10 Encouraging Signs for Miami Heat's 2012-13 Season

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10 Encouraging Signs for Miami Heat's 2012-13 Season
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Miami Heat come off the back of their title-winning 2011-12 season looking stronger than ever.

Finally free from the pressure of winning their first title together and with new additions at key positions, the Heat can look forward to defending their status as the NBA's best team.

It's no mean feat repeating as champions. Only the L.A. Lakers have done so since Jordan's second retirement in 1998. The last time the Heat hoisted the trophy (back in 2006), they lost their next season opener by 45 points and were swept in the first round of the playoffs.

This time around looks like a different prospect.

After winning in 2006, Miami effectively blew it up. Shaquille O'Neal was gone, and the Heat were waiting for free agents to give them a chance. Contrast that to this summer, when free agents were raring to jump onto the Miami roster and chase their own championship ring.

Along with this, the Heat can look around them and see other signs that their 2012-13 campaign may be just as rewarding as last season.

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