NBA News: Udonis Haslem Says Heat Ready to Defend Title

The Miami Heat have not made as much noise this off-season as the Los Angles Lakers did, but the men in South Beach are still the favorites heading into the 2012-13 season. Unlike the Lakers, this Heat team has figured out a way to win a championship and their team chemistry should not be a problem this upcoming campaign.

Heat veteran Udonis Haslem has been apart of two Heat championship teams, one in 2006 and another in 2012. Haslem understands just how hard it is for a team to defend a title and he is focused on raising the trophy once again.

The Heat were embarrassed in 2007, when they were swept by the Chicago Bulls in the first round and their chances for a repeat ended very early.

Haslem spoke to the Miami Herald and said the Heat will be much more focused on repeating as champions.

 “I swear, after the game, I was talking to Pat about next year already,’ Haslem said. ‘We were just brainstorming and thinking of ways of coming back better and doing what we need to do.”

“I don’t think with the ’06 team we really understood what mindset we had to come in with as returning champions. I think now we understand what our mindset has to be,” he said, “because the level of expectation has been raised a notch, and we understand that.”

Unlike the Lakers, the Miami Heat did not acquire players that require a playbook change in order for them to be effective. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are complimentary players at this stage of their careers, and the Heat’s three main stars are still the same.

As for the Lakers, they added two new stars and the coaching staff will have to change their playbook in order to assimilate them into the team. Steve Nash and Dwight Howard need special attention this upcoming season, and thus chemistry may become an issue. When a franchise goes through a face-lift, there will also be questions of camaraderie  and cohesion.

So although the Lakers are the most talented team on paper, the Miami Heat know what it takes to win the title and should be considered the favorites.

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In case you missed it – Dwight Howard talks about starting over in Los Angeles:
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