Meet the 2015 Miami Heat, a Legit Threat in the East
Photo by George Martinez
Welcome to a brand-spanking-new Miami Heat basketball season, folks. Hold onto your butts, because this one's gonna be exciting. Last time we saw the Miami Heat, all of our pets' heads were falling off. Everyone was sick or hurt, and by the end of it all, a guy we weren't sure whether to call "Bill" or "Henry" was playing big minutes as part of a failed attempt at a last-ditch playoff berth.
Let's just pretend that season didn't happen.
The Miami Heat is new and improved and ready to dive into the deep end of the trash-filled pool that is the NBA Eastern Conference. Listen up, Lebron: These are the men who will have you planning an event at the local Akron Foot Looker well before the NBA Finals begin.
Josh Richardson, Guard (#0)
The 40th pick of the NBA draft normally is a thing the Miami Heat send to places like Turkey or Puerto Rico so he can can work on his game for a year or six — but not Josh Richardson. The rookie out of Tennessee impressed right away — in large part because of his defense — and as a result pretty much forced the Heat to keep him on the roster.
We have no idea what to expect from Richardson, but you can be sure we will be calling for him to play more minutes when Mario Chalmers inevitably dribbles the ball out-of-bounds late in a game off his Converse shoes. It takes cojones to wear the number zero straight out of college, so at least we know Josh has that going for him.
Chris Bosh, Forward (#1)
Boshua Q. Bear is back. Boshy Bear. Tall Justice. Best friend in the entire world who makes me tacos and translates Narcos when we binge-watch it together. Wait — that last one was only a nickname I have for him. You all know what Bosh went through last season, so I won't talk about it here — it makes me sad. So far, Bosh looks back to his usual Boshy self, which is your favorite.
This season, Bosh figures to be a bitch for other teams to guard. Between the pick-and-pop with Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside drawing the opponents away from him, and his already unorthodox-for-a-large-man shooting range — Bosh will be a headache for other teams in 2015-16.
He also speaks Spanish and plays the guitar. He is the best.
Dwyane Wade, Guard (#3)
Just another year of enjoying the essence, smile, and — if you're lucky enough to get close to him — smell of the best player in Miami Heat history, no big deal. Wade dropped the extra-checkpoint-in-an-airport beard and slimmed down this offseason — and it shows. Wade looks healthier than ever, and not only in a basketball-shape way, but also in a damn, he had work done way.
This might be the last year we get to enjoy seeing those pullups on the rim before tip, but by the looks of the shape Wade is in this season, I'm guessing there will be a few more following this, assuming the money is right. For now, let's just enjoy his awesomeness and the fact that his knees should get a break this season from carrying an entire team on his back.
I LOVE Josh McRoberts, bruh. pic.twitter.com/CbKp9cL1D2— Sarcastic Conscious (@NekiasNBA) October 26, 2015
Josh McRoberts, Forward (#4)
None of us really knows what to expect from Josh McRoberts, who was gone before we knew it last season, the intrigue of his game in the Heat's offense totally vanished. He ended up just being this lump on the end of the bench growing hair you noticed during free throws.
The idea of McRoberts is intriguing, but he will be counted on much less this season than the Heat were planning on counting on him last year.
Amar'e Stoudemire, Forward-Center (#5)
Like many other fine New Yorkers with Jewish roots, Amar'e has chosen to live out his last years in South Florida — and we're happy to have him. Amar'e comes to the Heat roughly 75 years later than we would have liked, but still with a lot left in the tank. He will either come in handy during a playoff run or not — that is my expert analysis on the Amar'e Stoudemire situation. He's more of a name than he is a player at this point, but he's better than Greg Oden, so there's that.
Goran Dragic, Guard (#7)
Fresh off signing a five-year, $86 million deal this past offseason, Goran Dragic is prepared to run his
Tyler Johnson, Guard (#8)
Johnson is like the Little Engine That Could. Just when you think the Heat will find a better replacement, he seems to take his game to a level you didn't think was possible. The fact that Johnson is just 23 years old is astonishing — it seems like he's been battling for a roster spot for years.
Though he's not expected to be a major piece of the puzzle this season, don't doubt it could happen — he keeps proving people wrong.
Luol Deng, Forward (#9)
This is almost certainly the last go-round between Deng and Miami — and it'll be mutually beneficial that it goes extremely well. Deng surprisingly decided to re-up for one more year with Miami. He'll be looking to cash in on the salary cap skyrocket next season, but in the meantime, the Heat will be looking to cash in on his three-point shooting — something they desperately need from him this year.
One thing is certain: Deng is guaranteed to be a much-needed solid perimeter defender even if he has more miles on his tires than a 94' Toyota Tacoma.
Chris Andersen, Forward-Center (#11)
Birdman! Bird is Bird — you can always count on him to give you energy while also battling a secretly injured entire lower torso. The hope is that between Amar'e and Bird, the Heat get an entire effective big man off the bench all season — anything more than that would be a bonus.
There is a small chance the Heat decides to trade Birdman sometime during the season to save luxury tax money. That would make sense from a repeater-tax standpoint, but not much if your goal is to take down the Cleveland Cavs later in the season.
Gerald Green, Guard (#14)
He's missing part of a finger! OK, now that that's out of the way, we can move onto more important things. The Heat got an amazing deal when they gave Green a minimum contract late in free agency, and he's already shown he's ready to stick it to the rest of the league for not believing he could at the very least contribute off a bench. Green brings everything the team needs off the bench: three-point scoring and amazing, undeniable energy — that alone makes him a vital piece of this year's team.
Mario Chalmers, Guard (#15)
Hey, it's everyone's favorite Miami Heat player! "CML" ("Chalmers My Life") has become known slang on social media during Heat games, and fans are hoping that this season, Mario will give them fewer reasons to tweet it than last. Chalmers recently vowed to never shoot 29 percent from three-point range again, and we hope he makes good on that promise.
Justise Winslow, Forward (#20)
The reward for one of the worst years in Heat history wears #20. People compare Winslow to Ron Artest, a big, bad defender who can also shoot the ball. Thing is, we have to remember he's barely old enough to buy cigarettes and openly admits his favorite meal is a peanut butter and jelly with jalapeños sandwich, which is to say he's still a kid.
Winslow jerseys might be as popular as Wade jerseys in five years, but for this season, we would settle for a solid contributor off the bench, not a franchise perennial MVP candidate.
Hassan Whiteside, Center (#21)
After bursting onto the scene out of nowhere last season, Whiteside is the key to it all this season. A year ago, he wasn't even on the team, and now he's the difference between the Heat being a solid contender in the East and a legit title contender. If Whiteside can stay out of foul trouble and come close to what he did last year in limited minutes, the Heat will be an ass-kicking juggernaut come the playoffs.
James Ennis, Forward (#32)
He's the 15th man on the roster, and he's lucky to be that. It's never a good sign when the team tinkers with your deal so that they can get out of paying you money midseason. Ennis once had a lot of promise and even more hype, but now he's just an emergency sub if all else fails.
He's will dunk his entire ass on your head, though.
Udonis Haslem, Forward (#40)
The Mayor. Udonis is the Miami Heat. There is no Udonis Haslem slander up in here. You don't like how Udonis plays one night? You eat it. You shut your mouth when you're talking ill about Udonis Haslem — he's a goddamn made man, you hear me? Haslem is a coach at this point, but he's a coach who is capable of giving you five of the most energetic, stitches-filled minutes you've ever seen. He'll whoop some ass if it comes to it, so watch yourself when you're fouling Wade too hard.
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