Five Reasons the Miami Heat’s 2016-17 Season Was a Success

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3. Erik Spoelstra Helped Re-Establish Heat Culture

Hassan Whiteside, Erik Spoelstra, Goran Dragic

The entire Heat fan base was down in the dumps after learning that Chris Bosh would, yet again, be unable to suit up for Miami for the 2016-17 season. After sitting out the second halves of the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, the team was hoping to finally have the last remnant of the “Big Three” back healthy. Obviously, that’s not what happened.

As if that wasn’t hard enough for the Heat, before the final Bosh prognosis, South Florida had to suffer through the losses of both LeBron James and, of course, Dwyane Wade. That’s a lot to overcome, from any standpoint. It’d be tough to recall a time in the past in which any NBA team had to bounce back from a mass exodus of talent on a scale like that.

However, somehow, some way, coach Spoelstra got these guys to buy into the familial, yet professional and business-like approach to the game. That is, the Heat culture — and it’s not for everyone. That “culture” helped keep guys from hanging their heads too low when all seemed lost. Belief in the system, and in the organization as a whole, helped propel the team to its outstanding second half of the season. Miami did a whole lot more than just finish .500 and rattle off a bunch of quality wins, though.

They put the entire league on notice.

When a free agent sees what Pat Riley and Spoelstra were able to do with a team made up of mostly D-Leaguers, undrafted rookies and veteran journeymen, it helps him understand what this franchise is capable of. It’s hard for any team to win in the NBA, and other teams with a whole lot more talent ended up with far worse records this year. Not to mention, no team was hit harder by the injury bug this season than the Heat were. Still, they overcame — and seemed to have a lot of fun while doing it.

All of that, coupled with the fact that the Heat managed to sell out 41 games this year with zero All-Stars on the roster is remarkable. That’s the type of success, loyalty and commitment that helps sway undecided free agents in the offseason. Hopefully for the Heat, they will officially be able to dump Bosh’s salary from the cap this summer. That would allow them to court high-caliber free agents looking to make new homes for themselves with an organization of the highest quality.

Next: A Strong, Irreplaceable Brotherhood Was Formed

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Grant is a life-long Miami Heat fan hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His earliest Heat memories involve Eddie Jones going off on opponents and hoping he'd become the next Michael Jordan. When that didn't pan out, a guy named Dwyane Wade came to Miami and Grant's fandom turned to obsession. He graduated with an English degree from the University of Central Florida and currently resides in Los Angeles.