5 Teams Miami Heat Should Worry About

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The Miami Heat's Enemies

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Let's just say the Miami Heat aren't exactly in championship form, yet. I mean, it was a busy offseason in South Beach with LeBron James getting married, Dwyane Wade undergoing treatment on his troubled knees and some new faces joining the squad.

Yeah, it wasn't the quiet summer the champs had hoped for or needed, but there is still more than enough time to dial it in and get it right.

It has been a season of highs and lows for Miami and the new NBA year isn't even a month old. Players have been in and out of the lineup with each member if the "Big 3" missing a game, the defense has looked better and Michael Beasley continues his redemption journey.

Wow, with only eight games in the books, there sure has been plenty to talk about in Florida. Since everything has been dissected and discussed, why not make some early picks for Miami's biggest threats.

Don't forget the season is incredibly young and teams are still on their honeymoons with their offseason acquisitions, but I can still offer my hypothesis on who will give the Heat the hardest time.

A couple of my picks are currently struggling in the early going and underwent big changes over the summer. Believe me, the pieces are there and the chemistry is developing.

As for the Heat, there aren't many excuses they can use. This is the fourth season of the "Big 3" era and there have been minimal changes to the roster and staff during that time. Basically, the only scapegoat the champs can use is "it's a long season."

Anyway, without further ado, here are my five teams that pose the biggest threat to the Heat and some may surprise you

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for RantSports.com Follow him on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Houston Rockets

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It has been a learning experience for the Houston Rockets as the organization continues to move in the right direction. Far removed from the let down duo of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, the Rockets now have a new pair.

James Harden and Dwight Howard could return the Texas team to NBA prominence as analysts everywhere have high hopes for this new duo. If Jeremy Lin can play well, Houston might have its own "Big 3."

Miami does not have a player to match up against Howard and rebounding continues to plague the champs. If Howard can stash away his ego and show some maturity, the Rockets could be a top five team in the league and even win the West.

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Brooklyn Nets

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Besides a victory over the Heat, it hasn't been the start the Brooklyn Nets expected, especially after all the offseason moves they made.

I am actually somewhat fearful of the Nets because their lineup is huge. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez give Brooklyn great height and length at every position, not to mention the deep bench they have.

Time is what Brooklyn needs to build chemistry and I believe they are a top three team in the East. Plenty of experience on this squad and Miami may have to go through Brooklyn on its way to a three-peat.

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Oklahoma City Thunder

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It wasn't too long ago the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Heat in the finals. The biggest problem then was lack of experience. A couple of years later, they continue to be a top tier team in the West.

There are plenty of weapons on this squad, but I don't know if they mesh well together. If Russel Westbrook can be more of a point guard and Kevin Durant can do more than score, this will be a fast-paced team to deal with.

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San Antonio Spurs

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For a decade and a half the San Antonio Spurs have been a dominant force in the Association. Last time I checked, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are still there and Gregg Popovich is still in charge.

There's really not much to say here besides the Spurs are always a contender and they almost toppled Miami last season. It wouldn't surprise me if we had a rematch of the 2013 Finals in 2014.

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Indiana Pacers

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The Indiana Pacers are even scarier than last season, when they took the Heat all the way to the edge of destruction. The Pacers have started this season 8-0 as Paul George has emerged as an elite player and Roy Hibbert continues to dominate inside.

One more important fact, Danny Granger still has not played this season and did not play against Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals. That is a stomach churning thought for Heat fans.

The Pacers are by far the biggest threat to Miami with a strong backcourt and a towering frontcourt. A new rivalry is brewing in the East and it will be fun to watch.

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