The Miami Heat, despite looking dominant in the 2012 NBA Finals, will face a battle in their quest to repeat as NBA champions.
Yes, even with LeBron James' incredible performances, the Heat can improve and must improve on several key areas if they want to remain on the throne.
Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers have suddenly been thrust to the top of the list of would-be champions by virtue of fantastic offseason acquisitions. Not to mention the Heat's roster is far from flawless itself.
Miami has begun addressing some of these issues over the summer; however some remain untouched and will remain so until into the new season.
The Miami Heat do not have any good centers. That is obvious looking at their roster. Dexter Pittman? Eddy Curry? Juwan Howard? Joel Anthony?
Yet they weren't hurt by this.
The Heat appear to want to make Chris Bosh their starting center as he played large minutes there throughout last season.
The Heat could now face two great centers in their run to the Finals this season with the specter of Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers awaiting them should they get that far.
Should the Heat decide they must return Bosh to power forward in the face of this center onslaught, they still do not have that center and do not look likely to find one at short notice.
How can they fix this? By playing small ball the right way.
Not many big men can defend players like Chris Bosh in the pick-and-pop and spot-up plays he so often ran in the NBA Finals. Hibbert and Bynum are simply not quick enough to cover the ground necessary to prevent Bosh from scoring. Howard, however, is, but the Heat must bargain on having the talent to negate his incredible defensive abilities.
So with Bosh still playing center and LeBron at power forward, the Heat have a speed advantage over these traditional big men as they continue to create a positional revolution the scale of which has not been seen in decades.
Miami's group of guards is very good. Point guard? Perhaps the weaker of the two positions.
Mario Chalmers began to prove his worth as a starter with some inspired performances in the NBA Finals, and Norris Cole showed flashes of what he could become once the rookie rawness is trained out of him.
Should Chalmers turn out to be a flash in the pan, the Heat have serious issues at point guard.
They also have the tools to solve those issues already on their roster.
Miami, after signing Ray Allen from the Boston Celtics, can now deploy an incredibly dangerous point guard-free group consisting of Wade, Allen, James, Shane Battier and Bosh.
Four All-Stars and one of the league's toughest defenders. That scares me.
Wade, Allen and James are all capable of playing point guard, and Bosh is also capable of creating his own shot. There's really no need for Miami to bother with the old positions as they have so much talent now that they can simply field their best five players.
The Miami Heat roster last season was very top-heavy, with a significant drop-off in quality from starter to reserve.
This season, however, Miami has taken massive steps to altering that dynamic as the team went out and got Ray Allen and veteran forward Rashard Lewis, former teammates on the Seattle SuperSonics.
Allen and Lewis will be Miami's most important players coming off the bench as Allen is able to lead the second unit in scoring with his deadly three-point shots. He and Lewis can provide the leadership and determination for the bench unit that sometimes lacked direction last season and blew the leads built by the starters.
There's nothing more common in the NBA than teams failing to repeat as champions.
Since the second retirement of Michael Jordan, only the Los Angeles Lakers have repeated as NBA champions (on two separate occasions).
One of the toughest obstacles teams coming fresh off title victories is complacency.
The team feels like they are good enough to win again without putting in the hard work they did last time round. The team feels like they are already well ahead of the opposition and do not need to worry about giving full effort as the championship is already in the bag.
And the Heat have to be careful and avoid falling into this trap. This is again where Ray Allen's experience can be put to good use as he can help keep minds focused knowing how tough it is to repeat as NBA champions.
The Miami Heat only truly had Mike Miller as a three-point threat last season with the exception of Shane Battier's occasional hot streak.
The Heat struggled from outside all season and looked set to abandon the three-pointer altogether before they began organizing the solution.
This season, the Heat will be able to boast the NBA's all-time leader in three-point shots made. Ray Allen will were the black and red jersey and rain down from behind the arc.
The other offseason signing, Rashard Lewis, is a career 38.8 percent shooter from beyond the arc, and although he has not reached those heights for a few seasons, the veteran could be motivated by the chance to finally win an NBA championship and rediscover some of that form.
LeBron should also return to shooting the three, something which he went away from this past season as he became a more dominant to-the-rim scorer than outside threat.