The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders. There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.
It took a season longer than anticipated but the Miami Heat reached the top of the mountain last season winning the NBA Championship and getting the insanely large monkey off LeBron James’ back. Management didn’t just sit back and rest on their laurels this off-season, making a few minor but key moves to help the Heat’s chances of repeating.
2011-12: 46-20, 2nd in Eastern Conference
Predicted EC Finish: 1st
Projected Depth Chart:
C: Chris Bosh/Udonis Haslem/Joel Anthony/Dexter Pittman/Justin Harrellson/Justin Hamilton
PF: LeBron James/Rashard Lewis
SF: Shane Battier/Mike Miller/James Jones
SG: Dwyane Wade/Ray Allen/Terrel Harris
PG: Mario Chalmers/Norris Cole
Miami’s off-season was: . We all know that LeBron and Wade aren’t great outside shooters so adding proven three-point threats like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis makes Miami an even more dangerous offensive team. With shooters like Allen and Lewis perched out on the perimeter, that will limit team’s abilities to crash down when LeBron and Wade attack the hoop which also benefits LeBron and Wade who are practically unstoppable in one-on-one situations. The one area the Heat failed to address was finding a true big man down low which means Miami will once again utilize a smaller, more athletic line-up with Chris Bosh at the five and LeBron at the four.
2012-2013 will be a success if: they repeat. With the Lakers adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the competition out West will be thick when you also factor the Oklahoma City Thunder in the mix as well. There is no reason to believe that Miami can’t emerge out of the East unless a Boston, Brooklyn, or New York upsets them or Derrick Rose makes a miraculous recovery and sparks the Bulls into the Finals. It will by no means be a walk in the park but a second straight title is the goal.
2012-2013 will be a disappointment if: they don’t repeat. The bar was set to the pinnacle two summers ago when the Big 3 joined forces in South Beach and the attitude from day one was ring or bust. Now that the franchise has gotten a taste of winning the title, there is no looking back from here. Even just making it to the NBA Finals won’t be satisfying for this hopefuly dynasty. Anything less than a repeat will considered a grave disappointment.
Looking ahead to next summer: As long as the Big 3 are together in South Beach, every off-season will be the same; using the mid-level exception to add a quality role player and then fill the roster with veterans for the league minimum. Clearly that’s a recipe that worked last season and since cap space is pretty much all hogged up by Wade, LeBron, and Bosh; there really is no other option.
OTHER NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS:
#2 Boston Celtics
#3 Brooklyn Nets
#4 New York Knicks
#5 Indiana Pacers
#6 Philadelphia 76ers
#7 Chicago Bulls
#8 Toronto Raptors
#9 Milwaukee Bucks
#10 Detroit Pistons
#11 Atlanta Hawks
#12 Cleveland Cavaliers
#13 Orlando Magic
#14 Washington Wizards
#15 Charlotte Bobcats
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.
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