Eastern Conferece Preview
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Key Additions: Al Horford, Acie Law IV
With the Warriors making the playoffs last year the Hawks no own the NBAís longest post-season drought, unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans it looks as if their drought will continue into next season. The Hawks did add some great talent in Horford and Law but they still lack a lot of depth and a coach who can use the talent that they have.
Projected Finish: 5th Southeast 27-55
Key Additions: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, James Posey
Perhaps no team in the NBA made the moves the Boston Celtics did this year, the added two all-stars and a solid swing man. The Celtics goal this year will be to win the championship, and they do have the weapons to do that, but their biggest problem will likely be at the point guard spot. Rajon Rando and Eddie House look to be their point guards, Rando is an untested second year player and House is more of a scorer first type of player, nonetheless the Celtics should win the Atlantic this year and have a deep playoff run.
Projected finish: 1st Atlantic 50-32
Key Additions: Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley
The Bobcats are starting to resemble an NBA franchise now, they made a very solid move by picking up Jason Richardson in a draft day trade, and they already have a solid core. If the Bobcats can stay healthy, they have the potential to win about 40 games, now that likely will not be enough to get them into the playoffs it will be a huge step for this franchise.
Projected Finish: 4th Southeast 40-42
Key Additions: Joakim Noah, Joe Smith, Aaron Gray
The Bulls will be in good shape going into the season having lost no one from their roster and having added three very good players. Noah will likely take some time adjusting to the NBA but with the depth the Bulls have theyíll be able to play well without him helping much. The Bulls will likely be one of the NBAs toughest defensive teams next year.
Projected Finish: 2nd Central 51-31
Key Additions: None
The defending Eastern Conference Champions have made no moves this year, not even re-signing two of their key free agents. If the Cavs cannot re-sign Anderson Varejao and Sasha Povlovic they could be in for a world of hurt. Everyone else in the Cavs Division has improved which will likely cause them some trouble in the standings.
Projected Finish: 3rd Central 48-34
Key Additions: Aaron Afflalo, Rodney Stuckey, Jarvis Hayes
The Pistons will once again be the team to beat in the East. They have much greater depth than almost any team in the NBA right now. The addition of three very solid backups to Richard Hamilton will allow the Pistons to rest their star and not have huge drop off like in years pasts. This season will also likely see the Pistons playing Amir Johnson more, this will especially be true if the Pistons cannot re-sign Chris Webber.
Projected Finish: 1st Central 53-29
Key Additions: Travis Diener
The Pacers are one of the biggest enigmas in the NBA going into this season, they have the talent to be a very good time but their players personify exactly what has been wrong with the NBA for years. The Pacers have multiple players facing serious criminal charges and their star Jermaine OíNeal may be traded before the season is through. The biggest tasks for the Pacers organization will be to keep the players out of trouble or try and acquire players who will not get into trouble; something they attempted to do last season.
Project Finish: 5th Central 25-57
Key Additions: Daequan Cook, Smush Parker, Penny Hardaway,
The Heat seem to be one of the most overlooked teams going into this season, it was only two seasons ago that they won an NBA championship. The Heat didnít make any blockbuster moves like they have in years pasts but they have added some solid player who will help the Heat reach the level that they were once at. This will likely be the Heatís last hurray for another ring, Shaq is getting really old now and is beginning to slow down.
Projected Finish: 1st Southwest 50-32
Key Additions: Yi Jianlian, Desmond Mason
The biggest key for the season for the Milwaukee Bucks will be to stay healthy, if they can accomplish this they will return to the playoffs. The Bucks have one of the best shooters in the game in Michael Redd, and a solid point guard in Mo Williams. The addition of Yi Jianlian also gives the Bucks one of the deepest front courts in the NBA.
Projected Finish: 4th Central 42-40
New Jersey Nets
Key Additions: Jamaal Magloire
The Nets didnít make many moves this off-season, though if Nenad Krstic is healthy they should be all right. The addition of Magloire will help ease the pain of losing Mikki Moore. The biggest key for New Jerseys success will be if Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richard Jefferson all stay healthy.
Projected Finish: 3rd Atlantic 40-42
New York Knicks
Key Additions: Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, Wilson Chandler
The Knicks made an interesting move on draft night by acquiring Zach Randolph from the Blazers; while this will appease the fans temporarily, I donít think the addition of Randolph will benefit the Knicks in the long run. The Knicks have Eddy Curry who showed he is one of the best post players in the NBA, so adding Randolph doesnít get them anything they really needed.
Projected Finish: 4th Atlantic 29-53
Key Additions: Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortet, Adonal Foyle
The Magic came out of the gate last year looking like one of the best teams in the league but slowed down as the season progressed, look for a similar start from the Magic this year but look for them to keep it up all year long. The Magic have a lot of talent with Lewis, Dwight Howard, and Jameer Nelson.
Projected Finish: 2nd Southeast 45-37
Key Additions: Jason Smith ,Thaddeus Young
The Sixers made no real moves to speak off this off-season and are likely content to rebuilding using the players that they already have. The Sixers finished the season strong but that is likely fools gold as the team will likely struggle this year. The Sixers did find a steal with Jason Smith but he will take a few years to mature for them.
Projected Finish: 5th Atlantic 15-67
Key Additions: Jason Kapono, Carlos Delfino
Last years winners of the Atlantic Division will have a tough time trying to repeat this year, but they definitely have the talent to give it a good shot. Should the Celtics struggle out of the gate that could give the Raptors a huge advantage. The addition of Kapono and Delfino will really help the Raptors spread the floor giving Chris Bosh more room to operate.
Projected Finish: 2nd Atlantic 49-33
Key Additions: Nick Young
The Wizards looked like they could win it all last year, than came the injuries which ended their season. The Wizards will once again be good, and Gilbert Arenas will be the reason whyĖ if heís playing well the Wizards will play well, if he isnít they wont be playing well. The Wizards really didnít add anything major to their roster this year as itís likely Nick Young will only see limited minutes.
Projected finish: 3rd Southeast 43-38