There is no legitimate challenger to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference this season

Cohen’s Opinion: Unconvinced

Most tag the Pacers as the Heat’s primary competitor. That’s an acceptable notion considering Indiana pushed Miami to seven games in the conference finals last season.

However, we must recognize two significantly upgraded franchises, Brooklyn and Chicago. The Nets, for one, added two future Hall of Famers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and for now are far healthier than they were last season. And the Bulls have Derrick Rose back and don’t be surprised if Jimmy Butler is this year’s Most Improved Player.

If Dwyane Wade’s knees plague him for a big portion of the season and if Chris Bosh continues to decline, it wouldn’t shock me if the Heat don’t even reach the conference finals this season.