Two years after three-time NBA MVP LeBron James controversially bailed on his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat — completing a presumptively teflon triumvirate of superstars with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — the all-star squad finally delivered on its promise, handily winning the 2012 NBA championship by dominating the younger Oklahoma City Thunder. "But this club wasn't built to win one championship," says Tom Ziller at SB Nation. "It was built to win multiple championships." Now that King James has his first ring, will he lead his team to a lengthy reign at the top?
The Heat will dominate for years to come: The Heat are poised for an impressive run, says Gregg Doyel at CBS Sports. The incredibly talented James has proven himself "the freakiest physical specimen in a league full of physical freaks, the Wilt Chamberlain of his generation." And he keeps getting better. Plus, his talent is rubbing off on lesser teammates — just look at how well Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier played in the finals. While James has always made his teammates better, "now he makes them a lot better." That trend will help the Heat win "again next year. And the next. And…"
"With unstoppable LeBron making teammates better, Heat may continue reign"
But don't discount the Thunder: The Heat will certainly be back in the finals next year, says Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press. But the Thunder are sure to be back again, too, setting up a great rivalry that could last for years to come. Next year, "James gets to see how it feels to defend a title and [Thunder star Kevin] Durant inherits his role as the best player without one." Both squads could deservedly lay claim to be next year's early favorite: The Heat's lineup is proving surprisingly deeper than the "All-Star trio," while the Thunder's Durant and Russell Westbrook are becoming an (almost) unbeatable duo in their own right.
"A short NBA finals, and perhaps a lengthy rivalry"
Come on. The Heat aren't next year's favorites: The Heat "have a lot going against them heading into next season," says Matt Shetler at Bleacher Report. We've had only one repeat champion in the past 10 years: The L.A. Lakers. And for Miami, Dwyane Wade is looking increasingly unreliable as a No. 2 to James. He's getting older and his body is clearly suffering. Because of the salary cap, Miami won't sign any big names in the offseason, and it's still questionable whether Battier, Mike Miller, and Udonis Haslem can repeat their postseason success next year.
"NBA Finals 2012: Why LeBron and Miami Heat won't be title favorites next year"