Stopping The Miami Three-Peat

As the NBA season quickly approaches, the talk seems to center around the Miami Heat. It makes sense, since the team led by Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh is the two-time defending champions. As people put the finishing touches on their fantasy basketball drafts and try to predict how their favorite team will do in 2013-2014, the most important question is, which teams have a chance of dethroning the Heat? Here is a look at the three best contenders.

Chicago Bulls

Last season, the Chicago Bulls grinded there way to a second round exit in the Eastern Conference, despite a ton of injuries that held them back. The biggest injury of course was the absence of Derrick Rose for the entire season. Now that their fantasy basketball star is back, they should have enough offense to really get Miami a realistic challenge. The defense, anchored by Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler, has always been there. A healthy Rose makes Chicago dangerous, and the team most likely to stop the Heat from winning again.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Like the Chicago Bulls, the Thunder had to do without their star point guard during the most important stretch of the season. Russell Westbrook’s injury effectively ended the Thunder’s shot at making it back to the NBA Finals in 2013. While Westbrook might not be ready to start the season, he should be just fine come the playoffs. The Kevin Durant-Westbrook combination is extremely dangerous, and they have the size down low to give the Heat some fits as well.

San Antonio Spurs

The Rockets, Clippers, Pacers, Nets and Warriors may all feel they have a shot, but until the Spurs actually decline, they are a legitimate contender. Remember, this is a team that probably should have won the title last year if they could just make free throws down the stretch. Their core big three is a year older, but Kawhi Leonard is a year more mature. They have also added some key role players, including Marco Belinelli, who could be huge contributors down the stretch. Health is always a major concern.

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