NBA Season Preview: Our MHB Experts Forecast The Miami HEAT’s 2018-19 Record

Commentary

Just in time for Wednesday’s season opener against the Orlando Magic at 7 p.m., our Miami Heat Beat experts use their collective brainpower to accurately predict the Miami HEAT’s 2018-19 season record. Just like were dead-on right in 2016-17 and shy by two wins over in 2017-18, here it is all over again under one post, so it’s on the record.


Jack Alfonso (44-38, Previous: 45-37): I don’t see this team doing that much this year. They have some good young talent and an elite coach, but their roster is a mess right now.

Giancarlo Navas (47-35, Previous: 35-47): I think Miami is going to have a better offense next season and there is no reason why the defense would slip at all. They will have continuity that will help pad their record early on, and as the season progresses, I think the young trio of Bam Adebayo, Josh Richardson, and Justise Winslow will take a step to helping this group on both ends. I think a two-game improvement is an absolutely reasonable thing to expect out of a group with emerging young talent.

Nekias Duncan (45-37, Previous: 46-36): I’m going to pencil Miami in at 45 wins, though a Jimmy Butler trade could raise that a little. The Heat should get a healthier and motivated Hassan Whiteside, a more efficient Goran Dragic (Miami had him as a play finisher rather than starter for most of the postseason), and internal improvement from the Hmmmm Squad. Add in solid vets and an elite head coach, Miami should comfortably lock up a playoff spot.

Chris Smith (47-35, Previous: N/A): Miami will be better than last season’s 44-38. The homegrown quartet of Winslow, Richardson, Adebayo, and McGruder are ready to take giant leaps forward, while there are promising signs a healthy Whiteside will have a bounce-back year. Off the bench, Dwyane Wade will still win the Heat games it lost last year.

Alex Toledo (46-36, Previous: 47-35): With the roster as currently constructed, I see the Heat finishing up the season with a 46-36 record. I think they’ll see this slight uptick with Whiteside not being a complete negative as he was for the majority of last season and due to some more growth from Adebayo, Richardson, and Winslow. Also, the one great thing about having too many players deserving of a consistent spot in the rotation is it becomes easier to withstand injuries.

If/when the Jimmy Butler trade happens, I see them as a 48-to-52-win team, depending on who goes out in a trade. Butler would be a seamless roster fit given their need for an All-Star wing and playmaker (higher assist percentage, along with a lower turnover percentage, and usage rate than Paul George and Gordon Hayward over their last couple of seasons). I also think Dragic would look good without so much of the shot-making and playmaking pressure on him.

Michael Lefkowitz (44-38, Previous: N/A): With no roster turnover from last year (YET!!), the Heat can point to internal development and continuity as they continue to tread water in a Lebron-less Eastern Conference. Developmental leaps from J-Rich, Winslow, and Bam, a motivated and healthier Hassan Whiteside, timely Dwyane Wade buckets to ice close games, plus a deep bench can all be reasons for optimism.

On the flip side, the team could still be plagued by some of the same issues that revealed themselves over the course of last season and in the playoffs: lack of a consistent go-to scorer and poor shooting nights, which could spell some ugly losses (ignore everything I said if the Heat acquire Jimmy Butler).

Leif (46-36, Previous: 50-32): If everything breaks right, this team could get to 50 wins. That means near perfect health, significant internal improvement, and some good luck. If everything breaks wrong, meaning the young guys regress, the team is hampered by injuries, and can’t score enough to string together wins, they could bottom out around 40 wins. So hence I land at 46-36.

Alf (47-35, Previous: 49-33): Maybe I’m optimistic, but I see the team as a No. 4 or No. 5 seed this year. They are going to be the “Miami try hards,” and they have more chemistry than most Eastern Conference teams, which should help them steal a few games early. Best case scenario is a first-round playoff series win versus a team like the Milwaukee Bucks or Washington Wizards, but that’s pretty much the ceiling for this year’s squad.

Cait Anderson (45-37, Previous: N/A): Given the Heat don’t find a trade scenario that lands them Jimmy Butler, I see them in almost the exact same position they were in last year. The Heat did nothing to impress me from a basketball perspective this offseason, and unfortunately, I believe that will continue into the regular season. Arguments can be made that LeBron’s move to the west opens things up a little, but with other Eastern Conference teams doing more to improve their rosters, I don’t think it makes too much of a difference for the Heat’s season.

Christian Hernandez (45-37, Previous: 45-37): Slotting them in for one game better this season as they are returning mostly the same group, and I still have a lot of questions about how Spo is going to use all these serviceable players at his disposal (a Jimmy Butler trade would change this prediction a bit).

How much, and how effectively, will Dwyane play? How is Spo going to manage Rodney McGruder and Tyler Johnson’s minutes? Will Derrick Jones, Jr. get any playing time? I don’t think Miami is capable, even with injuries, to be much worse than this prediction, but I do believe they have a higher upside if some of the younger guys get an opportunity to spread their wings. A first-round series win would be a great season for a team with a lot of promising youth and bloated contracts becoming expirings next offseason.

Rob Slater (48-34, Previous: N/A): The Heat ultimately get Jimmy Butler in a Miami Heat uniform and put themselves in the middle of the conversation to contend in the Eastern Conference. Dwayne Wade gets a proper send-off with one last playoff run.

Brass Jazz (47-35, Previous: 47-35): I’m sticking with the same prediction I had last season, which ended up being a little high. Sure, Miami seems to be running it back again, but at least we’ll have Wade the whole season to close out tight games. That’s certainly worth a few extra wins. With Whiteside finally healthy, I think he can have a much more positive impact on the floor than he had last season. The same thing could be said about James Johnson coming back from sports hernia surgery. And Dion? 🤷🏻‍♂️

However, I can’t help but think that a mid-season trade (earlier than later 👀) will be made to clear some space for next year and to clear out the logjam at guard. Expect a breakout year from both Adebayo and J-Rich. By the end of the season, Colin Cowherd will finally put some respect on their names.

Brian Goins (Today Is The Day, Previous: Could Go Either Way):

I’ve asked a Magic 8 Ball the last two seasons, and I’m going to keep pressing my luck with the spherical fortune teller once again. This was what I got. Not sure what this means…

 


MHB’s Consensus Oracle (46-36, Previous: 46-36): Don’t forget to @ us when we’re right.

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