The Miami Heat fought off various obstacles, both internal and external, to claim their second championship in a row. Vegas has them as the odds on favorite to three-peat as champions, but they will face perhaps their toughest challenge yet.
There’s a reason these teams don’t do it,” TNT analyst Steve Kerr said. “Emotionally, it’s just exhausting to keep doing it year after year, particularly when you have to deal with everything Miami has to deal with on a daily basis, just the constant critiquing and scrutiny on the team, and then you factor in the injuries with Wade and Bosh and their health. I don’t think Miami will get out of the East this year….
“I just feel like it’s all sort of teed up for Chicago with Rose coming back, guys like Noah and [Taj] Gibson entering their prime,” Kerr said. “I think Chicago will have something special this year.”
Competition is heavily weighted at the top of the Eastern Conference with the defending champs, plus the Pacers who took them to 7 games and added C.J. Watson, and Luis Scola, and the Bulls regaining one of the best players in the league in Derrick Rose. There is also the revamped Nets team with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, and the Knicks squad who finished second in the regular season out East.
Kerr understands what it takes to maintain sustained excellence for a three-peat - and he also has two additional rings from his time with the Spurs - but he could be showing some bias here. If you ask me, the team that wins the East during the regular season is the team that will emerge from that side of the playoff bracket, as it will be too difficult to win two rounds against the top teams (currently predicted as the Heat, Bulls, and Pacers.)