Updated: February 1, 2013, 6:07 PM ET

5-on-5 Roundtable: Filling In The Blanks


1. The Miami Heat are __________.

Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: Counting down the days until April. If there is any team with a legitimate on/off switch, it's the Heat. The team has the fourth-best record in the league, but it feels like a disappointment. But when the playoffs arrive -- when the team will be able to devise team-specific strategies and matchups -- we'll start seeing the genius of last season reemerge.

Aaron McGuire, Gothic Ginobili: Coasting. Some defending champions emerge from their championship primed to obliterate the league in their title defense. Miami is emphatically not one such team; they prefer the Phil Jackson route. Of course, it barely matters. They're still great enough to take half the nights off and stay healthily atop a poor Eastern Conference. Still coasting, though.

Benjamin Polk, A Wolf Among Wolves: Biding their time. The season is long; the Eastern Conference is soft; the champs know this. As these Heat jaunt through the playoffs, I would not be the least bit surprised to see their defense slowly become the suffocation machine that it was last season.

Jared Wade, 8 Points, 9 Seconds: The only team in the East worth taking seriously. The Knicks were great early, the Nets have been riding a wave since they canned Avery Johnson, the Pacers have a world-class defense, and the Bulls could beat anyone if Derrick Rose comes back healthy. But all these "contenders" are a clear tier below the reigning champs.

Michael Wallace, ESPN.com: Right on schedule. What other team that has been in first place in either conference this season has been as criticized as the Heat? Yes, the defending champs will have bouts of boredom, stints of less-than-stellar play and a few mind-boggling losses. But as long as they remain relatively healthy through the rigorous regular season, they're fine.

Read the full discussion here

Andre Drummond The Next Shaq?

By Kevin Pelton
ESPN Insider

Andre Drummond put up 18 points and 18 rebounds in just 28 minutes on Tuesday, the latest in a series of big stat lines in short minutes for the 19-year-old rookie. Pistons fans, enduring what looks like a fourth straight season without De-troit Bas-ket-ball in the postseason, are clamoring to see more of the prodigiously talented young center -- and to make their case, they point to his stats.

Read the full column here


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