Key Additions: Chris Andersen (last season waiver), Greg Oden, and Michael Beasley
Key Departures: Mike Miller
Last year the Miami Heat took down the title but pulling a threepeat wont be nearly as easy. Other contenders have improved and while the Heat have brought in some pieces it did take a g/series/season saving three by Ray Allen to save Miami's game six. Lebron will be looking to once again put the team on his shoulders and be the primary catalyst for for their offense while also being a beast on the defensive end.
The Heat start this season off as 2-1 favorites to repeat as NBA champions and they have done nothing but get better this offseason. Baring an injury Lebron will be his dominant self with the same core and Birdman on the inside to give them some toughness and a decent rebounder. Rebounding is really the only glaring weakness on this Heat team. The hope is that Greg Oden will be able to significantly contribute to solving that problem but he is already being held out of practices with swelling in his knees so it is probably a long shot that he will be able to play significant hard minutes. Perhaps Miami will keep him on ice until the playoffs and then work him into the rotation like they did with Andersen last season. The offseason addition which has a legitimate chance to help them is Michael Beasley. If he can keep his off the court issues in check and learn to be a role player he could be a very solid contributor off the bench.
Once again Miami will be able to spread the floor with shooters as Lebron runs the offense scoring at the rim and finding the open man on the perimeter. When they are making their outside shots the Heat are essentially unbeatable and when you have Ray Allen and Shane Battier you are going to make a lot of outside shots. If Oden can actually contribute on the inside and give Miami a rebounding interior presence you can essintially forget about anyone having a legitimate chance at beating this team four times in seven games. Assuming a healthy season there is no reason to think the Heat have anything but an excellent shot at making another run at a championship but with the competition improving they must improve as well.