Much of the conversation and speculation regarding the Miami Heat’s bid for a third consecutive championship has centered around the team itself, on factors squarely within its control.
Is the defense good enough? Is the supporting cast ready to go? Is Dwyane Wade himself? After all those extra games, and all those extra miles, are they too tired to finish a three-peat?
This is important stuff, sure, but there’s another category of concern, another group of factors, that could just as easily thwart Miami: the other guys.
From the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Brooklyn Nets and the San Antonio Spurs, there are a handful of teams that want the 2014 Larry O’Brien Trophy just as badly as Miami and appear, at the moment, to have the raw materials necessary to wrest it away from LeBron James and company’s greedy, and bejeweled, hands.
It would take quite a pull, but here, in ascending order, are the five biggest threats to do exactly that.