AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 10. Miami Heat
We're now within two weeks of the NBA's regular season, which brings us to the top 10 of our team previews and power rankings. Starting in mid-September, we've been rolling out a new installment every weekday, most recently with the New Orleans Pelicans clocking in at No. 11.
Next, we have a team that's set to contend in 2014-15, but has its sights set on an even bigger future.
It's hard to imagine a team that's paying a 33-year-old Dwyane Wade as one that's prepping for the future, but that's precisely what the Miami Heat are.
Don't get confused -- they'll still finish in a mid-to-top-tier playoff spot in the Eastern Conference in 2015-16. A core of Wade, Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic make up one of the more versatile trios in the league, while Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts and Amar'e Stoudemire form a formidable supporting cast.
But with only four players under guaranteed contracts for next season, it's clear that Pat Riley is trying to pull off a 2010-style heist after the season is over.
In the meantime, though, Erik Spoelstra's bunch is pieced together nicely. Bosh, returning from his a blood clot scare that ended his 2015 season, is at full strength and should have no trouble returning to All-Star form. As the team's focal point before going down with his medical scare, he averaged 21.1 points per game and shot 37.5 percent on threes.
Combined with Dwyane Wade's 21.5 points a night, it was an impressive year for the two when on the floor. When healthy, Wade still posts All-Star-like performances -- the issue is simply keeping him on the hardwood.
The two will be playing with Dragic as a trio for the first time, and with a full training camp and preseason to work together, the bunch has the potential to take Miami as high as second in the East. Dragic's handling and playmaking ability combined with Wade's scoring and Bosh's versatility makes for a well-rounded attack. Whiteside's defensive impact near the rim will be a huge plus, while Winslow and Luol Deng's shooting and wing defense will surely pay dividends.
It will likely be an enjoyable season for this Miami group, but they shouldn't get too comfortable, as Riley is expected to strip down the majority of this roster after the year in pursuit of a star-studded free agent class highlighted by Kevin Durant. In their year together, though, there's potential for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with old friend LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers.
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