Can you believe we get basketball back in 28 days? Well if not you better start. This upcoming NBA season I'll be covering the defending champions the Miami Heat. Last year we saw some early struggles, crucial injuries, and impact moments that somehow all led to a championship year for the NBA's most headline grabbing team. To start the season off I'll be sharing with you my bold predictions for the defending champs. Here they are:
King James will win his 4th MVP
Now some people may see this as an easy way out for me. Yes Lebron is pretty much an MVP magnet these days with a career stat line of 27.6 ppg, 6.9 assists, and 7.2 rebounds. Still he is coming off a season in which he produced similar numbers to his career avg and won his 3rd MVP award. However going into this season there are still other players who make it a really interesting MVP race. Last season Lebron barely beat out Kevin Durant for the award, the scoring champion also had an amazing season posting up 28.0 ppg, 8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists as he also led his team to the NBA Finals. There is no doubt Durant will be a main candidate for the award, as well as Laker great, and second highest scorer Kobe Bryant who put up some big time numbers as well last season (27.9 ppg, 4.6 assists, and 5.4 rebounds). There will always be others that factor into the MVP race as well such as point guards Chris Paul, and a healthy Derrick Rose (Won MVP in 2010-11 season). Capturing the award won't be easy, but I have no doubt in my mind that Lebron James can win his 4th.
Dwyane Wade will be a top 5 scorer again
Last season Dwyane Wade had a stat line of 22.1 ppg, 4.6 assists, and 4.8 rebounds not his best year statistically. It wasn't that long ago however that D Wade was a top 5 scorer in the NBA with Lebron James as a teammate. In fact it was the 2010-11 season, in which he was 4th in the league in scoring (25.5 ppg). Wade faced serious knee issues last season that hurt his offensive game. However we saw flashes of the old Wade in the playoffs such as his 41 point explosion against the Indiana Pacers. He has always been known as the slasher, who goes to the rim hard and makes incredible splits through double teams. Now that he seems to be on pace for full health by the season's start things could open up for Wade. Especially now that the team has more sharp shooters on the perimeter, which prevents defenses from double teaming him or Lebron. Look for D Wade to take advantage of more one vs one match ups, and get back to the premiere scorer that he is.
Heat shoot 40% or more from 3pt land
Last season the Miami Heat finished the season with a team 3-pt percentage of .347%. The sharp shooters for the Heat last season were Mike Miller with .413% from beyond the arc, Shane Battier with .382%, and Mario Chalmers with .359%. Now add into the mix the NBA's all-time 3-pt specialist, and the most prolific shooter in the game's history in Ray Allen who despite injury (ankle) finished the season with .453% from beyond the arc. Then there is also free agent pick up Rashard Lewis who did have a down year with the Washington Wizards, but for his career is a .388% 3-pt shooter. Sprinkle in a James Jones and we might have one of the best sharp shooting teams to date. With the way "Point Forward" Lebron James spreads the floor, commands double teams, and picks defenses apart with his passes it's kind of hard to think this team won't do well from beyond the arc.
The Miami Heat Repeat
This is the big one. Yes I am confident enough to predict a repeat from the champs. Lebron had his best season last year, and looks to be in great basketball shape for another run. He is without a doubt the best player in the NBA right now. Dwyane Wade has been rehabing his knee, he looks to get back to his premiere scoring form. And Chris Bosh will be healthy as well (suffered abdominal strain in the Playoffs) as he cemented himself last season as one of the most versatile, and impact ful big men in the game. The Heat bench was a non factor for most of the regular season last year, but in the playoffs they turned it on. Now that red hot bench that hasn't lost anyone, adds Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen which makes them even deadlier. This team is going to be great, and because they have lifted all the pressure of getting that first title they know what it takes to win it all again. The NBA has seen major upgrades all over, but I feel the Heat will have done enough start a title streak.
Thanks for reading my Bold Predictions for the Miami Heat.