The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills for Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the association.
Question: Are the Miami Heat really the team to beat in the East?
BROUSSARD: I really like what the Boston Celtics did this past summer to strengthen their bench, and it's a good assumption that Rajon Rondo's improvement will continue. That said, I'm still picking the Miami Heat to win the East.
BUCHER: The hype about Miami is off the charts, so I can understand why anyone would be sucked into the South Beach vortex. But when we get back to the elements that actually win titles, the Celtics will loom over everyone again, as they have for the past three years. No doubt every team wants to beat the Heat -- badly. But that's not because they're considered the most invincible; it's because they, like you, are acting as if they're the team to beat. It's a bit obnoxious, particularly considering what LeBron James and Chris Bosh did -- or didn't do -- the last time we saw them in meaningful games.
It's pretty simple: The Celtics retained the nucleus that went to the wire with the defending champions and added depth and versatility to their bench. The rest of the Eastern Conference sees the Heat's title-contending ability right now as a possibility. The Celtics' championship worthiness is fact.