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Last year the Miami Heat were the top seed in the Eastern Conference. 

It wasn't an easy feat to accomplish but things will only get more difficult as they prepare to attempt to defend their crown. The Heat chose to keep mostly their current roster instead of upgrading. They also have yet to replace forward P.J. Tucker, who signed with the Philadelphia 76ers during free agency. 

While the Heat are running it back with the same lineup, their competitors upgraded. The Boston Celtics, who defeated the Heat in the conference finals, added guard Malcolm Brogdon. After losing to the Heat in the second round, the Sixers' addition of Tucker should keep them in contention. 

The Milwaukee Bucks will be a full strength with the return of Khris Middleton and the Cleveland Cavaliers are improved after trading for Donovan Mitchell. 

“I think we have an opportunity for guys to step up and guys to play a different way even more,” Lowry said. “We can’t dwell on what happened in the past. This is a new year. Teams have gotten better. League has gotten better. Our conference has gotten better.”


Heat complete roster with Dru Smith signing. CLICK HERE

Two Heat players crack ESPN's 100. CLICK HERE

Heat to hold training camp in the Bahamas. CLICK HERE

For a look at some of the latest Heat apparel. CLICK HERE

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Shandel Richardson is the Miami Heat writer for Inside The Heat. He can also be read in the Sportsbook Review for gambling coverage from around the NBA.