The Miami Heat are expecting to be back in the playoffs this season and heading into the season opener against the Hornets, star Dwyane Wade said he knows that the window could be closing for him to lead Miami to another title. Chris Bosh is healthy after his blood clot issue last season and now Wade, Bosh, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng are ready to start the opener against Charlotte on Wednesday.
Miami has been working hard to get their chemistry right in training camp and the preseason, as their five starters have not suited up together in the regular season. Last season Bosh was diagnosed with his blood clot issue just after the team traded for Goran Dragic at the deadline, so those two were not able to play together. Whiteside was banged up in the preseason, so that also limited the amount of time that the starters could play together for Miami.
According to Bleacher Report, Wade said that he understands that the team is "behind the 8-ball" compared to other teams and that "it's just going to take a little time" to get things rolling for Miami. The Heat are coming into the season looking to get back into the mix in the east and they have a talented roster and should be able to get into the playoffs.
The team added Justise Winslow in the draft and signed Amar'e Stoudemire and Gerald Green and that should give the roster some added depth for head coach Erik Spoelstra. UPDATE: Amar'e Stoudemire is out for the season opener, according to the Miami Herald.
Dragic had a full offseason with Miami after coming over in the middle of the season and that work could end up being key if the team makes a deep run this year. Dragic is the starter ahead of Mario Chalmers and Miami feels comfortable keeping Chalmers, although they did shop him hard in trades this summer and could consider making a move at the deadline. Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson have potential as young players and they could make an impact if they get chances to play.
Whiteside has been dealing with some injuries this preseason, but he looks ready to play on Wednesday and could be a major contributor for Miami. Last season Whiteside had a breakout year with 11 points and 10 rebounds per game and he is heading into free agency and Miami would love to keep him, but it will likely be expensive. According to the Palm Beach Post, Whiteside was wearing tape on his shoulder in practice on Monday, but he was able to participate with the team. Whiteside was hampered by ankle and calf injuries in the preseason and that limited his practice time with the team.
Dragic and Deng were dealing with some minor issues heading into the week, but both players are expected to start on Wednesday against the Hornets. Miami opens the season at home against Charlotte and then the team will next play on the road against the Cavaliers on Friday before coming back and playing at home against the Rockets and the Hawks.