Welcome back to the final instalment of the Sport Script’s 2013-14 NBA regular season preview. We’ve gone through 29 other teams up to this point, most recently the Pacers, so check them out. Tomorrow we’ll be releasing a full preview that includes all these teams, as well as champion and award predictions for the season, so be sure to watch for that. Finally down to the last team, and was it ever any other team? They’ve won two straight NBA Championships, and after a wild offseason, I still don’t see any other team as being truly better than them. The number one team in my countdown, is the Miami Heat.
Key Additions: Greg Oden (Signed via Blazers) Michael Beasley (Signed via Suns)
Key Departures: Mike Miller (Grizzlies)
Projected Starters: PG Mario Chalmers, SG Dwayne Wade, SF LeBron James, PF Udonis Haslem, C Chris Bosh
Ah the Miami Heat. The very best team in the NBA, and I don’t think they’ll be giving that title up anytime soon. They didn’t do all that much this offseason, because it was more about the resignings than the free agent signings. But looking at who they did sign, the big one is Greg Oden. Oden has been out of the NBA since 2009, and has been slowly trying to get healthy, and re-establish his once promising NBA career. If he can be healthy for even 50% of the season, and play at a relatively high level, then he’s a massive get for this team. The Heat struggled against teams with physical and imposing big men, see the Pacers, and getting a good defensive rim protector was the one thing they really needed. Chris Anderson and Udonis Haslem are great role players, and bring some fantastic stuff, but they just don’t have the size to deal with the Duncans and Hibberts of the NBA, players they might see in the playoffs. The other guy they brought in was Michael Beasley, formerly the number two overall pick a few years back of the Heat, and while he won’t see the court much, he is talented, and could add scoring, if he ever decided to take better shots. They lost Mike Miller, which won’t hurt them any in the regular season, but will be a major blow in the playoffs, as Miller has somehow managed to come to life exactly when the Heat needed him to. It hurts having to amnesty him because he’s such a popular locker room guy, but the money was just too much on the Heat. Of course the big moves were resigning the likes of Chris Anderson who provided so many great plays in the playoffs, and players like Chalmers, Allen and Lewis all opted into their contracts, meaning they brought in essentially the exact same team.
The Heat bring back the same starting lineup from last year, and what else can you say about it? They have a solid starting point guard in Chalmers who has a flair for the dramatic. Wade is really slowing down, but he’s still a top three shooting guard in the NBA, and top 12 player in my opinion. Udonis Haslem brings some excellent toughness to the team, and does a great job defensively, just look at how he took care of business against Tim Duncan when they were matched together in the finals last spring. Him and Anderson will split time their, depending on what exactly the Heat need. Chris Bosh is the most maligned player of the Big Three because he is the softer one, and is also one of the weirdest players in the NBA as well. But despite all this, he’s still a seriously good player, and can bring 18/8 on 45%+ shooting every night. When that kind of production is your third best player, you have a very good time, and Bosh makes the most of his opportunities. The final player is that guy named LeBron James, who just happens to be the best player the NBA has seen since Michael Jordan. LeBron has earned a lot of hate, and some it is well-earned over his “Decision” years ago, but right now, no one can even touch him, and LeBron just keeps getting better and better. He’s a much better shooter than everyone gives him credit for, and can get the easiest shot on the floor, a few from the basket, at anytime that he wants. What else do you ask from a player? He’s won two championships, but he’s not going to stop there. He stills has probably 5-6 years left in his prime, so be prepared for rings for the King if he has a good cast around him.
The Heat are the team to beat, and I haven’t seen anything from the other 29 teams to make me think that anyone is currently better than them. They are primed for another run, and probably for a another couple of years after this one as well. Save for an unlucky injury, or a Wade collapse, this team is once again championship bound. Not one, not two…
Final Prediction: 58-24, 1st Western Conference