2015-2016 NBA Odds Preview: The Heat After Lebron

Posted by Daniel Strum on Thursday,October 22, 2015 1:21, EDT in

The 2014-2015 season was not particularly kind to the Miami Heat and their online sportsbook fans, as they went 37-45 during their first post-Lebron season. It wasn’t just the King’s departure that led to that poor play, though, as injuries also played havoc with the roster, leading to a lottery finish for the first time in the past seven seasons. It looked like Dwyane Wade was about to leave town too, but the Heat ended up signing him to a one-year, $20 million deal for the joy of NBA odds fans. Center Hassan Whiteside has continued to improve, and point guard Goran Dragic has inked a long-term contract. Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh have returned to full health after problems that ended their seasons early. If all things hold for the Heat, they have a chance to take down Lebron and the Cavaliers in the playoffs.

2015-2016 NBA Odds Preview: The Heat After Lebron



However, there are reasons to temper that optimism. Just because Wade is back on the team, for example, doesn’t mean that he’ll play the whole year. Injuries kept him out of 20 games for the second year in a row. It makes more sense that his play will continue to decline, not just in terms of games played but also in terms of performance when he is on the floor. Chris Bosh, on the other hand, is coming off a truly productive 2013-2014 campaign. His conditioning while recovering from blood clot treatments should mean that his game will continue to improve this year – remember that he is only 31.

Goran Dragic got an $85 million deal to play the point unlike anyone since Tim Hardaway, the best in team history. He should accelerate a team that had the second slowest pace in the NBA last year. Luo Deng is coming into a contract year. He was in Chicago for a decade but then got bumped to Cleveland and then Miami during last season. He didn’t really settle into a comfortable role last year, but it would be surprising if the motivation of a contract year was not persuasive for him.

And how do we know that Whiteside is on the way up? He averaged 11 points, 10 boards and 2.6 blocks. Those aren’t huge numbers until you realize that this production is taking place in fewer than 24 minutes per game. No center had accomplished those numbers in that few minutes in 50 years. It’s important for him to add some consistency to his game as his minutes expand further.

Opinions of Justise Winslow vary. Some see him as a younger Dwayne Wade. However, others see him as a younger Ron Artest. Still others see him as a young Luol Deng. With that diversity at work in his perceptions, it’s difficult to project how he will work into the Heat system.

Finally, there’s Amar’e Stoudamire. He started last year making $21 million with the Mavericks, but this year he’ll be making the veteran minimum of $1.6 million. Can he accept the reduction in prestige that comes with that smaller contract – and the smaller role that the Heat have for him in comparison with what he has been used to expecting for himself? All of these factors taken together mean that the Heat have a number of possibilities for the season – but the ceiling remains high.