LeBron James

Does any team in the NBA's Eastern Conference have a chance at beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat this season? (Bill Haber / Associated Press / October 23, 2013)


1. Miami

2012-13 finish: 66-16.

Coming: Michael Beasley, Greg Oden.

Going: Mike Miller, Juwan Howard.

The Heat propped up its three-peat hopes with two balky knees and a whiff of controversy. Oden has already encountered knee swelling in his bid to play for the first time since 2009, enshrouding his return in further doubt.

2. Indiana

2012-13 finish: 49-32.

Coming: Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson, Solomon Hill.

Going: Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, D.J. Augustin.

An offense that seemed stuck in molasses suddenly might be on the verge of warp speed with the return of former All-Star Danny Granger and an infusion of talent for the bench. Scola will annoy opponents with his floppy hair and his shooting (career field-goal percentage: .504), Watson is an upgrade at backup point guard and Copeland will stretch defenses with his three-point shooting.

3. Chicago

2012-13 finish: 45-37.

Coming: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Tony Snell.

Going: Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Richard Hamilton.

Bulls fans haven't been this excited about a comeback since Michael Jordan's business manager sent out a two-word fax: "I'm back." Derrick Rose looks plenty capable of carrying the hopes of a city on his surgically repaired knee, if several vintage preseason performances are any indication.

4. Brooklyn

2012-13 finish: 49-33.

Coming: Coach Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Mason Plumlee, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson.

Going: Coach P.J. Carlesimo, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, C.J. Watson.