A few short days ago, the future didn't look so great for Miami Heat fans. LeBron James decided he was homesick, Chris Bosh was close to joining the Houston Rockets, and the Bulls were calling Dwyane Wade to check if he wanted a get-out-of-Miami-jail-free card. Then Pat Riley got to work, quickly adding free agents and bringing back many key pieces of last year's finals team.
Today the Heat looks to be a team ready to be right back toward the top of the East. Here are a few reasons Miami Heat fans should be excited about what's coming this October.
1. The regular season matters again.
Gone are the days of wondering if your team is gonna give a shit that night. Nope, next season you can be sure every night will be a fight. This isn't to say it wasn't nice to know the Heat players could pretty much throw their jerseys on the court from October until April last year and still end up with 50 or more wins. Nah, that was supersweet, but it didn't make for the best entertainment at times. Every night the other team was an underdog, and every night the Heat would inevitably play grab-ass. This strategy particularly bit the Heat in the butt last season, because the team dropped numerous games to teams that had no business beating Miami, almost entirely because our guys gave so few shits for long stretches of games.
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— Biscayne Bae (@BiscayneBae) July 12, 2014
2. More Boshy Bear! That never sucks.
Chris Bosh unchained! At times in the past four seasons, it was frustrating to watch Bosh disappear for entire quarters because he just wasn't involved in the Heat's offense. Bosh has said numerous times that the Heat rarely call any plays for him, yet people still judge him by comparing his numbers to his Toronto days when he was the only scoring option. It's not apples to apples. Next season Bosh will be the first option again, and it will be fun to see him take on the challenge of being asked to do so much more. It looks like he'll be in Miami for a long time, and next year we get more Chris Bosh in our lives. That's awesome.
— Rizz (@Rizzmigizz) July 14, 2014
3. Out with the old, in with the new.
The biggest issue that led to last season's epic collapse in the NBA Finals was the Miami Heat got old fast. Next season promises to be a better mixture of new talent (namely Shabazz Napier and James Ennis) mixed with fewer over-the-hill role-players than in years past. We will all miss Shane Battier and Ray Allen, but it will be fun to see younger, unproven guys show us what they've got. That's something it feels like the Heat hasn't had in years. The guys that led this franchise to the NBA Finals the past four years will all go down in history, but at some point you knew someone else would have to carry the torch. Next year we get to see if we have any diamonds in the rough.
— D1 Locker (@D1Locker) July 15, 2014
4. Everyone is counting Dwyane Wade out. That will end poorly for them.
Listen, 2004 slashing-dunking-kamikaze Dwyane Wade is gone forever, but that doesn't mean it's the end of the line for the greatest player in franchise history. If you're a true Heat fan, you can already tell Wade is ready to prove the doubters wrong. He always performs best when poked with a stick. It's a running joke among Heat fans that he plays his best after someone makes him bleed.
Riley hinted that Wade needs to reinvent himself this off-season, and his recent comments and Instagram pics indicate he has already begun the process. You can take it to the bank that Dwyane Wade will storm into next season in the best shape of his life, sleeker and ready to put it all on the line for the only team he's ever known. He'll probably have a certain ex-teammate on his mind when he's working in the gym these next few months.
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5. Miami Heat fans will get a chance to prove themselves.
You don't have to tell me. I know Heat fans have nothing to prove, because I've seen it since 1988. The problem is, nobody was paying attention until LeBron James made the haters hate us. Next season, the easiest joke to make will be "Look at those empty seats; told you they were front-runners!" Problem is, the numbers are readily available on this thing called the internet. And the fact is the Heat averaged more fans without LeBron than the Cavs did and averaged more fans with LeBron than them as well.
This season will be a nice chance for Miami to stand up for itself and show the rest of the world what locals have known for 25 years: Miami Heat fans aren't afraid to cheer for a team that isn't always the favorite. In fact, the 2004 Miami Heat to this day is one of the city's favorite teams ever, and the only reason that team didn't get to grow is because it was broken up to acquire Shaquille O'Neal.