EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
Let’s face it. The East is really a bunch of Fords chasing a Ferrari. The world champion Miami Heat added a massive talent to the roster for a team that already had a surplus of star power, snagging Ray Allen, the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of the game. It will leave defenses in the most impossible of predicaments.
While the Heat remain somewhat vulnerable when it comes to bigger teams, how many are there out East? I count two: Indiana and Philadelphia. The Pacers gave the Heat a scare in the playoffs, but Miami figured out a way to minimize center Roy Hibbert. As for Philly, if you need to count on Andrew Bynum to win a series against the Champs, you’ve got problems.
While there are teams that improved, none are even close to the Heat. Miami could give up home court though out the Eastern Conference playoffs and still walk away unscathed. Here are some thoughts about the rest of the East:
THE REST OF THE EAST
|Brooklyn: They upgraded for sure. Deron Williams is an elite point guard and Joe Johnson is a great scorer. But, despite what Shaq says, Brooke Lopez is not a better big man then Dwight Howard. They will be good, still not ready for a title.|
|Philadelphia: Doug Collins said they needed to break up what they had to get better. They lost their best two players by shipping off Andre Iguodala to Denver for Bynum, and saw Louis Williams head to the ATL as a free agent. Maybe the Philly fans inspire Bynum to his potential.|
|New York: When you replace the lemon-lime Gatorade for vanilla Ensure you’ve got troubles. The Knicks are old, AARP old. They look more the cast of Cocoon then a title contender. Four players are 38 or older, one of which hasn’t played since 2010 (Rasheed Wallace). Even one of their rookies is 35 (Pablo Prigioni)! I didn’t like the pairing of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire to begin with. Now, I like the overall team even less.|
|Boston: The “Big 3” are done, and really so are the Celtics. They will be a 50-win team, but don’t strike fear like they once did. Rajon Rondo is great, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will have their moments, and the bench is decent, but they are a shadow of their former selves. They only received one vote in the recent GM survey on who would win the East....and that's because Pat Riley could not vote for his Heat.|
|Atlanta: Big winners in the summer by unloading the Fort Knox of contracts in Joe Johnson’s albatross deal will more than likely make them losers during the season. They reached a limit with the previous squad and it’s time to rebuild. New GM Danny Ferry is the right guy for the job.|
|Chicago: Miami’s biggest challenge I thought was the Bulls. But the injury to Derrick Rose will perhaps cost the Bulls not one, but two years of battles with Miami. Chicago really did not seem to attack the offseason like a team with a window for a championship; maybe saving their pennies for a full season of Rose in 2013-14.|
OUTLOOK NOT GOOD
Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Orlando, Washington: Not a total doom and gloom for all of the aforementioned, but just not a lot to chat about. Teams are in rebuilding mode or a transition with some talent. Check back in February to see what progress has been made.