5 New Year’s resolutions for the Miami Heat to make for 2017

Dec 18, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) drives to the basket as Miami Heat forward James Johnson (16) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 18, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) drives to the basket as Miami Heat forward James Johnson (16) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2017 is right around the corner, and we’re calling for the Miami Heat to make some New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Yes, we are just one day away from saying goodbye to the oddities of 2016, with an entirely fresh start on the horizon.

Which of course means it is time to come up with some New Year’s resolutions.

And while you may be telling yourself that you will hit the gym more, or that you will replace one hour of television with reading a good old fashioned book, the Miami Heat have other things in mind.

Because at 10-23, the boys of South Beach have plenty of changes to make if they want to be successful moving forward.

So, here are five resolutions Miami may want to work towards, come 2017.

Dec 16, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watches the game during the first half against the LA Clippers at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 16, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watches the game during the first half against the LA Clippers at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1. Making free throws

First and foremost, the Heat have to start hitting their free throws.

There is absolutely no excuse for how horrendous the team has been at shooting free throws so far this season. And with many games having come down to only a few baskets, it has certainly cost them.

Currently last in the league in free throw percentage, Miami is shooting a mere 65.9 percent from the line.

Sure, everyone has a bad night here and there. For example, Goran Dragic, who is a career 75.3 percent free throw shooter, went just 1-of-3 last Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

And no, not everybody deserves to be scolded. After all, Tyler Johnson has been regularly shooting 74.2 percent from the line.

But as a unit, the Heat have struggled in this category. And they will find themselves continuing to lose games in the new year, if they do not work towards the goal of improving their free throws.

Dec 20, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (black jacket) reacts from the bench during the second half against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena. The Magic defeated the Heat in a double overtime 136-130. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 20, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (black jacket) reacts from the bench during the second half against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena. The Magic defeated the Heat in a double overtime 136-130. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2. Staying healthy

The team will also absolutely continue to lose games if they do not have bodies to put on the court. Earlier this season, Miami had only three guys coming off of the bench: Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem and Willie Reed. Not exactly a recipe for success.

In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any team that could win games in such a state.

So as they await the return of Dion Waiters, and news on just how long McRoberts will be out, the Heat need to do everything they can to stay as healthy as possible.

Regardless of the fact that injuries are a common phenomenon in this league.

Whether this means becoming hermits, only leaving their houses for practices and on game days, or perhaps wrapping themselves up in bubble wrap, to avoid any accidents… it does not matter. Whatever they can do to protect their bodies (and minds and souls), they need to see to.

Including securing the most protective of mouth guards for Dragic and Johnson.

Dec 14, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington (2) shoots over Indiana Pacers guard Glenn Robinson III (40) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Miami Heat defeat Indiana Pacers 95-89. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 14, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington (2) shoots over Indiana Pacers guard Glenn Robinson III (40) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Miami Heat defeat Indiana Pacers 95-89. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

3. Committing to the three-ball

Now that Miami is making their free throws and staying healthy, it is time to focus on developing a new strategy: playing the three-point game.

In case none of you are One Tree Hill fans, here is a short scenario to become familiar with. The Ravens, a high school basketball team, lose their best player, Q, to a broken arm right before championships. The head coach and his two assistants are in the locker room, after hearing Q’s diagnosis, trying to come up with a plan on how to stay afloat. Suddenly, the head coach’s son, Jamie, has a bright idea. The team should only shoot three’s. Because after all, three is larger than two.

Crazy? Maybe. But spoiler alert: it worked.

Now obviously this is not a realistic plan, nor is it something any NBA team would ever even attempt (okay, maybe the Rockets). However, the Heat do have some impressive three-point shooters on their roster. So it is time to start better utilizing them.

Luke Babbitt, Wayne Ellington, Josh Richardson… if they can all get their three-point shots going on a consistent basis, Miami will have a way better chance at out-scoring their opponents.

Dec 29, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) reacts after being called on a foul during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center. Hornets win 91-82. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) reacts after being called on a foul during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center. Hornets win 91-82. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

4. Getting Hassan Whiteside’s head back into the game

Plain and simple, the Heat cannot be successful if their biggest star is not performing well.

And for whatever reason as of late, Whiteside is lost.

While a portion of Heat Nation are blaming his aloof behavior on his offseason payout, others think he is simply overwhelmed, while a handful more chalk it up with being sick of losing.

But a better explanation yet may be much purer. Perhaps Whiteside has simply hit a slump.

Averaging 17.8 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game this year, Whiteside has not looked like himself the last couple of games.

Totaling just 30 points over the last three games, the big man has looked lethargic and lost out there. At least when it comes to offense.

Something that has cost Miami game after game.

Whiteside needs to come back rejuvenated and hungry in 2017, taking on each opponent as though his life depends on it. Gone should be the days of wilting under stronger and bigger opposition. The Heat gave Whiteside a maximum contract for a reason: because he deserved it. So it is time for him to once again remember his worth.

Dec 22, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat president Pat Riley honors former center Shaquille O Neal Jersey number (32) retirement banner is raised into the rafters at the American Airlines Arena during a half time ceremony against the Los Angeles Lakers. O Neal has become the third Heat player to have his jersey retired with former Heat players Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 22, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat president Pat Riley honors former center Shaquille O Neal Jersey number (32) retirement banner is raised into the rafters at the American Airlines Arena during a half time ceremony against the Los Angeles Lakers. O Neal has become the third Heat player to have his jersey retired with former Heat players Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

5. Trusting Pat Riley

Miami is struggling. Badly. But they cannot give up hope.

(And the same goes for Heat Nation).

Because Riley is the boss of all bosses. A man unlike any other. A legend.

So he will turn things around.

Just like he did after LeBron James went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chris Bosh was diagnosed with his first blood clot.

In 2017, the Heat must have faith that the light at the end of the tunnel will finally shine down on South Beach. Through a trade. Amongst free agency. As a result of the draft.

(By way of Dwyane Wade’s return?)

Riley will save us all.

Here is to 2017. A new year, with a new outlook.

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