The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers aren't as scary as they used to be to a team like the Miami Heat. Sorry to break it to those teams overzealous fan bases, but they're just not to a team as athletic and youthful as the Heat. A 33 year old Kobe Bryant and a Lakers team that's coming off of an incredibly disappointing end to their 2011 post season run just doesn't carry the same fear that they previously instilled in their opponents.
As for the Celtics, we saw how they matched-up with the Heat in last years post season. Boston may have the deeper and more well-rounded team, but they can't keep up with Miami for 48 minutes. The Heat were able to win so many fourth quarters against Boston in their five game series win because of how worn out the Celtics were by the start of the fourth quarter from having to chase Wade and James on the offensive end, while also having to deal with them on defense.
For those that want to say Rajon Rondo's injury greatly affected the outcome: he couldn't shoot before and a shoulder injury doesn't carry that much of an impact on a pass first point guard.
Instead of veteran teams like the Celtics and Lakers, the Heat should be worried about these new crop of young, up and coming teams that are popping up across the league. Perhaps their biggest worry should be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who sport an unbelievable starting lineup with threats at every position and a deep bench littered with defenders and perimeter threats.
Aside from having prolific scorers in Durant and Westbrook, perimeter threats in James Harden and Daequan Cook, and defensive specialists in Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka, they also sport a possible Heat kryptonite in center Kendrick Perkins who has a long history with James and Wade when he was a member of the Celtics. Perkins adds a lot of size and physicality in the middle, which means a lot to any team that wants to end the driving of the league's two most prolific slashers.
One of the latest teams to be added to this short list is the New York Knicks. After dropping out of the race for Chris Paul, the team decided to set their sights on creating a solid all-around roster by adding center Tyson Chandler to the equation. The former Dallas Maverick was a driving force in the teams title win last year as he helped bring about a defensive philosophy that no Maverick team had ever seen before.
Trust me, it's no coincidence that the team won a championship in the one year he was there. Chandler is one of the smartest defenders in the game and proves that with his stellar lateral quickness and timing and awareness on deterring shots in the middle.
Adding Chandler helps bring about a defensive philosophy that a team like the Knicks could greatly use. The two biggest stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have shown little concern for playing defense in the past and adding Chandler might just have his influence rub off on his two superstars teammates.
The Knicks need defensive stoppers if they want to beat a team like the Heat and they made the right move by signing an elite post presence in Tyson.