15 a night, unheard of for a college basketball player in this time.

Beasley features a long range game, a short range game and a low post game. Plain and simple, the guy can ball like no other draft pick of this year and we can only wait and see how this guy plays.

When it looked like the Heat were stacked at center, it all went downhill. Shaquille O'Neal was traded and Alonzo Mourning had an injury that sent him out the rest of the season and threatened his career.

Mark Blount was chosen to be starter and even though is a reasonable shooter, has little to no post up game and does not stand a chance against players like Dwight Howard. Offseason acquisition, Jamaal Magloire, was added to bolster some strength in the low post and could replace the spot Alonzo Mourning once hold before he returns midseason.

The Heat has bolstered its bench over the offseason with new three-point threat James Jones, who has one of the highest 3-point percentages in the NBA. Yakhouba Diawara out of France will be a stable backup to Shawn Marion. Udonis Haslem will be moved to the bench after being replaced by Beasley.

He'll be joined by backup guards Daequan Cook and Dorrell Wright, who will continue to put up stable numbers coming off the bench. Chris Quinn and Marcus Banks will back up Mario Chalmers. Banks proved very useful coming off the bench last season behind Jason Williams, who has departed since.

The Miami Heat are on its biggest rebuilding stage in its history and want to return to its glory days of a few years past.  The Heat, if Wade can stay healthy and if Beasley does put up his expected numbers, can make a playoff push and return near the top of the southeast division.


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