5 NBA 'Big Threes' That Can Steal the Miami Heat's Spotlight in 2013-14
Teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden (now with the Rockets), and the San Antonio Spurs, with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, have tried to steal the spotlight, but to no avail.
There are even more teams this season looking to steal LeBron James and Co.'s spotlight. From the Golden State Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets, a number of teams have their eyes set on the "best Big Three" title.
So what does it take to be the NBA's best Big Three? As the saying goes, to be the best, you have to beat the best.
That applies here, and the following teams are the top five that have a chance at beating the Heat and keeping them from not only their third straight title, but also their lofty position of having the league's top Big Three.
Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons
If there are two things NBA fans love, they are scoring and more scoring.
Explosive offense is what makes the NBA so exciting to watch these days, and there's no doubt that the Rockets have one of the most high-powered offenses in the game. Fans also love "star power," and with Dwight Howard bringing his drama to Houston, fans will get much more of that.
James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard make up the Rockets' Big Three, and one thing they are certainly going to do next season is put up lots and lots of shots. Last season, all three players combined to put up 40.2 shots per game.
That will only increase next season with Howard opening up more space for Harden and Parsons, as well as cleaning up the glass on the offensive side of the ball.
While I'd like to think that Howard's "Dwightmare" is over, there's a high likelihood some sort of drama will find its way into Houston. That will only enhance the amount of attention Houston gets next season, and that could set the stage for some serious excitement for the Rockets.
Expectations for Houston are sky-high, and if its Big Three lives up to those expectations, it could give the Heat's Big Three a run for its money.
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett
The Brooklyn Nets clearly aren't focused on long-term success and planning. They want to win, and they want to win right now.
Adding Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry proves that. Not only are they all near the end of illustrious careers, but the Nets also gave up a significant amount of their future to take a stab at the Heat's stranglehold on the Eastern Conference this next season.
When you add Deron Williams to the mix, it's clear the Nets have a solid Big Three, even if two of the three players only have a few good years left.
The Nets' Big Three has a legitimate shot at stealing the spotlight from the Heat mainly because of the experience and discipline that both Pierce and Garnett bring to the table.
Garnett could motivate a motivational speaker to be better; he's just that good. That's why the Nets' Big Three can be the best in the NBA in spite of its collective age.
Add Jason Kidd's first year coaching in the NBA to the equation, and you can see why the Nets are going to be fun to watch this upcoming season.
Golden State Warriors: Andre Iguodala/David Lee, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson
Even without Andre Iguodala, the Golden State Warriors have a Big Three that could rival the Heat's, consisting of David Lee, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
This is another case of offense being the major reason why the Heat's Big Three could lose the top spot.
You never know if Curry is going to go off for 20-plus in a quarter, or if Thompson is going to catch fire from beyond the arc. Throw in Iguodala's ability to get up the floor, and you get a glimpse at just how explosive the Warriors offense will be.
What the Warriors have that a number of other teams don't is four players who can really rotate in the "Big Three." With Lee, the Warriors have the luxury of truly having a Big Four, which is something the Heat don't have.
If you think about the Heat's Big Three matching up against the Warriors' Big Three, it's really a toss-up in terms of who would come out on top—especially if the matchup is Dwyane Wade vs. Curry, LeBron James vs. Iguodala and Chris Bosh vs. Lee.
One thing is for sure: When the Warriors and Heat match up next season, you'll certainly want to tune in, because the Warriors are going to be a serious contender.
Los Angeles Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
The Lakers are back, and they have Dwight Howard to thank for that.
There's no doubt the Lake Show is going to be back in full force next season, even without Howard and Metta World Peace.
That certainly depends a lot on when Kobe Bryant returns, but if he can return by the first or second month of the season, the Lakers will be in a good place to contend in the West.
Without Howard in the paint and forcing his style of play in Mike D'Antoni's offense, guys like Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are going to dominate in the pick-and-roll game.
Chemistry is extremely important when it comes to taking down champions, and with an extra season for Nash and Gasol to develop, the Lakers have a solid shot at establishing the chemistry they need to succeed next year.
Kobe can build chemistry with anyone, as long as they are willing to fit into his style of game. Nash and Gasol are both mature enough to do that, which is something D12 wasn't willing to do.
Even with Kobe's recovery looming, the Lakers could fly under the radar and be a dark horse out west. It could even be the year we finally get to see a LeBron vs. Kobe NBA Finals, which is something any NBA fan would be excited about.
Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah
Rose will finally be back on the floor for the Bulls, and they will seriously be ready to compete in the East once again.
Whether you think Rose should've come back last year or not, there's no debating the fact that Chicago is going to be a much better and more dangerous team with him running the point.
The Bulls have one thing the Heat don't, and that's a serious frontcourt with discipline, intensity and passion. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer can dominate the Heat, as we saw last season. With Rose back, they can control the Heat on an even more consistent basis.
Of all of the teams with a Big Three, the Bulls have the most legitimate shot at dethroning the Heat because they've come so close before.
They don't have the "star power" the Heat have, because Noah and Deng aren't exactly stars, but if they can manage to help the Bulls become the top team in the East, the spotlight will be theirs.