Pat Riley did a great job managing the crisis which followed LeBron James’s decision to depart from South Beach and head back home to Cleveland. The Heat re-signed the other two members of the Big Three, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and they even landed a third star, one of the top free agents available this summer Luol Deng. On top of that, the Heat had already landed Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger even before LeBron announced his decision. In fact, these two signings were just a sign of Riley’s pitching efforts towards LeBron. The big question for the Heat moving forward is how far they can really go. Can they seriously contend for the championship once again? Or will they just manage to enter the playoffs and nothing more?
The truth is that at the moment, the Heat appears to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. In fact, the Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls (if Derrick Rose manages to come back healthy) will be the only teams capable of beating the Heat in a seven – game series during the postseason. Unless any other major changes occur during the summer, the Heat will definitely be one of the top contenders in the East.
Miami does have enough star power onboard even with LeBron gone. Wade, Bosh and the rest of the players who will be back next season have been playing together for several years and of course Erik Spoelstra will continue to be at the helm of the team. The key additions of Deng, McRoberts, Granger and a few more that will most probably happen during the next couple of months will place the Heat into a position to be competitive once again.
So, yes Miami will get another shot for the title. And yes it will be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. However, the Heat will be different, too. The void James left behind can’t be filled no matter how good of a season Deng or Granger record. But we will most probably see Chris Bosh’s role on offense getting bigger and Wade may step up to take more responsibilities, too.
With the current state in the East, the Heat don’t look like a dynasty anymore. They are not the invincible team they were during the last four years, during the era of the Big Three. But with a clever restructure of their game plan and if their New Big Three manage to respond to the urgency call, Miami will definitely be a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.
Pat Riley and the entire Heat Nation sounded determined to keep the level of competiveness of the team very high. And Riley’s next moves following LeBron’s departure proved those exact intentions. So, we should expect the Heat to be one of the protagonists in the NBA next season and fight chest to chest for a ticket to the NBA Finals, for their fifth time in a row.