I was optimistic about this years Miami Heat. I'm a loyal fan through thick and thin - and this year fits the THICK side ... or is it the THIN side.... I'm not sure. Either way - it was a frustrating year for Miami Heat fans. It wasn't like 2008 where the team was the worst in the league. It was worse because the team should have been above average. They were not. Here's my thoughts on the season:
1) Injuries - When all is said and done - the Heat organization will get a pass this year because they had so many injuries. While it's valid, they 100% still should have been a top 6 team in the East this year regardless of injuries.
2) Chris Bosh proved he was worth every penny. He's a max player and this year - he backed it up. I have confidence he'll get better in the offseason and will come back even more hungry in 2015-2016.
3) Eric Spoelstra: I love Eric's Spoeltra's basketball philosophy, his operational and data-driven approach, and his calm no-excuse demenoer. This said, in the off season, he needs to hire an in-game manager. It's clearly not Keith Smart or David Fisdale. To me, this was the most frustrating controllable aspect of the season (injuries aren't controllable). Dwayne Wade is my favorite basketball player of all time - BUT - having your 2 minute left in the 4th quarter offense be "D.Wade ISO from top of the key" just isn't going to cut it. CALL PLAYS!
4) I never thought I'd say this - but - James Jones would have been a huge help on this team. We had no true 3 point threat consistently. HUGE need in the offseason.
5) Hassan Whiteside trick or treat. Dude was such an unreal presence this season. He makes difference on the floor in so many ways but in particular on the glass on effecting shots on the defensive end. Oh - and he also has offensive game beyond a dominate offensive put-back sneaky game.... I don't like his body language most of the time and50% FT shooting just isn't going to cut it, BUT... I don't know why the team went away from him in crunch time. Next year he'll not only be a bargain but will be in a contract year .... so ... should be exciting!!
6) Goran Dragic - He showed me he's got skills - can hit open 3s, yet definitely prefers to take the ball to the hoop - and as a lefty - he's crafty at the rim. This said, he never really felt comfortable as a needed leader on the team. He deferred to Wade 95% of the time - but I really liked what I saw with the 5%. I hope he comes back and I think he wants to stay in Miami - but I'm not sure if the math is gonna work or not. I'm OK if it does.
7) Pat Riley - this is the first season where I heard him admit that he's mostly a figure-head. I still like him as the figure-head and I'm OK with that continuing as long as he wants.
That's it. As a #HeatLifer I have no anger about this season (although I can't say I wasn't angry watching these games down the stretch - it was painful). I believe in the organization and I'm looking forward to next year!