Q: How many wins this season would make you think Erik Spoelstra coached the team to its talent level? -- Joel.
A: There's still too many variables in play, especially this season, and here's why: It could come down to whether the NBA, before this season, adjusts the way the lottery works. In other words, if the lottery system changes and makes it less profitable to tank, it might not be as easy to predict four wins apiece against the 76ers and Magic, and maybe even against Bucks. Suddenly, those teams might actually try to win a game or two. I think this Heat team, with its questions and center and with its limited depth, looks somewhere between 43 and 45 wins. Any higher number will not come down to Spoelstra as much as it would to Dwyane Wade and his availability. The Heat can only push for wins as hard as Wade is able/willing to push.
Q: What took Wade so long to get himself in better shape? Is he all motivated to try to be a top dog to turn a 41-win team into a 45-win team, but was not motivated enough to be the best second option he can be on a championship contender last year? -- Adrian.
A: I think it's more that his knees simply needed the time last season, making 2013-14 somewhat of a transition year for both Dwyane and the Heat. I think 2014-15 will be a barometer of how much Dwyane has left, which is why he likely is positioning himself with the best possible conditioning.
Q: Will Erik have to expand the rotation to limit risk of injury and to expose young players? It would be a mistake if not. -- Gilo.
A: I think this team has to be beyond any sort of maintenance program, has to play every game to win. With this roster, sneaking into homecourt in the first round would be significant, with two spots likely there for the taking beyond the Cavaliers and Bulls. If the Heat plan to push the Wizards and Raptors, then they have to come 82 games strong.Copyright © 2015, CT Now