The Miami Heat currently sit at 21-29 on the season, the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, and things just keep sliding and slipping away for them. Everyone knows you can’t replace LeBron James, he is the best player in the world, but what you can do is fill the void. The Heat added Luol Deng, Danny Granger, and James Ennis at the small forward slot this season for LeBron’s replacement.
Also, the Heat added Josh McRoberts. He however, torn his meniscus in less than 20 games this year for the Heat, leaving them with a weak spot at power forward once again. Dwyane Wade missed his 15th game of the season, and notable players like, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside, and Chris Andersen have also been on the shelf for multiple games this year.
Perhaps the duo of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade isn’t as dynamic as we thought. Maybe the Heat’s bench is the reason they can’t lock down a lot of easy wins. Maybe its the coaching, maybe its the injuries. There’s just no answers for the Heat right now.
The frustration is real according to Heat head coach Erik Spolestra and other players. They understand the level of frustration the fans of the Heat must be having right now, but they want you to know that it’s way more frustrating for them.
Chris Bosh is one of the most frustrated, sounding upset with virtually every player on the team.
“I don’t even know what we’re focusing on. It’s not the game.”
The Heat have won a measly two games when trailing after the 3rd quarter. The second half is where the Heat start to collapse. The first halves the Heat play some times would make you think they are one of the best teams in the NBA.
After the Heat’s blowout lost to the Detroit Pistons, even the Heat’s feel good story center Hassan Whiteside was even feeling stressed.
“It really wasn’t frustrating. I really ain’t do anything. I just watched the game.”
Dwyane Wade’s latest hamstring injury has also added to some of his frustration this year.
“Where I stand right now? Frustrated. I know our fans are very frustrated. I just want them to know that they aren’t more frustrated than we are.”
The Heat were picked to be a 6th seed by multiple analysts across the sports world. Here they’re fighting for the 8th seed with 2 of the best players in the game.
There are multiple things you can look at for the Heat’s struggles. We have a few of them listed below.
Chris Bosh’s struggles
It was reported that Chris Bosh would join the Houston Rockets if LeBron James left Miami. That wasn’t the case, however. Bosh said he couldn’t take the added pressure of being on another team and being part of another big 3 in what would’ve been him, James Harden, and Dwight Howard. So, Bosh resigned with the Miami Heat on a 5-year 118 million dollar deal, giving him a max contract.
While he’s averaging over 21 points and 7 rebounds, that’s not the numbers that some other players who make less then him are putting up. Bosh also has consistently bad stretches. Including multiple games where it seems like he can’t even make a layup. Other nights like a few days ago versus the Pistons, he’s on fire and can’t miss. He scored 21 points on 9-9 shooting in the 3rd quarter versus the Pistons. The problem is constituency with Bosh. Other stars in the league only have a couple of bad games. Bosh can get several in a row, turning into a big problem for Miami.
Lack of depth
In the Heat’s January 27th game versus the Milwaukee Bucks, the Bucks scored over 50 bench points in the game. The Heat scored an entire 51 points in all 3 games between the Bucks and the Heat this season. With a bench featuring, Danny Granger, Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, and other players that are mainly rookies with little experience, it is a huge problem for the Heat compared to benches they had during the LeBron James era.
It seems like this season no matter how hard the Heat try, there’s always an injury bug following them around taking out players left and right. Dwyane Wade has missed 15 games this season for the Heat. Luol Deng just returned from a calf injury, and Chris Bosh missed a stretch of games with a calf injury. Josh McRoberts, who was signed this off-season to a 4 year deal suffered a torn meniscus and was dealing with injuries prior to the tear. Role players like Chris Andersen, Danny Granger, and Shawne Williams have also been held out of action due to injuries.
Poor point guard play
Sure, Mario Chalmers is having a career year points per game wise, but there are games where he struggles and Norris Cole and rookie Shabazz Napier have had way to many games. Both Cole and Napier both average around 6 points per game, but also have some of the worst shooting percentages in the league.
Lack of offense
The Heat are currently 29th in the NBA in points per game average in games this season, only leading the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. It seems like the Heat’s offense runs through whoever has the hot hand, and that usual starts to flare down during games, as the player who the offense is running through starts to struggle, yet the offensive play calls are still for him. Its usually Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or Luol Deng that usually end up running the offense in games.
We’re also not saying everything’s been bad for the Heat this year. They have one of the biggest stories in the NBA right now about their center Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside has had monster games for the Heat including a triple double versus the Chicago Bulls which included 12 blocks, and games versus the Mavericks and Timberwolves where he grabbed 20 plus rebounds. Whiteside also had the first 20-20 game for the Heat since Shaquille O’Neal had one in 2004.
The Heat also have had great rookie play this season. Some rookies who have shinned bright for them are James Ennis, who made a name for himself with a poster dunk on Rasual Butler in the Heat’s opener versus the Washington Wizards.
Ennis also had a 16 point 8 rebound game in the Heat’s first match-up with the Boston Celtics. Shabazz Napier has also had some nice games for the Heat including multiple games with high assists numbers and points. Oh, and you can’t forget the crossover.
One of the most recent names for the Heat to step up is rookie shooting guard Tyler Johnson, who has signed 2 day ten contracts with the Heat and with his second one expiring, he put up a 18 point performance on 7-10 shooting in the Heat’s lost to the Spurs.
Miami Heat president Pat Riley is optimistic about the Heat.
“We’re going to fight. We’re in the fight for the playoffs. We can’t feel sorry about it, we have to get after it.”
He is right, the Heat will have to fight to get into the playoffs. Along with the Hornets, Pistons, Nets, Celtics, and Pacers.
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