Miami’s Godfather Trilogy
Summer 2016, Dwyane Wade leaves the Miami Heat. The Heat scramble to grab talent, while also staying set for the future. Chris Bosh is officially out indefinitely for the Heat. Justice Winslow is hurt for the season. The Heat are Draft Lottery bound…
Enter Pat Riley, the Vito Corleone of the story.
This god amongst NBA owners put together a team around Goran Dragić and Hassan Whiteside that looked like it was set to try to get a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. There were already trade rumors around both Dragić and Whiteside in order to help them get this pick. Then out of no where they started winning. In fact, they went on a 13 game winning streak in February before the trade deadline. They are now currently in the 8th seed in the East above teams like the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks. How did this team with little to no big name talent win?
Enter Erik Spoelstra, the Michael Corleone of the story.
This young guy, who was once the video coordinator for the Heat, got handed the keys to the team. He had to deal with the Heatles of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and the Big-3 era. He had to deal with a losing season. Then he lost Dwyane Wade, the one consistent that has been around his entire coaching career. Now he is leading this team lead by Dragić, Waiters, and Whiteside to the playoffs. He should definitely be considered in the Coach of the Year awards.
Here are some statistics for the team this year courtesy of www.basketballreference.com
As you can see, offensively this team ranks in the bottom of NBA. However, defensively, this team is almost a nightmare to play against. The speed of their young guys mixed with the length of Whiteside makes them dangerous to play against. A couple of stats that stand out to me are they are first in opponents three pointers made and attempted, fourth in opponent three point percentage, and they also rank 4th in blocks per game. Coach Spo has created a great team identity for these guys, and they have clearly bought in.
Now the Heat have cooled off a bit since that huge win streak, but as long as they stay above the Bucks, it looks like they are playoff bound. If they get to the playoffs, they will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now I’m not about to say the Cavs are in trouble, but the first time the Heat played the Cavs, they blew them out 120 to 92. The last time they played the Heat won 106 to 98. They play one more time, and now that they might face each other in the playoffs, I expect the Cavaliers to come out strong and try to make a statement. For the Heat and Coach Spo, they can go into that series with the confidence that they have had the Cavs number during the regular season.
A playoff run for the Heat would be a successful season for the team. It would also help Riley in the offseason try and convince big name talent to come and sign with them. One selling point he can use is that teams like the Bulls and Knicks both had the big name star power, but the Heat have culture, great coaching, and a great team dynamic. The Heat also had the better record.
Enter Dwyane Wade, the Sofia Coppola of the story…
I don’t want this to be true. I wish I could have stopped while I was bragging about Coach Spo and the Cinderella story Heat. Just like the people who love the Godfather wish it would have stopped after part II.
Like I have mentioned several times before, the Bulls are struggling. Fred Hoidberg is probably going to be fired soon. Rondo was a waste of money. Upper management can’t decide if they want to go for the title or go for the 1st pick in this year’s draft. So Wade probably won’t be a Bull very long. Which means a Heat reunion is very, very, possible.
This is probably the worst thing that could happen to the Heat. ***Again I love Dwyane Wade, and I am well aware of what he means to the Heat legacy!!*** The Heat need to stay young. The Heat need to continue to evolve. As much as fans would love to have Wade County back in Miami, the Heat will be better off if they just remember his time fondly and retire his number.
The Heat need to use that money on big name free agents such as: Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Kyle Lowry, heck even Chris Paul would be better for their future than resigning Dwyane Wade on a Kobe Deal. If they want to resign Wade, Wade should be willing to take a Dirk discount. That way they can still afford to sign one of the players above and try to keep some of the depth they have now.
For now, we will have to wait and see what happens in the playoffs. Not to mention, they still have Justice Winslow coming back from injury next season. This team has been very fun to watch, and I can’t wait to hear the boos if they do face the Cavaliers in the playoffs.
To finish, as long as Pat Riley is in control, the Heat will be fine.