Last season was full of up and downs for Goran Dragic and the rest of the Miami Heat. At one point during the 2016-2017 season, Miami was 11-30 and it looked like the team was closer to landing Lonzo Ball than making the Playoffs. Then February came.
After the All-Star break, the Heat were well, hot. Fuelled by a 13-game winning streak the team was starting to look like Playoff contenders once again.
Although the Heat would finish with the same record as the eventual eighth seeded Chicago Bulls, Miami, unfortunately, lost a tiebreaker with Chicago and wound up finishing ninth. Disappointing as the end of the season may have been, Miami’s players had much to be proud of.
Hassan Whiteside averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds per game during and Goran Dragic averaged 20 points along with 5 assists per game during the season. While Whiteside and Dragic delivered in their high impact roles, the Heat also got big contributions in other areas. James Johnson as well as Dion Waiters both had long overdue breakout seasons this past year in Miami. Johnson averaged career high’s in points per game with 12.8, assists per game with 3.6 and rebounds per game with 4.9. Waiters on the other hand, matched a career high in points per game with a little over 15 and set new career highs in assists along with rebounds per game at 4.3 and 3.3 respectively. Both players received new contracts with the Heat this past summer. Justise Winslow only appeared in 18 games but, still managed to show flashes of star potential.
This past summer was also very productive for Miami. The Heat signed former Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk to a 4-year $50 Million contract. Over his time in Boston Olynyk proved to be a reliable option off the bench and as a starter. Also, who could forget the Canadian’s heroic performance in game seven of round one against the Washington Wizards in which he scored a career high 26 points. What makes Olynyk such a desirable player is that he can be aggressive along with the score in the paint or, hit three-pointers and mid-range jump shots with ease. Kelly Olynyk will likely get a bigger opportunity to showcase his versatile style of player. Miami also drafted Bam Adebayo who had an impressive showing during NBA Summer League and could prove to be a 2017 Draft steal for the Heat.
With the team filling some holes this season the Heat will undoubtedly be looking to build off of last season’s play. A major key to Miami’s success will be getting off to a hot start. While the Eastern Conference may have gotten weaker during the past summer, Miami may have just gotten stronger. Make sure to keep your eyes on the Miami Heat this season, this team is going to be exciting to watch.