Offseason grades: Miami Wade's into 'A' territory

Offseason grades: Miami Wade's into 'A' territory
September 17, 2013, 9:45 am
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What is the Wizards biggest issue heading into training camp?

Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) and forward Jan Vesely (24)

(John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports)

Recently we have looked at a few grades various sites have handed out to the Wizards. Of course, context is everything. In other words, how are the other teams in the Southeast Division shaping up?

We started by analyzing NBA.com's look at the Wizards, and then moved south to Atlanta and Charlotte. Up next, Miami.

Heat, A: Were you expecting something else? The newly married LeBron James remains indestructible and just everyone returned. If anything, Miami might actually be better entering the 2013-14 campaign if its two risk-reward additions - Greg Oden and Michael Beasley - pan out even a little.

There is no bigger division lock next season than Miami running away with the Southeast. The Wizards, Magic and Bobcats improved this offseason and the Hawks remain in the playoff mix, but there is a better chance Wile E. Coyote catches the Roadrunner than any of those teams catch the Heat for the division crown. Washington has the advantage at point guard with John Wall trumping Mario Chalmers and the Wizards are now better equipped to handle Miami's small-ball lineup. Still, even Wall and company finish second in the division, which would be a major accomplishment, we're talking a distant second.

The Eastern Conference, that's a different story, especially if Derrick Rose plays at his previous MVP level, if the Nets various All-Stars gel, if the Pacers build on last season's conference runner-up finish. It will be a big deal locally when the Heat visit, but Miami's real season begins when the playoffs commence.

Miami's lowest graded area, it's bench, received a "B" yet the unit now deeper and younger with the new guys joining Shane Battier, Norris Cole and Chris "Birdman" Andersen. As for any possible title-wrecking concerns for the two-time defending champions, NBA.com correctly identifies Dwyane Wade's physical condition after a taxing season and Chris Bosh's mental condition after a brutal NBA Finals.

Either worry enough to make another team the NBA title favorite? Not unless overall conditions change dramatically in South Beach.

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