|2012-13 Team Rating|
|1st Overall||7th Overall|
2012-13 Season Stats
Any group that includes LeBron James and Chris Bosh is bound to be at the head of the class. Add utility man Udonis Haslem, energizer Chris "Birdman" Andersen and whatever Greg Oden can give and the Heat have a dynamic group that ranks right up there with the NBA's best.
Dwyane Wade's knee issues should be history. Mario Chalmers has solidified himself as a legitimate starting point guard and there is reserve help Norris Cole and Ray Allen. Depth is going to be an issue, especially if Wade's knee problems resurface.
No team defends the court how Heat can when their biggest stars are focused. They don't have a physical, low-post defender, but they have everything else. Size, athleticism, versatility and elite skill level sets the Heat apart.
With Allen, Cole, Shane Battier and Andersen, the Heat's bench is more than capable of changing the complexion of a game. Elite? Not necessarily. But certainly above average. They'll miss having Mike Miller around, but that just means more opportunities for Allen.
Erik Spoelstra wears carries a hot seat with him at all times despite three straight trips to The Finals and back-to-back titles. He has nothing to prove at this point of his career, but luckily for the Heat, he approaches each moment on the job as if he does. He's an excellent motivator and a tactical wiz.
Basking in the glow of their repeat titles is not an option for a Heat team with stars set on breaking the mold and challenging the history books to three-peat, thus putting themselves into the truly elite of the elite among championship outfits. LeBron has never come back from his summer break without taking another step in his evolution as the greatest player of his generation and the most dominant player on the planet. So this summer should be no different for the four-time MVP.
The only real concerns are the physical healing that Wade needed this summer and the emotional healing Bosh needed this summer after a rough time against the Spurs in The Finals. It helps that Pat Riley squashed any rumors of Bosh being trade bait early on and allowed his stars to ease into the offseason without any lingering drama. That move more than any other ensured the Heat entering the 2013-14 season the same way they finished the last two seasons: at the top of the heap.
-- Sekou Smith
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B+|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|