It comes as no surprise that Sportsbook.com installed the Miami Heat as the favorites to win the championship at 1.8 to 1. They were the winners of the free-agent season by keeping Dwyane Wade, signing Chris Bosh, and bringing LeBron James to Miami. “Miami Thrice” automatically vaulted to the top of the odds makers list as the team to beat in the NBA.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost LeBron James and owner Dan Gilbert issued a statement berating James and announcing that the Cavs would win a NBA championship before the Heat. Players Only.com disagreed, as they placed the Cavs as 100-1 long shots to win a championship next season.
With all the hype surrounding the Miami Heat in the off season it is easy to forget that there are other teams in the NBA that are very capable of winning a championship.
Here are the top five teams that can beat the Heat and win a NBA Championship in 2010-2011.
The Lakers have to feel disrespected with the way this offseason has unfolded. They won a championship, but once Game Seven ended all of the focus and attention went to LeBron James. The Lakers signed Steve Blake as a free agent, and if they can bring back Derrick Fisher they will have all the parts from the championship team intact. The Lakers would love nothing more than to win a championship over the new “Super Team” in Miami.
The Celtics are the defending Eastern Conference champions, and as Doc Rivers will point out, when the starting five are healthy they have never lost a playoff series. Doc is back at head coach and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen signed on at home-town discounts just to chase another title. Danny Ainge brought in Jermane O’Neal as a free agent and he will provide size down low until Kendrick Perkins can return from injury. There is no reason to believe that the Celtics cannot make another run for the title.
The Magic are one of the best teams in the east and don’t expect them to role over to the new big team in Florida. Dwight Howard will still be the anchor of this team and they have one of the best perimeter games in the NBA. It will be curious to see if they match the offer for J.J. Reddick but regardless they should be a title contender in the East.
In an article about winners and loser of the free agent summer , I called the Bulls losers since they did not get James or Wade. However, they are recovering quite nicely. They brought in Carlos Boozer for size and Kyle Korver for an outside shooting presence. They offered a contract to J.J. Reddick, and if Orlando does not match it the Bulls will compete for a title. The Bulls would love to knock the Heat out of the playoffs and make James and Wade regret going to Miami.
Many people forget that the Spurs have a “big three” of their own that likes to win championships. It will be announced shortly that Tiago Splitter will be signed by the Spurs and brought over from Europe. Splitter is one of the best players in European basketball this season and will give the Spurs more size and versatility down low. The Spurs will be in title contention all year long and have a shot at winning it all in 2010-2011.
The Miami Heat have been over-hyped since they announced LeBron James would join Wade and Bosh, but they still have a long way to go before they are ready to win an NBA Championship.