Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Once again back is the incredible ... Ball Don't Lie's NBA previews, outlining offseason moves, projecting win totals, spinning tracks and much, much more. It's a fun, hot mess. Right now, the Miami Heat.

2008-09 Record: 43-39, third place in Southeast Division
Head Coach/Facial Hair: Erik Spoelstra/None
Key Additions: Quentin Richardson(notes), Carlos Arroyo(notes), Shavlik Randolph(notes)
Key Losses: Jamario Moon(notes), Mark Blount(notes)

You don't want to spend an entire 2009-10 team preview telling a fan base to "wait until next year." But that's sort of what you have to do here.

Even if the team in question will look nothing like it does right now. For all we know, Dwyane Wade(notes) could be off the Heat in 2010-11, but LeBron James(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) could be Erik Spoelstra's forward combo.

Agh, getting ahead of ourselves again.

The point of this season is to make the playoffs and keep Wade enthused. That's it. This isn't a championship team, and I'm not really convinced this is even an outfit that can come close to 50 wins. With a lot of teams in the East, bad manners and good luck could result in 50 wins or more, even if I have them pegged at .500. Not the Heat, despite Wade's brilliance.

A scouting breakdown of a team that won't be around next year? Sure.

Wade is an MVP-level talent. He scores, he works, he does it all.

Mario Chalmers(notes) can steal the ball like few others and he can shoot sometimes. Daequan Cook(notes) backs up both Mario and D-Wade, and he shoots (7.8 3-point attempts per 36 minutes last season) way, way too much.

Quentin Richardson is ... around. Michael Beasley(notes) is a power forward who is wasting his time away at small forward on a team that doesn't run any plays for him.

Intermission.

"On a team that didn't run any plays for him" last season.

Wade's going to want the ball, but if you focus on Beasley time and again in isolation, power forward-ish situations, you could win Wade over.

And, shock horror, you might get through to Beasley. After all, you spent all of 2008-09 ignoring him offensively and look what resulted? Maybe it's time to run a play or 12 for the second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Udonis Haslem(notes)? Fantastic defender. Jermaine O'Neal(notes)? Nobody knows what he's giving from day to day. James Jones(notes) could finally be consistent. Carlos Arroyo could be a great pickup. This team will make the playoffs and play well this season.

But it hardly matters. I'd tell you that the Heat is made for 2010-11, but we've no idea what the team is going to look like that year. They have $9 million in salary committed to next season. Wade could be gone or Wade could be running up and down the court with LeBron James. It's that nutty.

And knowing Pat Riley, I can't help but pick him as the surprise of the summer. Wade's not going to leave good money and South Beach (he's from Chicago, but let's face it - he's not a Chicago sort of guy) to goof around elsewhere, and I can't help but picture Riley smiling at the press conferences as he pulls in good help after good help after great help.

This season? The Heat are just trying to make the playoffs to increase revenue a good chunk — not screw up — and keep Wade happy. They're in a holding pattern, but it's one that could pay off so, so well.

Prediction: 42-40

Kelly Dwyer

Will the Heat improve enough to convince Dwyane Wade to re-sign?

Will it matter? Wade can get more money from the Heat than he can from any other franchise. Even if an injury-wracked season keeps Miami out of the playoffs, Wade can warm himself to the idea of playing with Carlos Boozer(notes), a Chris Bosh or an Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) if any of the three decide to take Miami's warm weather and heaps of cap space in the summer of 2010. As impatient as superstars can be, you'd have to think that Wade sees the writing on the wall with this current cast of expiring contracts.

