Five Things Miami Heat Fans Have Learned About the Team After One Week

Five Things Miami Heat Fans Have Learned About the Team After One WeekEXPAND
Photo by Monica McGivern

Four games and almost one week into the Miami Heat season, fans now have a better idea of what kind of team they're cheering on. For better or worse, the chips are starting to fall and a clearer image of the team is taking form.

The Heat is 2-2 through the first four games, but the team could be 4-0 or 0-4 and the same things would be evident. Here are a couple of things we know about the Heat that we didn't last week.

5. Justise Winslow is an obviously improved player.

The numbers might not be there yet, but it's evident that Justise Winslow has used this past offseason to polish up on his jump shot and basketball handles. The results might be slow to come for a 20-year-old, second-year player being asked to do much more than he should be ready for, but the fact that he has handled it all with ease speaks to Winslow's ceiling.

If nothing else comes from this odd Miami Heat season, watching Justise Winslow grow into an impactful NBA player would be a huge success.

4. Last season was no fluke; Hassan Whiteside is an All-Star.

Yeah, Hassan Whiteside is actually really good, and the Heat was smart to nab him in free agency before another thirsty team made him a part of its championship foundation. Whiteside's presence has been vital to the Heat so far. Consider the team's loss to the Charlotte Hornets this past Sunday, when the Heat blew a 19-point second-half lead with Whiteside on the bench.

No one is talking about Whiteside's social media accounts anymore. Nobody is talking about his attitude anymore. All they are talking about is his play on the court. That's the best sign the Heat could have hoped for when it paid him max money this offseason.

3. There is a reason Dion Waiters was available on the clearance rack.

It turns out the Miami Heat might not have hit the jackpot on the $1 lottery ticket that was Dion Waiters in free agency. Even though Waiters has come into the season in terrific shape and has said all the right things about sharing the ball with teammates, he's already shown in a short time why teams in the past just couldn't trust him on the court and why they eventually gave up on his obvious talent.

The one positive with Waiters is he can create his own shot, something that's severely lacking on this Heat roster. Let's hope Erik Spoelstra can pick and choose the spots to best use Waiters and his unpredictable skill set.

2. Willie Reed will be a fan favorite this season.

Somehow the Heat keeps plucking talent out of the D-League that ends up becoming not only a key contributor on the big-league team but also a fan favorite. This year, that guy seems to be Willie Reed. The back-up center gives off a very Udonis Haslem vibe and endears himself to fans with his hustle and gritty play. Reed feels like a vintage Heat player, the kind we used to cheer for before any of the rings came around or the banners were raised to the ceiling.

1. Goran Dragic has moved into the veteran leader role.

Goran Dragic might not be the most talkative person, but he certainly is the leader of this Miami Heat team. You won't see him giving any Ed Reed halftime speeches, but his play on the court is the only thing between the Miami Heat being a lottery team or a playoff team. Really, this is the most important season of Dragic's career. This might be his last chance to truly lead an NBA team to the playoffs, because soon he will just be a piece of the puzzle for a team like the San Antonio Spurs.

The Heat will cling to Dragic until it's clear this team is either going somewhere or nowhere. Once the latter becomes clear, Miami would be best suited to trade him. In the meantime, Heat fans can enjoy a talented point guard morphing into a true leader.


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