The Miami Heat is back in your living room tomorrow night for the season opener, looking a tad different from past years but just as cocky. Slogans, campaigns, videos -- you name it; the team wants you to know it isn't going anywhere. This is still the Miami Heat, and it competes for an NBA championship every single year. However, this year there is less room for error thanks to a gaping, LeBron James-sized hole on the roster.
So what disasters could derail the Heat from competing with the likes of the new and improved Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, and the rest of the East?
Dwyane Wade gets hurt or refuses to change up his game.
This season, the Miami Heat needs everything Dwyane Wade has left. Problem is, no one knows how much he has left, and last season ended so poorly for him that the answer could well be: not all that much. In his brief preseason stints this month, Wade showed he's been working on his three-point shot, and that's a great sign, because the Heat needs Wade to reinvent his game to match with what his body allows him to do as he grows older.
But if Wade's health -- or his ego -- gets in the way of his performance this season, the Heat could find itself falling in the East.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 22, 2014
Chris Bosh gets little help down low.
Chris Bosh has sacrificed a lot with the Heat by playing role player to LeBron and Wade, but the sacrificing is not over, because now he will be asked to do a lot more this year than he ever has since coming to Miami. Is Bosh ready to bang with the larger guys under the basket again? If Bosh can't average more than ten rebounds, the Heat might find itself in big trouble. The Heat added some nice players after LeBron left, but none that makes you feel like the team will be any better on the boards than its has been the past few years, especially when factoring in the loss of LeBron, a terrific rebounder.
Bosh must adapt to his new role and stay healthy, or the Heat won't have a shot in hell competing against front lines like Chicago's Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol this season.
— Sun Sentinel (@SunSentinel) October 27, 2014
Mario Chalmers checks out midseason as a bench player.
Mario Chalmers is the Heat fans' favorite whipping boy, but he's been extremely important to the team's success since it drafted him. Chalmers had a nightmare Finals, one that costed him a great deal of money this past off-season and seems to have cost him a starting role with the team this upcoming season. The Heat wants to see if he can back up Wade at times, providing scoring off the bench, but the problem is nobody has ever seen him do it before, at least not anytime recently.
Chalmers has to buy into the Miami Heat Way this season even though he is still making relatively small money for a player who has accomplished the things he has in his career. One has to wonder just how much Chalmers is willing to sacrifice in the post-LeBron era. Let's hope for the Heat, he's learned by now what the franchise is all about.
Danny Granger pic.twitter.com/Gir6XhCgNK
— Miami Heat Brasil (@MiamiHeatBrasil) October 21, 2014
The bench gets run out of the building on a nightly basis.
Unlike the past few years, it's incredibly tough to figure out who will score once Wade and/or Bosh sit down. That's not to say it's not there; it's just not a proven commodity from day one. The leftover pieces from the championship runs are nice, but none of them is leading a bench in a tight game. They are more so role-players.
The Heats need a guy like James Ennis to sprout or Danny Granger to reignite his career for the bench to be productive. Right now, the bench is a weakness heading into the season, with many unknowns. If the bench doesn't come together, a close game can turn into a big deficit while the starters rest.
Luol Deng Still Adjusting with Miami Heat!
— NBA News (@nbalivezone) October 27, 2014
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The Heat gets the 2013-14 Luol Deng.
The 2013-14 season was a down year for Luol Deng for many reasons. First, anytime you play for the Cavs most of the year, your stats will look worse. Second, he just seems to be worn out, having battled so many health issues recently. Let's hope the Heat get the Luol Deng who battled against Miami in recent years, the one who can take the Heat team back to where it's been in late-season, drama-filled playoff games.
Health is a concern for him, just like Wade. If the Heat doesn't get what it bargained for from Deng, the team could be in trouble.