Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eastern Conference Predictions

With the season starting in less than a day now, here's a look at how the now competitive Eastern side just might finish out. Teams ranked 1 through 8 indicate playoff position.

1) Chicago Bulls - A strong, and very talented group all around. They'll be in the Finals, but runner-ups to the fast and high scoring Phoenix Suns.
2) Cleveland Cavaliers - Last year's Finals runner ups, Lebron will be hungry to get his team there again, but will fall short with tougher competition in the East this year.
3) Boston Celtics - Will the first season for the "Big 3" spell a championship? It will most likely take a year to develop, but they'll be battling for the top spot at the end of the year.
4) Detroit Pistons - This team has held together many of its key contributors for years now including Billups, Wallace (Sheed) and Rip Hamilton. However just like Hamilton's name, the team may become RIP should they not produce come playoff time
5) Miami Heat - Wade should be back to prime form and now he has the scoring services of Ricky Davis to complement him. However, Shaq is aging and they have lost many key components of their title squad.
6) Orlando Magic - Could be the surprise team of the East in the regular season and playoffs. Mr. D Howard is becoming a force to be reckoned with and now has outside weapons such as Rashard Lewis. Watch out.
7) Washington Wizards - It's tough to rank a team with their caliber this low, but the East is so strong, other teams just rank better. Still, Butler should have a career season, and Gilbert will continue to be magical.
8) New Jersey Nets - The combination of Kidd, Jefferson and Carter along with great bench production from Antoine Wright, Jamal Magloire, Josh Boone and Marcus Williams should make for a decent season. Unfortunately, decent won't get it done in the East.
9) Charlotte Bobcats - Going out on a major limb here in saying the Bobcats will be this season's sleeper team, edging out the New York Knicks even, but barely making the playoffs. The addition of Jason Richardson to an already talented young team, makes for some fun up tempo ball.
10)Toronto Raptors - Will barely miss the playoffs in a down to the wire battle with Charlotte this season. Still, they are going to be one of the top teams during the next several years in the East backed by superstar Chris Bosh.
11) New York Knicks - No hating here, they made a great move to bring Zach Randolph to the team. However the team still has an identity crisis. Who's the go to guy? Curry, Randolph, Crawford, Marbury? Stay tuned.
12) Indiana Pacers - It's a highly competitive East and it's hard to imagine that what Indiana will be putting on the court can outdo teams with Howard, Garnett, Shaq , Wallace and Bosh.
13) Atlanta Hawks - Some analysts have penciled them in as a playoff team. They may have talent but I just can't see Josh Smith and company being able to outdo the teams above this spot.
14) Milwaukee Bucks - You've got to feel for Michael Redd, an all out scoring machine who puts up consistent numbers. However they have signed a big man similar to Yao, named Yi, who will be struggling to produce numbers in the new league he's in. Bogut is also considered a semi-disappointment as of right now.
15) Philadelphia 76ers - Iguodola and Korver can shoot and score, but they're far from AI or Chris Webber. Andre Miller provides a decent, consistent point guard to run the little bit of show they have on display in Philly.

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