Saturday, October 17, 2009

NBA Eastern Conference Preview

For years, people have talked about how much better the West than the East and since Jordan retired, they have been right. However, from top to bottom, the East is full of teams that are going to surprise people this year. If there is a team that is going to beat the Lakers, it will be from the East.

Cleveland Cavaliers- You will hear a lot of talk about whether LeBron will leave at the end of the season or not. Let me stop all of this-he's not going anywhere. LeBron might want to be in a bigger market, but competing for a ring is more important and he knows how close they are. With Shaq adding an inside force, there is no reason that the Cavs shouldn't be in the NBA Finals this year.

Boston Celtics- In the playoffs, Rajon Rondo really developed into a key contributor on the team. If he can be that player without the drama that he causes, that could be a huge factor in their success. I don't really like them adding Rasheed Wallace because I think his act is getting old and I don't know if he brings enough to the table to be worth it. That being said, if Garnett is healthy with Paul Pierce, they still have a ridiculously amount of talent.

Orlando Magic- There will be a lot of people saying that the Magic will be better with Vince Carter than with Hedo Turkoglu...they are wrong. Orlando was so good last year because they were a matchup nightmare. Having two 6'11" players that play on the perimeter was something no team could figure out how to play. Carter is still good, but doesn't create matchup problems. Howard and Nelson are good enough to get this team 50 wins or so, but not anything like last year.

Washington Wizards- I have them a little higher than most, but the depth the team has makes me think they could be back. Granted, Gilbert needs to be healthy and stay that way, but besides him, the Wizards can get through any injury. I think new coach Flip Saunders will turn Caron Butler into a Tayshaun Prince-like defender and have him not worry about scoring because trust me, this team will have no problems scoring.

Atlanta Hawks- Hawks' fans finally have a team that they can not be ashamed to root for. Coming off a season where they finished fourth in the conference and made some noise in the playoffs, Atlanta is even better. Young guys like Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams are a year older, and adding vets Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith will help the team mature faster.

Toronto Raptors- I was VERY high on this team last year for apparently no reaon because they sucked. However, I'm gonna still go on a limb and say they are looking good. Getting Turkoglu was a big boost for them because with him and Bargnani, the Raptors could pose the same matchup issues Orlando made last year.

Question Marks
Chicago Bulls- Derrick Rose is no longer a rookie and Luol Deng is healthy again; that by itself gets them into the playoffs. Not only do they have that, but with rookies Tau Gibson and James Johnson, this team will surprise teams.

Detroit Pistons- Joe Dumars is a great GM, but boy did he blow the Billups trade. I know it was mostly for cap space (that got them Ben Gordon), but it was a mistake. This team still has talent with Jason Maxiell and Prince, and Rodney Stuckey (my pick for most improved player) so plan on seeing them in the playoffs, but not for more than a week or so
Philadelphia 76ers- Year after year, want to say that this is the year Andre Iguodala breaks out and has a big year, so I have given up on that. Instead, I'll concede that he's just an above average player who people wanted to call A.I.

Mediocrity Deserves Applause Too
Miami Heat- If Dwayne Wade sees the same thing I do, there is no way he resigns here. The only other weapon on the team is an obviously troubled Michael Beasley and nothing else. Wade might be good enough to get Miami into the playoffs by himself, but there is just nothing else there.

Charlotte Bobcats- Michael Jordan is a worst at being a GM than he was at being a baseball player...and that's saying something. There is no superstar here, just a few good pieces that might be good if put around any legitimate point scorer.

Indiana Pacers- Danny Granger is by far the best player you have never heard of. He is probably going o score close t 30 points per game, but like Wade, he's got nothing around him. Until the Pacers help him out, he will continue to be "the best layer you've never heard of," which isn't a good title to have.

New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and Milwaukee Bucks- I'm not even gonna talk about the Bucks because they actually might be in the NBDL, I don't know. Now, the Nets and the Knicks are this bad because they have been freeing cap space for the last three years to get LeBron. The tragedy in this is that neither will get him and they wasted three years where the East wasn't good.

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