no doubt about it: the Miami Heat are the heavy favorites to defend
their crown and win the Eastern Conference in the 2012/13 season.
LeBron James finally got the ring he deserved, combining with Dwyane
Wade and Chris Bosh to bring the trophy back to South Beach.
But Pat Riley wasn't satisfied, addressing some roster needs and making
a few nice moves over the offeseason. The highlight was the signing of
free agent Ray Allen from the Boston Celtics. Allen is arguably the
best shooter of all-time and should get plenty of open looks in Miami.
It's a great fit.
The Heat also got Rashard Lewis, another veteran body who should get some minutes off the bench.
Miami is the clear front-runner, but Boston, Indiana
and Chicago (assuming Derrick Rose returns and is fully functional)
The Celtics lost Allen, but got a direct replacement in Jason Terry
from the Dallas Mavericks. They will also have Avery Bradley, Jeff
Green and Chris Wilcox back healthy and they also managed to grab
Courtney Lee in free agency. With Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul
Pierce still in Beantown, the Celtics should be Miami's main competitor
this season and could be profitable in the NBA picks when it comes to sports betting.
Indiana has a nice mix of youth and experience, but lack the star power
that carried the Heat to the title. What will change from last
season to make the Pacers a legitimate contender?
For Chicago, the season rests on Rose's health. He's
expected to miss a large chunk of the regular season and there are
questions on whether or not he'll ever be able to regain his full
If Rose makes a speedy and full recovery, the Bulls will be right there
again. They have some great pieces like Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer,
Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton and should once again be one of the best
defensive teams in the NBA.
Other teams that could make some noise in the East would be the
revamped Brooklyn Nets, as well as the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks
and Philadelphia 76ers.