Can LeBron complete the three-peat?

Will LeBron rise to the occasion and bring home another title, or crumble under the pressue?

Will LeBron rise to the occasion and bring home another title, or crumble under the pressue?

Four-time MVP and back-to-back NBA Champion LeBron James is on top of the world. Since coming to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010, LeBron and the Heat have made it to three straight NBA Finals, capturing two. He is the first person since Michael Jordan to win two straight Championships while also capturing the MVP in both seasons. He is widely heralded as the best player in the world, but this season will be one to define his career.

There hasn’t been a three-peat in over ten years, and it is one of the toughest tasks in sports. Twelve teams have managed to win back to back titles, but of those twelve, just five have managed to win a third in a row. The question is: are LeBron and the Heat capable of doing the same?

The Heat will be a huge favorite coming into the season and those who don’t follow the NBA closely would be shocked to not see them take home the title again. Those who follow the NBA closely know that the Heat’s road to another championship is no easy one.

This year will be surrounded by the question of whether or not LeBron will opt out of his contract at season’s end and become a free agent. It is unclear whether he will choose that road again, or sign a long-term extension with the Heat. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh also have the option of becoming free agents, and many question whether the Heat will be able to keep the Big Three together with the restrictions of the new hard salary cap.

The Heat will also be tasked with going through a much tougher Eastern Conference than they did in the past. The Bulls will be strengthened by the return of superstar Derrick Rose. The Nets have become a major contender with the addition of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and the Pacers will be back with another year of experience under their belt. The Heat are capable of beating all of these teams, but one injury could change the whole dynamic of the playoffs.

The debate of whether or not the Heat can three-peat always ends up boiling down to one deciding factor: LeBron James. LeBron can single handedly take a team to the top and last year he seemed to erase all doubts of whether or not he was “clutch”. He is arguably the best defender in the league and obviously one of the best offensive players in the league, but still some question his ability to win a third championship.

I honestly don’t see any flaws in LeBron’s game that would lead me to believe he can’t win a third straight, but there are some questions with his supporting cast.

Can Dwayne Wade stay healthy all season and play up to his potential, or will he be a shell of his former self as he was in last year’s playoff? Will Chris Bosh continue to defer to LeBron and D-Wade, or will he finally play like he did back when he was in Toronto? Will there be enough shooters to space the floor, while also having a solid defensive center to defend the paint?

I think that if the Heat can find the answer to these questions, there shouldn’t be any doubt that they take home a third straight title.