NBA Predictions: Miami Heat Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 10/14/2013
The Miami Heat were only seconds away from being considered a failure. The San Antonio Spurs essentially had them beaten in Game 6 of the NBA Finals before Miami got a couple fortunate bounces and a massive clutch three from Ray Allen. The Heat proceeded to take care of business against a game Spurs team in the seventh and deciding contest.
Miami has now taken two straight NBA Titles after losing to the Mavericks in their first chance. The Heat have the luxury of having the NBA’s top player in LeBron James. No one else in the league is even close to him right now. James has the potential to opt out after this season, but I don’t expect that to hurt this team at all this season. James is a professional who can step out on the court and dominate every single night. Can Miami pick up a three-peat? Let’s take a look at this team.
Maybe this section should be titled “lack of offseason moves”. Who can blame Pat Riley? Why would you want to make a lot of moves with a roster like Miami’s? The loss of Mike Miller hurts the locker room, and his long-range shooting propelled the team to several huge wins in the past couple years. The major addition during the offseason was Greg Oden. Oden is definitely a wild card heading into this season. He is only 25 years old, but his knees have never been able to stand up over the course of time. Miami was wise to take a chance on him, but whether it will work out or not is anyone’s guess. The signing of Michael Beasley was an interesting one. Beasley was bounced around the NBA despite having a wealth of talent. He is a scorer, but can he fit in with this team?
Two important moves for Miami were re-signing Allen as well as Chris Anderson. Allen saved the team’s season last year, and he is just a winner who knows what to do in the clutch. Anderson gave the team far more than it could have ever expected last season, and they were smart to keep him around. The Heat were 54-8 after signing Andersen last January. His defense in the paint made him vital to the team’s success.
Dwyane Wade was dinged up last year, and he really wasn’t himself for the majority of the season. Wade did come through with some great performances in the NBA Finals, but there is no doubt that he was a smaller part of the team’s success for most of the season. This season is a crucial one for Wade. Will he bounce back and be healthy and one of the league’s top players again, or will he fade slowly down the list?
Wade is only 31 years old, but his style of play has led to him taking a lot of hits and being banged up a lot during his time in the NBA. Kevin Durant’s offseason comment about Wade not being a Top-10 player in the league had to fuel the fire. Wade is a highly-competitive guy, and it doesn’t take much to get his competitive juices flowing. If Miami is going to hoist the trophy again at the end of the year, Wade is going to need to stay healthy.
NBA Prediction: Miami Heat Futures Odds
Why wouldn’t the Heat be overwhelming favorites? Sure, the Eastern Conference has gotten better around them. Still, I’m going to have to see someone from the East beat them before I believe it is real. The Bulls are relying on Derrick Rose’s health, and the Nets are awfully old to make a run at a title. The Pacers might be the toughest matchup for the Heat, but we saw how Miami dispatched them when it mattered most in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
The Western Conference has a few tricky teams once again. Never discount the San Antonio Spurs, but last year was definitely their best chance to beat the Heat. The Rockets and Clippers have the talent to make noise this year, but I just don’t see either of them beating the Heat in a seven-game series.
In the end, it all comes down to health. If James and Wade are both healthy this year, it’s hard to imagine anyone knocking this team off. How can you pick anyone other than the Heat to win the 2013-14 NBA Championship? I know I can’t.
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