The Miami Heat begin a new era and it’s a new era for reasons the Heat would rather not have had to deal with. Yet, they’re faced with a tough situation and they have to try to make the best of it. The NBA odds show their regular season win total is at 43.5.
2014-15 Regular Season Total: 43.5
Why the Heat Will Go Over the Number
The Miami Heat don’t have LeBron, but they still have Dwyane Wade, and even more importantly, they have Chris Bosh, who made the surprising decision to stay in Miami instead of going to Houston to join the Rockets, which would have made that team a new power in the West. Bosh had a better chance of winning an NBA title in Houston, but he showed loyalty to the Heat and accepted a very lucrative deal after being overshadowed by Wade and LeBron. That decision by Bosh keeps the Heat at least somewhat relevant as an NBA contender, and it enables the Heat to find fewer players to replace the overall production that would have been lost if Bosh had departed for Houston.
With Bosh still in the lineup, you’re going to see Miami maintain its place in a number of statistics. The Heat were 12th in the NBA last season in three-point percentage, and while Wade really struggled as a three-point shooter, Bosh was more consistent, particularly in spotting up for both corner threes and top-of-the-key threes. He was able to stretch a defense last year, and he will be able to stretch defenses for another full season. He’s going to give Miami the floor spacing it wants and needs, with Wade operating on the other side of the floor and figuring out ways to distribute the ball along with Mario Chalmers. The addition of Luol Deng to this lineup gives Miami another wing player who can help Wade and take some pressure off the aging star with the balky knees.
Why the Heat Will Stay Under the Number
The Heat are playing in the weaker Eastern Conference, but without LeBron, it’s easy to see this team falling dangerously close to 40 wins. The Heat didn’t even dominate the East in each of the last two seasons. The Indiana Pacers were right there with them. This team needed LeBron more than a lot of people might realize. Wade and Bosh were there, too, but LeBron was so often the player who could create offense by himself when everything else was stagnant. Particularly last season, LeBron had to be on the court because Wade missed so many games, about a third of the regular season, with injuries and the desire to save himself and his energy for the playoffs. This year, Miami won’t be able to protect Wade that way, even with Deng on board. Miami was 12th in the league in assists last season, and without LeBron to both draw defenses and then make kickouts to the perimeter, you’re going to see that average go way down. Miami was also number one in two-point field goal percentage due to all the dunks and layups LeBron either scored by himself or created with his passes. That number will tumble as well.
NBA Pick: Over 43.5