Dwyane Wade: Heat are ‘behind the 8-ball’

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Erik Spoelstra said the Heat’s much-anticipated, but yet-unseen-in-the-regular-season starting lineup – Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whitesidewould require time to jell.

Apparently, 29 preseason minutes haven’t changed that.

Miami, coming off its first lottery season in seven years, still aren’t clicking on all cylinders.

Wade, via Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report:

“We just got to play together more and figure it out together,” Wade said recently. “It’s just going to take a little time. You can’t fast-track it as much as you want to. … We’re behind the 8-ball from a lot of teams.”

This is not what the Heat want to hear as they’re just starting their season, but it’s probably their reality.

Miami is striving to accomplish two somewhat-similar, somewhat-competing goals this season:

1. Be healthy enough to win enough regular-season games to make the playoffs.

2. Be healthy enough to advance in the playoffs.

The Heat’s health issues last season (namely Chris Bosh’s blood clots, which popped up just after the trade for Dragic) are still setting them back this season. Preseason health issues (namely Hassan Whiteside’s calf strain) have limited Miami’s ability to mesh.

So, what does Spoelstra do now? Does he give his top players more minutes to develop chemistry, which could put them at further injury risk? Or does he keep them rested, even if it means less regular-season success? As last season showed, the Heat aren’t good enough to bank on a postseason berth while not leaning on their stars.

Miami’s potential is high, but this is a tricky team to handle.