5. Eastern Conference
The East has allowed the Heat to see many teams upgrade in the offseason in moves to try and be more competitive against a super team. The Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks all have made noise during the summer but not enough to put an ounce of fear into the Heat. With the core of the Heat in place and less chemistry to concoct, they should be control their destiny in the Eastern Conference.
The team comes in with depth and experience at each position. Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, James, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh are the starting five and they are strong unit and even when they hit the bench they have Hall of Famers like Ray Allen coming off the bench. Norris Cole has had a year to study the offense and got better defensively as the season progressed.
Also, getting insurance for the frontcourt with the re-signing of Chris Andersen and the addition of Greg Oden allows the Heat to have an easier time matching up with teams that have a size advantage. Gaining a 7-footer at this point and one that doesn't have many miles due to injuries appears to be an extreme case of a high risk, high reward for the world champions.
Miami will enter this season with one of the strongest second units in the league in which many of those players could start on another NBA team. If the team plays well together, it will only make teams more frustrated when trying to figure out a way to stop them.
3. Health of Wade
Wade has been in and out of the lineup with knee injuries the past few seasons but has been able to contribute especially in the postseason when his services are needed most. The Heat rely heavily on how much Wade can give them on a nightly basis because he is the heart of the team. It is a fact that Coach Erik Spoelstra will monitor Wade's minutes in order to keep him fresh. The team and the league can only wonder if the former NBA Finals MVP can keep himself on the court and in good health for an entire season.
2. LeBron James
As MVP for the past two seasons, James has convinced many that he is the best basketball player on this planet and is now being mentioned in conversations with the undeniable greatest basketball player ever in Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. Everyone associates the six championship rings with Jordan and now that James has two under his belt, he is ready to continue to leave his own imprint on the league. James has gotten better statistically every year since joining the Heat in 2010, the goal in 2013-14 should be no different especially as he focuses in on accomplishing a three-peat much like Jordan did as a professional.
1. A Promise
LeBron James exclaimed in his introduction to the Heat fans along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in 2010 that the team would win "not two, not three, not four, not five…[championships}" together as a triumvirate. The Heat will have to play like the hunted especially with a lot of teams looking to dash the chances of winning three consecutive NBA Finals series. With two championships won in the past two seasons, the King would like to keep his word and help deliver the three-peat to the Miami Heat organization and the fans.
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