While the Miami Thrice have had people talking about the Miami Heat all season, they may not even end up being a contender for the title. Although they’re sure to make it into the playoffs (not officially, but we are still talking about the Heat,) there are teams that are better and some that even though they aren’t, may just pack a surprise punch or two.
The smart money for the team that will take it all is on the Chicago Bulls. With only 11 losses this entire season, and 40 wins, they have proven that even without one of their best players they’re still an unstoppable team. Derrick Rose may be back for the playoffs, but with so many injuries this season, the Bulls can remain confident even if he’s taken out early.
The team most likely to give the Bulls a run for their money are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who only have one more loss and two fewer wins than the Bulls. That streak alone combined with the sheer talent of Derek Fisher, Kevin Durant, and Reggie Jackson are enough that the Bulls should be at least somewhat worried.
The Miami Heat come in just behind these two teams, which definitely puts them up as one of the best teams in the league, but they’ve still got competition on the road ahead. And with being just 3 points behind Chicago, the battle between these three might just come down to who’s the most exhausted from the shortened schedule, and who can handle the playoff pressure the best.
It’s not all about the East though. The Western Conference is going to have some teams that might just be up to the challenge of taking on some of the best. The Lakers will have a shot simply because they still boast Bryant as their best player; and the Dallas Mavericks are not only a good team this year, but are still coming off the high of winning the title last year. And who knows? In the NBA Finals anything can happen, and the Mavs may just emerge once again as the dark horse of the competition.