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Who Has a Better Starting 5, Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat?

Joel C. CordesNBA Associate EditorNovember 16, 2016

It's the question that will be endlessly debated for the rest of the 2012 NBA offseason: Do the Los Angeles Lakers have a better starting five than the defending champion Miami Heat?

The 2012 NBA free agency period has been an arms race. With the Lakers trading for Steve Nash, and Ray Allen's signing to Miami, two of the league's superpowers just got stronger.

Quality teams like the San Antonio Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls have had freakishly quiet offseasons by comparison. Long-time contenders like the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks are scrambling just to keep up and to stop the bleeding, respectively. 

While newcomers like the Brooklyn Nets are also racing to the summit via their re-signing of Deron Williams, trading for the Atlanta Hawks' Joe Johnson and continued pursuit of the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, they are still a step away from completing their roster.

Yet every single one of those teams have clearly fallen behind the Heat and Lakers.

The Heat's starting lineup was already good enough to win the championship. Now they're able to trot out Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Shane Battier (or Udonis Haslem) while adding one of the league's best shooters to their bench.

The Lakers have upgraded Ramon Sessions with Steve Nash, and they will flank him with Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace (or Devin Ebanks), Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

It's a paper debate for now, but the Heat and Lakers have both positioned themselves to settle this on the court when the 2013 NBA Finals roll around.

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