Five Questions the Miami Heat Must Answer This Season

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The Miami Heat have been a solid team thus far during the 2015-16 season.

Through 12 games, the Heat are 8-4, placing them second in the Eastern Conference standings. Many experts had pegged the Heat as the fourth-best team in the East entering the season, so it’s safe to say that the team has exceeded expectations so far in the young season.

The highlights for the team have been the strong play of Chris Bosh and the rising performance of 23-year-old Tyler Johnson. Bosh is currently second on the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game, while Johnson leads the bench with 8.5 points per contest on 52.9 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from beyond the arc.

While the team’s record is strong overall, there is plenty of room for improvement. The Heat have already lost games to top teams within the conference versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks.

There are still many questions that surround this team despite the strong start to the season. Here are five questions the Heat must answer in 2015-16:

1. What is the Exact Plan for Amar’e Stoudemire?

Amar'e Stoudemire Says Miami Heat Are Saving Him for Playoffs

Through the first 12 games of the year, Amar’e Stoudemire has appeared in just two contests—his appearances were three weeks apart.

More recently, Stoudemire appeared in the 116-109 victory over the Sacramento Kings on November 19th. He scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in eight minutes of action, all occurring in the first quarter.

The 33-year-old veteran recently spoke to the media, stating the reason that he has seen so little playing time is because the Heat are saving him for the postseason:

“We’ve got a big picture in mind. We know we want to be there in the postseason. We want guys to stay healthy. Now, it’s not about wearing somebody down during the regular season. It’s about really just keeping the maintenance program and making sure we’re at 100 percent strength by the playoffs.”

A few weeks ago, Stoudemire had said to the media that he’s on a maintenance program designed to keep him fresh for “big games.”

Whatever the case is, the team needs to find a proper role for the veteran big man. Despite his creaky knees and recent injury history, he remains more than capable of scoring in short bursts. That was demonstrated in the Heat’s recent victory over the Kings and it was proven when he averaged 10.8 points in just 16.5 minutes of playing time with the Dallas Mavericks in 2014-15.

If the Heat truly plan to utilize Stoudemire in the playoffs, he’s going to need to remain in shape by receiving more consistent playing time in the regular season.

Next: How Much Does Dwyane Wade Have Left in the Tank?

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D.J. Siddiqi grew up in the heart of South Florida in Broward County. Growing up in South Florida during the late 90's and 2000's, D.J. witnessed the Pat Riley years where the Miami Heat faced off with the New York Knicks all the way to the painful late 2000's seasons where the Heat were a one-man team with Dwyane Wade. D.J. has closely followed the Heat over the past decade-and-a-half, and unfortunately witnessed Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in person when the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit to knock off the Heat. D.J. has writing experience as a columnist with sites such as Bleacher Report and Rant Sports, and he is proud to bring his knowledge of the Heat and the NBA to Heat Nation.