— KD, Yahoo! Sports 2009-10 NBA Preview magazine

The Baseline: "This team is Dwyane Wade. They will spend all year sweating over Wade's future with the team, while at the same time only going as far as Wade — an MVP candidate if healthy — can take them. They may swing a trade to bring in, say, Carlos Boozer, in an attempt to do better and make themselves more attractive to their mega-star guard. Or you can fantasize about next summer, when they can feasibly not only re-sign Wade, but also grab another one of the max free agents. The side plot: This team would like Michael Beasley to convert his enormous potential into actionable skill, as well as probably hoping he can straighten out whatever addiction/depression issues he may or may not have. But they are not giving up!" [more]

SportsAgentBlog.com: "Since the departure of Shaq and the retiring of Alonzo Mourning(notes), the Heat's biggest hole is the center position. Year after year the Heat try to develop a young center, but the products have been Earl Barron(notes) and Joel Anthony(notes) ... enough said. With the mid-season acquisition of Jermaine O'Neal, the soft spot of the defense was hopefully going to be filled, but it seems only temporary. Perhaps with a Magloire, Anthony and O'Neal frontcourt, the Heat can contend with the size the East has to offer." [more]

SLAM Online: "Right now, I can only think of one [intangible]. It's the presence of Alonzo Mourning. No, he's not suiting up. And, no, he's not the beacon of tenderness and happiness that may be needed, but part of his new role with the team is to be a mentor to Beasley. This could be a blessing or a curse. I'm thinking it will work out in the Heat's favor, and by midseason, a new, dedicated Beasley will be playing. I'm not expecting Beasley to have the fire that burned in Alonzo's soul, but a bit of an ember from it could start something that would be beneficial to the player and the person. We'll see. If Beas wants to have a long, prosperous career in the League, falling in line with what Zo preaches from a player's standpoint may make him the Beast so many thought was possible." [more]

Eagles of Death Metal, "How Can A Man With So Many Friends Feel So Alone"

Sometimes at night, Dwyane Wade can't sleep. He fires up his MacBook Pro and looks at the talent surrounding LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony(notes) and Chris Bosh and wonders about the future. He looks at the Heat roster and sees that after this year only Michael Beasley and Daequan Cook are signed. After that, he calls Charles Barkley who recommends that he drink some warm milk to help him sleep. He drinks his warm milk silently, then he clutches his Finals MVP trophy and falls asleep amongst a pile of Jordans.

— Trey Kerby, The Blowtorch

The Heat are what you would expect them to be for fantasy purposes — Dwyane Wade and some other guys. Wade is coming off the finest season of his career. He led the league in scoring average, was second in steals, eighth in assists and 16th in blocks per game. Yeah, that mix of stats plays. He's currently the third overall pick in nine-category leagues but will challenge for the top spot if the threes keep falling. Over his final 41 games last season, including the playoffs, he averaged 1.8 makes per game on 36 percent shooting. Mario Chalmers was a solid fantasy asset as a rookie thanks to 2 steals, 1.4 threes and 4.9 assists per game. His play in the preseason hasn't been inspiring (seven points, three assists) and Carlos Arroyo was signed to provide veteran depth and push Chalmers. Chalmers looked like a solid pick in Round 8 a month ago, but his stock has slipped a bit.

Michael Beasley didn't see the playing time that many were expecting as a rookie, but he improved as the season went on, and positives included 41 percent shooting from long range and 13.9 points in 25 minutes per game. He'll be a much bigger part of the team's plans as a sophomore — the defensive stats will take time to come around, but it's hard to pass on his offensive potential in the eighth round. Jermaine O'Neal trained with Tim Grover hoping to make his last notable contract season at least a decent one, but the reality is that he's unlikely to top his current five-year average of 55 games played. Technically, there's no risk in a late-round pick, but the inactive stints can be tough on an owner's resolve. Udonis Haslem is a reasonable last-round pick for big-man stats — he's got a well-defined ceiling, but there are worse things than 11/8 with decent percentages.

— Matt Buser, Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Basketball / BuserSports.com

Sign up now for Fantasy Basketball '09.

William: G so clear u can see the bottom / 100K dollar seats eybody got em / Aint no surprise in arena 2 see Sly Stallone / Heat arena, my 2nd home
about 2 years ago from TweetDeck

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