The night every Miami Heat fan has been waiting for. The Heat season tip-off begins tonight at the Amway Center to take on the Orlando Magic at 7:00 PM. The hype around the league has not disappointed and opening night was full of drama and excitement. We expect Miami to fill these expectations. Heat Culture took on new meaning last year as our squad fought back from a poor start to win 30 out of their last 41 games. With Rodney McGruder going down for an estimated 3-6 months with a stress fracture, the guys must come together stronger than ever. Rodney was on the cusp of making the starting five, but we expect the likes of Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington, and Justise Winslow to see more of a run.
Expected Starting Lineup:
PF – James Johnson
C – Hassan Whiteside
SF – Justise Winslow
SG – Dion Waiters
PG – Goran Dragic
Listening to 790 The Ticket in Miami (@790TheTicket) on the way to work today, you can hear it on the airwaves. The crew discussed the hustle, confidence, and style the Miami Heat will bring this year. They had Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra call into the show to explain the readiness and determination this team has. He spoke about bringing back the majority of the team and how tight this group is. It really makes the difference in the league.
“There still are some very good teams in the East, and we hope to be one of them.” – Erik Spoelstra (Interview with NBA.com)
Hearing all of this from our beloved coach makes me think of one word, Culture. Pat Riley has planted this seed and it seems everyone is buying in. Even if the media, critics, and sportscasts disagree and place us at the 5th or 6th seed in the East. This should be motivation. We know we have the special pieces to change the pace of a season and can shake up the East when our backs are against the wall. The 30-11 run in the 2016-2017 season was not a fluke. If Miami can stay healthy in the positions that matter, we can go far in the postseason.
“We were all waiting for this. It feels like it’s been a two-year offseason.” Spoelstra said. Being knocked out of the playoff race last year will give anyone that feeling. The anticipation is high and the guys are ready to take the court. The chemistry on and off the court will show how tight these men have gotten. The Heat seems to be in a good place mentally. Especially working with Goran Dragic, after winning with Slovenia in the European basketball championship, it took some time to get his mental state back to work.
“We want to try to strike that balance of keeping him in shape and make sure he’s peaking for the first game and not going the other way, and I think we’re heading that way.” – Erik Spoelstra (Interviewed by Ira Winderman/Sun Sentinel)
Spoelstra said Dragic arrived in shape to play regular rotation minutes, but with a bit of an emotional hangover from his role as captain of Slovenia’s storybook success. (Ira Winderman/Sun Sentinel)
Let’s not forget the one and only Pat Riley has his 50th anniversary with the NBA this year. This president has nine titles and left his mark on three different franchises. And guess what…he’s not done yet! “Life, right now, is really good. And if I were to leave tomorrow, there’s not going to be a blip on the radar screen here. None. That’s what I’m most proud of,” Riley said in a NBA.com interview.
“I’m tremendously proud of being able to hang in because this is what I wanted to do, hang in under all circumstances.” – Pat Riley (nba.com)
Oh yeah! Our draft pick, Bam Adebayo, is ready to hit the court running. Coming from the University of Kentucky, the Heat selected him to be their 14th overall pick in the 2017 Draft. He has been coming along nicely but a possible trip to Sioux Falls might be in play.
Spoelstra said rookie Bam Adebayo earned some playing time in the rotation to start the season. Will he stick? We will see. Sioux Falls assignments not out of question.
— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) October 16, 2017
With preseason stats of the Miami Heat showing an avg. 99.2 PPG and our opponents 105.0 PPG, we are in store for some thriller matchups. Teams this year will look a little different on the all-star approach. This past offseason, nine all-stars have changed teams. How will new arrivals fit in different systems, with different teammates? Knowing the Miami Heat kept the core in place and chemistry flowing only gives security to the fan base. With only one notable injury, we are looking pretty ready for the 2017-2018 season.
I will leave you with this. The great and all-powerful Michael Jordan once said, “ I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.” If the Miami Heat can try to push for the top of the East than they’ll do it. If they can block out all the haters and naysayers, they’ll do it. If we, the fans, can come together as a family and support this great team we love, we will do it. Let’s have a great season, and as Nike would say, JUST DO IT!
Happy Heat season to everyone and good luck to our guys in the black, red, and white.
LETS. GO. HEAT!
For more articles and Heat material, follow me @Shesk305