The start of training camp is only six weeks away, with many players returning to their team practice facilities the week after Labor Day to participate in "informals" (small group workouts and glorified pickup runs). Most teams have a clear idea of who their personnel will be and expectations have been set internally, but there's always a level of uncertainty entering camp, burning questions that each team must ask itself, the answers to which usually hold a key indicator to the level of success that will be achieved this season.
Each day, we'll tackle a different division in the Eastern Conference and answer burning questions for every team. Today, we start with the Southeast Division.
1. Were the Miami Heat's weaknesses exposed or are they even better?
An easy way to look at the evolution of the Heat and their roster is the cliché "what does not kill you makes you stronger." The San Antonio Spurs would have won the NBA championship were it not for Ray Allen's corner 3-pointer -- a product of the Spurs' "leave them open" defensive strategy. LeBron James finally figured out the proper mindset and came through in Game 7.
It's fair to assume more teams will mimic the Spurs' style -- I wrote about this last week -- just as it's fair to guess Miami's players understand what the rest of the league will try to do and worked on their jump shots all summer. If that is the case, each player will return with a fresh reference point of his value, and each will have a mountain of experience in attacking that soft defensive plan come the 2013-14 postseason. For the two-time defending champs, there remains one big question -- a big, 7-foot-tall question.