The Heat are the defending NBA champs, and with the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, they may be even better than they were last year. In the East, no one can deny that they are the team to beat. No question about that.
Chris Bosh’s comments a couple of days ago, whether he meant them or not, echoed the feelings that I have had for most of the summer. The Knicks are flying under the radar heading into the 2012-2013 season, and I am not totally sure why. The team has brought in veteran (… old) talent. No splashy signings. Just good, veteran players looking for a ring. They have not had the off-seasons that the Celtics, Mavs or even the Nets have had, but theirs may have been just as good.
Many people say that there are not a lot of good teams in the Eastern Conference, especially with the Bulls missing Rose for potentially a large chunk of the season. I happen to disagree. In my opinion, the East has a lot of talent and a lot of strong teams. All in all, the West is probably better with teams like San Antonio, the Lakers and OKC sitting atop the Conference. In the East, only the Heat give off that same elite feel. But after the Heat, there are only four or five teams that can make a legitimate run at the Finals.
The Celtics, Pacers, Nets, Knicks are likely in the second tier and possibly the Sixers, Bulls, Hawks and Bucks in the third tier. So I ask, which of those teams, if any, scare you in a Best of 7 series? The Knicks are built for a short playoff series. They have depth and they have closers. They have tactical vets and they have superstar power. Of the teams mentioned above, the only one that scares me in a short series is Boston, but it remains to be seen how the team will respond to a small shakeup this summer. The Pacers will be good, but they are beatable in my eyes until they prove otherwise. So long as the Knicks can avoid the Heat until at least the ECF, is it unreasonable that the Knicks can make it that far?
We’ll see. The season cannot start soon enough.