Miami Heat 2010-11 NBA Season Preview

10.26.10 7 years ago

LeBron James (photo. David Alvarez)

As the NBA regular season approaches, we preview the upcoming campaign with the “Highs and Lows” system — predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team.

Added: LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard

Lost: Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal, Quentin Richardson, Dorell Wright, Daequan Cook, Rafer Alston

Ceiling: First of many championships
It seems simple enough. Get two of the three (maybe 2 of the 4) best players in the world on your team, and you should (eventually) win a championship. Or two or three or four. By bringing together the true modern-day Jordan/Pippen combo, enlisting LeBron to join Dwyane Wade, the Heat became an instant title contender. Then you add a five-time All-Star big man in Chris Bosh, a Top-5 power forward, and expectations go through the roof. Anything less than a Finals appearance in Year 1 of the “Super-Friends” era would be a huge disappointment … From the way he looked in the preseason, LeBron isn’t going to be anybody’s “sidekick,” but even if he is — Miami has the most talented and (now) motivated player in the League as its No. 2 option. The two-time reigning MVP averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.6 steals last season. He is simply dominant and will continue to be … D-Wade is on the same level (26.6 ppg, 6.5 apg, 1.8 spg), and chances of him staying healthy increase now that he isn’t carrying the Heat on his back … Then there’s Bosh (24 ppg, 10 rpg), who will see the least resistance of his NBA career now that he’s gone from a No. 1 option to a No. 3 on most nights. If he keeps his hands and eyes up and rebounds, he’ll cruise to the most successful season of his career … Coach Erik Spoelstra‘s system is defense-creating-offense. LeBron, Wade and ball-hawking PG Mario Chalmers will try to force turnovers on the perimeter, while Bosh and the cast of centers will protect the rim. Joel Anthony won the starting center job by virtue of his defense, but there are a lot of veteran bigs with six fouls apiece behind him … There isn’t a team in the League that can match Miami in talent, and it’s not like their talent is too old or too young. LeBron and Wade have been through the playoff wars, Bosh has some playoff experience, and their collection of vets will come together with a singular focus to catch the elusive championship.

Basement: Conference semifinals
There are only three teams Miami needs to worry about: Boston, Orlando and the Lakers should they get to the Finals. If the regular season works out where Miami faces either the Celtics or Magic in the second round, an early exit is very possible … Mike Miller’s thumb injury is a big deal. Although Miller will be back in plenty time for the playoffs, he’ll miss a good chunk of the schedule where this new group is getting used to each other and developing an on-court chemistry. Miller’s outside shooting and passing will be key in spreading the floor; without him, it’ll be up to Stackhouse, Eddie House and James Jones … Even if you want to compare this team to the ’07-08 Celtics, Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo are not as good as Rajon Rondo. Point guard is a definite weak spot for Miami, and their title run likely goes through Rondo, Jameer Nelson, and big-game Derek Fisher … Center is also shaky. Joel Anthony is a effort guy, but he’s ideally coming off the bench on a contending team. The rest of Miami’s centers have an average age of about 47 … Pat Riley gets all the credit and the headlines, but people forget it’s Spoelstra actually coaching the Heat. He has an unprecedented level of talent on his squad, but if it comes down to strategy, can he out-fox the likes of Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy, Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich on a big stage? … The accusation that this is just a three-man team isn’t just a byproduct of hating. Once you get past LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh, there isn’t another guy on the roster who would definitely start for most teams in the NBA.

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10/25 — Los Angeles Lakers
10/24 — New Orleans Hornets
10/23 — Cleveland Cavaliers
10/22 — Dallas Mavericks
10/21 — Philadelphia 76ers
10/20 — Minnesota Timberwolves
10/20 — Orlando Magic
10/19 — Oklahoma City Thunder
10/19 — Detroit Pistons
10/15 — Golden State Warriors
10/12 — Chicago Bulls
10/12 — San Antonio Spurs
10/5 — Toronto Raptors
10/1 — Sacramento Kings
9/28 — Atlanta Hawks
9/27 — Portland Trail Blazers

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