Without big off season trades, the Miami Heat have managed to fly under the radar, but still remain to being one of the favorites heading into the upcoming 2012-12 NBA season as they look to defend their title.
Heat veteran Udonis Haslem has been a part of two Heat championships, one in 2006 and another recently in 2012. Haslem understands how difficult it is for a team to defend a title, but says he focused on raising the trophy once again.
"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."
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.
Unlike in 2007, the Heat now have a team in place that could possibly win multiple championships for many years to follow.
With the 'Big Three' of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh still in place as the leaders of the group, and with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis brought on to compliment the stars, the Heat's chances for a repeat seem pretty good.