With the season almost over, the Miami Heat are looking to put the season behind them for the first time in three years.
While the team has the best record in the NBA, the question of who will play alongside LeBron James is still being debated among Heat fans.
The first round of the NBA playoffs begins Sunday night in Houston, and there are a lot of questions surrounding the team’s young core.
With that in mind, ESPN’s Chris Broussard breaks down the five key players in the Heat’s rotation.
Broussart: When will the Heat begin to truly compete for a playoff spot?
The Heat started the season 3-2 and are currently on a seven-game winning streak.
They have the second-best record in basketball with a 15-7 record and sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
With the playoffs fast approaching, will the team really compete for anything?
If this Heat team can continue to play this way, then they should be a playoff team.
It’s a long shot, but it would be a real accomplishment for Miami if they could make it to the postseason.
However, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the Heat.
Miami was the worst team in the league in offensive rating and defensive rating, respectively.
The Heat have been ranked in the bottom-third of the league for three straight years, but the team will look to get back on track after being down three of the last four games.
The Heat had a +7.5 differential in defensive rating last season.
They were +7 in offensive ratings.
With the Heat, you have to have players like Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson who are capable of creating offense, and with the addition of Josh Richardson, they have the potential to be even better.
They can also help the Heat win in the defensive aspect of the game, as the Heat have the third-best defense in the entire NBA.
This is a team that can’t be stopped.
They’re relentless on the offensive end and they’ve won three in a row.
It will be fascinating to see if they can continue their success with Dwyane Wade back in the lineup.
It would be interesting to see how the Heat defend this team.
The question is how good can they be?
Miami has a lot to prove after losing two in a span of five days in Cleveland, and it’s difficult to imagine them staying healthy for a full 82-game season.
The team has to be able to defend better against teams in the top half of the conference.
They need to be better on the defensive end to keep the other teams from scoring at will, and they need to find a way to score more points than they did last season without Wade.
It won’t be easy, but Miami needs to find their identity if it wants to win in this era of the modern NBA.