The Miami Heat's LeBron-hangover season is about to get really real. The Heat currently cling to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting just a half-game ahead of the Charlotte Hornets, and one-and-a-half games ahead of the tenth-seed Boston Celtics. With 18 games remaining, now is as good a time as ever for the Miami Heat to put on their big boy pants and start playing their best basketball of the year.
This Heat season has been the Monday-morning-alarm-clock-didn't-go-off-spilled-coffee-on-your-crotch-driving of seasons, but there is still ample time for this mix-and-matched roster to put something that resembles a playoff-run together. Stranger things have happened. I think. Maybe they haven't, but let's pretend they have for the sake of keeping hope alive.
First things first if the Heat are to make a little noise in the playoffs this season; they have to actually make the playoffs! Not guaranteed! I know, it's super-weird. Here are a few things that need to fall the Heat's way between now and Tax Day for them to punch their NBA playoffs ticket.
5. Hassan Whiteside needs to channel his anger, and direct it towards basketballs.
Hassan Whiteside is the key to the Miami Heat's 2015 playoff run. If you had written this sentence prior to a few months ago Heat fan would have looked at you like the two-headed woman in the last season of American Horror Story. Whiteside is capable of grabbing 20 rebounds on any given night; but he is also capable of ripping his jersey in half and upper-cutting an opponent two minutes into the game as well. If Whiteside can calm himself, and not be sent to take showers while the game is still happening, the Miami Heat have something almost no one else in the East have: a dominant center.
4. No more capri-pants suits and turtleneck sweaters for Dwyane Wade while the rest of the team is playing.
All the "Dwyane Wade (DNP)" chips are gone; if the Heat are to make anything of this sucky-faced season, Wade has to stay healthy; otherwise it's a wrap. Wade has put up vintage-Wade like numbers the past two games, reminding us all what he is capable of when his knees,hamstrings, neck, chest, toe, shoulder, and migraines allow.
Wade is the key to the Miami Heat's playoff push. That's something we have been saying for over a decade now.
3. I haz Chicago Bulls Luol Deng?
Luol Deng is basically you at your job; he shows up every day, but he truly only is productive once or twice a week. We are all Luol Deng. That's cool and all, but the thing is this team needs more from Deng going forward, like, more than 25 percent of the time. Deng is making $10 million this season. He is not paid to be a role player that comes up big every once in awhile; he should be a difference-maker on the floor every single night. Fourteen points and some nifty defense a game ain't gonna cut it; that's "Loser train; next stop, Loser-ville" type stuff for the Miami Heat.
2. Less Goran Dragic falling on his ass-bone, and more Goran Dragic running circles around fools.
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Let's be honest, none of us really knew how awesome Goran Dragic was before the Heat traded for him last month; Phoenix happens past our bedtimes. Good news for Heat fans is: he is super-awesome when people aren't making him fall from the sky. If the Heat can keep Dragic on his feet, chances are better the Heat succeed.
1. Let's be honest, the Miami Heat need all of the luck.
When you go through the shitstorm of things the Miami Heat have had to deal with this season, you are pretty much owed a basket full of all of the lucks. I mean, they almost killed Chris Bosh, those bastards! It's damn sure time for the luck to turn the Miami Heat's direction. Haven't they suffered enough? I say yes.