NBA Eastern Conference: It’s All Down Hill From Here

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Updated: September 11, 2014

As if there isn’t enough Ray Rice and Roger Goodell coverage to brainwash an angry mob and entice a federal investigation into the NFL‘s handling of the case; I am going to spare you and shift the focus in a different direction. However, I would like to type a few sentences in regards to that situation. The league and the Baltimore Ravens mishandled the entire incident incorrectly; worse than Leon Lett’s fumble. But, now to get the government involved? I thought we wanted transparency from all parties? The U.S. Government is far from transparent, but I digress.

Allow me to return to my original topic, which I have yet to introduce: the NBA Eastern Conference. The summer months were the most exciting for the NBA since 2010. Rumors were created faster and distributed more promptly than a middle-school’s cafeteria. We all sat in front of the television or had our ESPN mobile alerts at the tips of our fingers as each and every fan begged for LeBron James to sign with their team. Then it was Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and so forth down the line. Some hearts were broken and others elated, but the East was left unbalanced.

Further deals and recent incidents have added to the troubles of the Eastern Conference, but it may be safe to say that the off-season is the most exciting the East will be this season. The Free Agency market was like an addiction and the rumors kept feeding it. Except, now, the competitiveness of the conference must be called into question. Not to mention, the dignity and professionalism of some executives, **Cough** Atlanta Hawks **Cough**.

Anyway, the way I see it, the East basically has three powerhouse teams: Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The rest of the playoff spots can be fought amongst the “peasants” of the conference. If the Nets can stay healthy, Lionel Hollins should have an easy time getting this team in the top-3 of the conference. The same goes for the Bulls and Derrick Rose. As long as those knees hold up, Chicago is another East favorite. Of course, there are the top-dog Cavs. Automatically named the top-team thanks to newly signed King James and acquired Kevin Love; Cleveland might just run the table. As for the rest of the conference, it doesn’t look pretty.

The Miami Heat were left dismembered by James and basically went into survival mode by throwing a ton of cash at Bosh. With the status of Dwyane Wade also at “a game time decision”, no one really knows what Pat Riley’s improvised roster is capable of. At least the playoffs?

The Indiana Pacers aren’t exactly in a great place after Paul George broke his leg for Team USA and they lost Lance Stephenson in Free Agency. There are still some nice pieces there that may get them a low-seeded playoff birth, but Roy Hibbert is like a scratch-off lottery ticket; you never know what you will get out of him.

The New York Knicks are happy to have Anthony back, but are they contenders? Frankly, their roster is somewhat of a puzzle, but maybe the Zen Master Phil Jackson sees something differently. I think Derrick Fisher will wish he was still playing.

Then there are the up-and-coming teams in the Charlotte Hornets, Toronto Raptors, and Washington Wizards. These three made last season’s playoffs, but no one really knows what to expect or where to place them in the East. Ranking the East and predicting post-season seeds is like the Sunday crossword; you can place or find a few, but you have no idea about the rest. I will say this, I think that the Hornets will be the dark-horse to watch. Al Jefferson is hungry and the front office has done solid work the last few off-seasons to put together a competitive team. The addition of Stephenson only bolsters their youthful and talented back-court.

The Orlando Magic are my “I have no f$%&*# idea” team. There is some note-worthy young talent in Central Florida and the off-season acquisition of Channing Frye was a decent pick-up, but given the division of power in the conference; I give them a chance. Finally, there is the bottom of the barrel.

Teams that I won’t even bother discussing because they just don’t stand a chance. Those lucky finalists are the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, and the poor Milwaukee Bucks. Let me begin with the Bucks who automatically sealed their doomed fate by signing Jason Kidd as head coach. Bring in a coach with one-year experience, but already enough bone-headed incidents to fill a coaching career, to lead a franchise that has been ailing for over a decade; is a poor decision.

As for the other three, there just isn’t anything there to get me excited. Philly has a bunch of young talent, but it is all untested. The Celtics have Rajon Rondo, but what else? And the Pistons are going down with the city of Detroit.

If the Cavaliers do not run through the East like a hot knife through butter, then I must be the King of Spain or something. The conference is set up like a bunch of bowling pins and the Cavs are that 16-pound ball. Cleveland may not win it all this season, but they should win the conference. Based on the facts and stats, they are easily the favorite. As for the rest of the East, the summer of 2014 is about as exciting as it will get for the conference going into the 2014-2015 season.

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