The Miami Heat began their preseason schedule with a 106-95 win against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
The game marked the first time the Heat took the court without Dwyane Wade around in a long time. Wade made his debut with the Chicago Bulls a day earlier in their preseason opener. For the past 13 seasons, Miami had Wade on its roster for the start of play.
Miami's offense was consistent throughout the night and featured many contributors. There were some positive developments for a team full of question marks. The starting five for Miami included a new name in Luke Babbitt. The rest of the unit had Justise Winslow, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson. Those four could all end up part of the starting lineup for the beginning of the regular season.
Hassan Whiteside led Miami with his 20 points and 13 rebounds. It was an electric start for Whiteside as he enters the first year of his new long-term deal. The center looked game ready and strong from the start and played 23 minutes. Whiteside also had three blocks along the way in the win.
Babbitt had 14 points of his own in 20 minutes on the court. With four rebounds of his own, Babbitt was a solid contributor on offense. The veteran also stole the ball once to show his defensive skills off. Babbitt is a candidate for a large amount of playing time during the season.
Dion Waiters made his presence known with 12 points off the bench. Waiters added in eight assists as well and could end up playing a key role during the season in Miami's rotation.
Miami's next preseason game will come on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.