NBA Preseason 2012: Teams with Most to Prove This Season
As we get set for the 2012-2013 NBA campaign, there has been some movement throughout the league that should make things mighty interesting.
The Miami Heat, complete with Ray Allen, are gunning for their second straight title, while several playoff contenders are preparing to knock them off of their pedestal.
Which teams are under the most pressure to perform this season?
Here's a look at them.
With a revamped roster, there are big expectations for the Nets this season.
Perhaps too big.
Yes, they brought in Joe Johnson to pair up with Deron Williams in the backcourt, but it's hard for me to imagine this team being that much better.
Brooklyn will be expecting playoffs, but I think it will take at least one season for the team to gel together and be a viable threat in the Eastern Conference.
After one season together, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are looking to put away a disappointing postseason and look ahead to challenging the Lakers for the Pacific Division title.
They brought in Grant Hill and Lamar Odom, hoping to add some depth to the team, but will they seriously be able to compete with the Lakers in the division?
The defense obviously needs to get better if they have a shot of doing so.
Los Angeles knows what it has with Howard (simply, the best center in the league), but will he be able to fit into the offense alongside Bryant?
The Lakers obviously have the ingredients to make a strong run at the championship, but team chemistry will be something to watch for throughout the season.
New York Knicks
Will Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire be able to co-exist and will Stoudemire show up for the postseason?
That is still the determining factor for this team's success, despite the few complementary pieces it has added in the offseason.
The lights are always harsh on this Knicks team, but they have to find a way to get it together because after losing Jeremy Lin in the summer, the city of New York will revolt if they don't.
You would think George Karl is under the gun after trading away Carmelo Anthony and Nenê.
His philosophy has always been to create depth and focus on a team-first approach, but the Nuggets have gotten knocked out of the first round of the playoffs six of the seven years he's been coach and last season was no different.
Karl has clearly been given room to operate throughout the years, so if the team doesn't excel, part of the blame has to fall on his shoulders.
The Nuggets acquired Andre Iguodala in the offseason, so that should help the defense, but will it be enough to make a strong push in the playoffs?
Karl better hope so.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been together for four seasons now and the Thunder lost the NBA Finals in five games last season.
This is still a young team, but the Miami Heat aren't exactly getting any worse after the signing of Ray Allen in the offseason. The potential for the Heat to become a dynasty is very real.
Do the Thunder have what it takes to take home a championship, or will their collective dream never be realized?
I'll say this: Losing in just five games in the NBA Finals last season wasn't what many people expected.
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