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Eastern Conference Season Preview

With the NBA season quickly coming upon us, it is up to every sports writer to offer his or her expert opinion on what exactly will come of the 2006-2007 season. Their answer? They have no idea. The Heat retain all the same players from the team that defeated the Mavericks in 6 games a year ago, but they also are one of the oldest teams in the league. Teams such as the Bucks, Bulls, Clippers, and Grizzlies are being questioned whether or not their “promising” youth can lead them further into the playoffs. On the other side are teams like the Cavaliers, Suns, Nets, and Mavericks; teams that have been hanging around the past few years around the entrance to the NBA Finals, only to be turned down like the dorky kid at a dance. And before I go on and mention every NBA team, let us not forget about the talented but chemistry lacking squads such as the Knicks, Blazers, and Raptors. All your questions will be answered, starting with the Eastern Conference:

  1. Chicago Bulls- Why number one? Ben Wallace. Stick Big Ben where the underachieving Chandler once was, combined with some of the best guards on any team, and you have yourself a complete squad. If Tyrus Thomas can have the immediate impact that all of Chicago is hoping he will, the Bulls could win it all.
  2. Miami Heat- The only reason the Heat are above the Pistons is because of Wade, not Shaq. O’Neil is clearly aging and nowhere near what he was only a few years ago. Why below the Bulls? Over half their team is pushing 30, or about to be a grandpa.
  3. Detroit Pistons- Just because they’re number three on my list doesn’t mean they couldn’t reach the Finals for the third time in four years. Much like the Heat, they return every main player but Ben Wallace to a team that is only a year removed from the conference finals. They won’t miss a beat.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs really didn’t earn this spot, they got it by default. it just so happens no one else in the Eastern Conference is all that good, aside from a very weak argument considering the New Jersey Nets. Besides, are you really about to bet against King James NOW?
  5. New Jersey Nets- Jason Kidd wants to win a title so badly it hurts. His knees, literally. He has waited for the Nets management to assemble him a squad worthy to call his own team, and they finally have. However, that team will only reach its full potential once Kidd is retired. The Nets will be good, but they still don’t have the inside presence to bump with the top 4 teams.
  6. Washington Wizards- This team really loves to shoot the ball. With guys like Arenas and Jamison, who wouldn’t? I will stand by this: No team coached by Eddie Jordan will ever win a title, much less make it to a title game. This is a talented team, but no defense in addition to poor coaching equals minimal success. I’m sorry Gilbert. We loved you so.
  7. Milwaukee Bucks- Expect Bogut and the Bucks to gradually improve on last season’s ending. Getting one win in their playoff series with Detroit will prove to mean alot more than we all thought. The Bucks will be a tough team in less than three years.
  8. Orland Magic- If Jameer Nelson and Co. can continue their rapid development, as well as get some needed perimiter help from J.J Redick, they could push the Pacers for the final playoff spot.
  9. Indiana Pacers- Any team with a front court featuring Jermaine O’Neil and Al Harrington should be feared. However, if their point guard is still Jamal Tinsley come the middle of the season, look out.
  10. Philadelphia 76ers- The Sixers really shouldn’t even get a ranking. They did nothing to get better, and they still have two of the biggest ball hogs in the game. However, if both AI’s can do what they do best at a consistent level, this team will be hanging around teasing us near the end like they always do.
  11. Boston Celtics- You have a solid point guard making good progression in Delonte West. You should feel pretty good about your team’s future, right? Well, apparently the Celtics don’t have as much faith as their fans do. They traded for Sebastian Telfair and drafted Rojon Rando. They’ll be lucky if Pierce even sticks around for the whole season.
  12. Toronto Raptors- In the long scheme of things, trading Villanueva for Ford was brilliant, but what about right now? Even if they do switch to a more fast pace offense, it will take at least the season to get fully adjusted. Besides, are you sure you want to switch your offense JUST when Chris Bosh is coming into his own?
  13. Charlotte Bobcats- They have a healthy and talented front court in Okafor, May, and Brezec. Now, if Morrison and second year man Felton can gell, it might not be long before Felton’s original playoff predictions come true.
  14. Atlanta Hawks- The only real problem in Atlanta these days is whether or not Michael Vick can maintain some consistency. Oh, and the Hawks don’t haved a point guard. Speedy Claxton can be servicable, but is he starting material?

  15. New York Knicks- Nothing seems good about this team. The word is Isaiah Thomas wants to run a revamped version of the Phoenix Sun’s offense. Did he not watch any of the games last season? His team shot less than 37% from the arc. Yeah,  running the Sun’s offense is a great idea.

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