However, if there is to be another team that makes it to the NBA’s biggest stage in the next 5 years, it’s going to have something to do with one of these 6 factors:
1. Dwight Howard
Let the trade talks begin once again. Howard could instantly make so many different teams a sudden championship front-runner. Orlando will probably play another cat-and-mouse game with their superstar as the 2012/2013 season begins but it’s highly unlikely Howard will be wearing Magic blue when the 2013/2014 season begins. Just think of how few dominant offensive big men the Heat had to play on their recent title run….yeah, no one comes to mind. I don’t think they’d like to see a matchup with Howard in May or June.
2. Deron Williams
There’s going to be a lot of money thrown in the superstar point guard’s direction this summer and it’s for a good reason. Williams could make a team like the Mavericks or Lakers an instant big-time threat to the Thunder’s Western Conference crown. If he stays in Brooklyn, some big moves would have to go down, but don’t rule out the difference a top-level point guard can make.
3. Derrick Rose and Company
Yeah, the Heat got a bit of a free pass on this one. The top seed in the East featured a deep roster led by one of the premier playmakers in the league and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t see them at full strength when things mattered most. But there are still some big questions as to Chicago’s full potential as of now, whether they need a more dominant frontcourt player than the inconsistent and docile Boozer, especially when paired with the offensively challenged Noah. At full strength this season, they may have been able to take down the Heat, but they may still be a trade away from really reaching their peak.