Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Original Rank-ster: Your NBA’s Top 10 Eastern Conference Teams

News around the NBA is pretty dead now that all the drama of the 2010 NBA offseason has been sorted out (kind of). So, for your entertainment, I’ve formulated this list of the NBA’s top 10 Eastern Conference teams for the 2010-2011 NBA season, in order of all-around awesomeness. That’s pretty nice of me, isn’t it?

Let me answer that for you: Yes, it is.

Hit the jump to check out the list.

10. The Washington Wizards
This team has to be the biggest gamble east of Las Vegas. While the Wizards are trying to move past the gun fiasco, the guy who was at the center of it all is finally back. That’s right, Gilbert Arenas is back.
Even though Gilbert’s presence didn’t make a difference before his suspension midway through the season, it could make a huge difference for the upcoming season. The Wiz-Kids showed some promise at the end of the season, especially among youngsters in Nick Young and Andray Blatche. Add John Wall to that mix, and you could have a pretty interesting “sleeper” team this year. If not, then everything in Washington is going to hell.
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9. The Charlotte Bobcats
This was a playoff team last year, and not a terrible one at that. While Michael Jordan’s lovechild team is still relatively young and is pretty talented, they might find themselves to be on the outside looking in on the post-season this upcoming year.
And it’s not because they’re any worse. Rather, the entire Eastern Conference is better with all the movement pretty much shifting from out west. Gerald Wallace is a shining star still, but outside of him, there’s not that much to look forward to.
8. The New York Knicks
I don’t care how terrible this team was last year. The Knicks may not have picked up LeBron James, but they did pick up a couple of decent players in Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton. It won’t be enough to catapult them into “contender status” but it’ll be enough to get them into the playoffs for the first time since the year 2000.
7. The Atlanta Hawks
What’s that? They were third in the Eastern Conference standings last year and they made it to the second round of the playoffs? Does that even matter?
Let me answer your question with another question: Did they make any important moves in the off-season other than over-paying a mediocre shooting guard in Joe Johnson? Seriously, this team needs a leader, and Joe Johnson was supposed to be that leader. His response? Disappearing in the playoffs, and subsequently talking some trash about fans. Way to go, Joe.
The sad thing is, they’re still a playoff team, like it or not.
6. The Indiana Pacers
I don’t know what it is, but something tells me that this team is going to have a break-out year. Now that Danny Granger is proving to be a pretty good scorer, and Roy Hibbert will be working with fellow big man Bill Walton, this could be a pretty awesome team. Throw in a solid young point guard Darren Collison and a wily vetJames Posey, who were acquired in a four-team trade, and Larry Bird might be putting together a promising young team.
5. The Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks showed a ton of spunk last season when they took the Hawks to seven games in the first round of the playoffs without their biggest reason for being in the playoffs in the first place in Australian center Andrew Bogut. Greg Jennings is only a year smarter, after coming off a season where he once scored 56 points in one game. That’s pretty awesome for a rookie. Add Bogut when healthy, and this could be the little team that could.
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4. The Miami Heat
That’s right. I’m putting them just one spot ahead of where they were seeded in the playoffs earlier this year. While the Miami Trice banded together to launch themselves as the best in the entire NBA, they did it with little to no thought whatsoever. People keep downplaying the issue of chemistry, but how can you ignore something so important? Can someone please explain to me what will happen when both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade want the ball in the fourth quarter?
Listen, fellas. I like what you guys are doing. I really do. I like to win a game of Monopoly by teaming up with the other best players, too. But that doesn’t mean we’ll work so well together. You guys were just thrown into the same team because Pat Riley can. Again, no thought to this idea except having three superstars sounded pretty awesome.
3. The Orlando Magic
As much as I was tempted, it’s tough to rank the Orlando Magic out of the top 3 in the Eastern Conference. Not only do they still have a lot of talent overall, but they still have Dwight Howard, who is easily the best big man in the game today. That should score you enough points no matter what.
What the Magic need to do in order to put them into position to win a title is  to somehow, some way acquire a player who can score without having to be pushed to do so. If that player can take some relief off of Dwight Howard, this will be a championship team, no doubt.
2. The Chicago Bulls
People are probably pretty pissed off that I’m ranking the Bulls so high. However, there’s not many reasons to believe this won’t be a great team next season. They have youth, talent, playoff experience, an experienced head coach, and a Michael Jordan statue. That should be enough to make any team a contender.
Breaking it down, Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah will all be perfect compliments to each other’s game, since Rose is a great perimeter scorer, Boozer is a decent rebounder and has a mid-range shot, and Joakim Noah is developing into a smart young center. Add Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Luol Deng as your role players, and you have an almost-instant championship team.
1. The Boston Celtics
I know what you’re thinking. I know what you’re thinking because it’s what everyone else in the world is thinking, and what everyone else will still be thinking come playoff time. And that’s the idea that the Celtics are too old. Let me say this: Get off it. The Celtics have been old for the past three years, and they still managed to stumble deep into the playoffs. While Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Shaq O’neal, Jermaine O’neal, and a bunch of other guys are getting older, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo are just hitting their prime. And while those old guys are old, they’re still a great group of players who have been there and done that. I’ll take wily old veterans over a team of puppies any day of the week.

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