LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have come through with their first championship together. It’ll be asking a lot for any Eastern Conference team to stop them.
The Rolomite | Daily Girth
So much for LeBron James never winning a championship. Now, the King could get dangerous.
With Derrick Rose sidelined much of the season, the only real threat to the Heat are the aging Boston Celtics. A rematch of the Eastern Conference finals would surprise nobody.
Maybe Rose’s return could spark the Bulls to a deep playoff run. But we won’t know until he actually comes back. It’s a safe bet that Miami gets back to the NBA Finals.
A look at each division:
1. Miami Heat
The King has his crown. Now the only question is will he get greedy? Are multiple championships an unlikely goal? No team in the East will stop Miami, but can a rematch against OKC or a challenge from the new-look Lakers dethrone the champs?
2. Atlanta Hawks
The Iso-Joe offense is scrapped. Atlanta still has a talented frontcourt of Josh Smith and Al Horford. The backcourt isn’t the best. With Smith and Horford, that should be good enough to get the Hawks into the playoffs.
3. Washington Wizards
Other than John Wall, what other players can you name on this team? Nene is still here from the JaVale McGee trade. Trevor Ariza came over in the offseason. Get those scouts ready, these guys will have a high draft pick.
4. Charlotte Bobcats
The worst team in NBA history returns with not much else to look forward to. Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was drafted in the first round, but he’s not a franchise changer. Gerald Henderson is still around. How bad of a team are you when Gerald Henderson is your best player?
5. Orlando Magic
It’s like 1996 all over again. Penny Hardaway isn’t around to carry the team, which means Orlando will be in the lottery. There’s a good chance the Magic will be the worst team in the league.
1. Boston Celtics
The old timers have plenty of game left. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are still around. This is Rajon Rondo’s team now. And the C’s still play nasty defense.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
Now that center Andrew Bynum will finally get all the touches, will he deliver with solid defense and big-time rebounding. The Sixers were stingy on defense last season. A big man like Bynum should bolster Coach Doug Collins’ schemes.
3. Brooklyn Nets
Joe Johnson is not the answer. Deron Williams is a baller and contrary to what Shaq says, Brook Lopez is not a dominant big man. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov is paying Gerald Wallace $40 million. The Nets are suckers.
4. New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are not peanut butter and jelly. They are whipped cream and beans. These ballhoggers will never deliver a championship. A nice setup guy such as Jeremy Lin would help, but the Knicks let him walk. Still, New York could sneak into the playoffs.
5. Toronto Raptors
They still have a team? Who plays for these guys? The Raptors are such non-factors in the NBA, even Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter would be stars there in 2012. Toronto will be in the lottery for sure.
1. Indiana Pacers
Without a superstar, the Pacers will win the division only because Chicago’s superstar is sidelined. Indiana is deep and talented, but getting past the second round is unlikely, especially if they run into Miami again.
2. Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose will be back eventually. Not in time to save this season though. Rose is projected to come back around the All-Star break. With him, the Bulls would still probably come up short against Miami.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks will have Monta Ellis. It’s going to be another 20-point scorer on an awful team. Brandon Jennings is a good ball player, but after that, the Bucks got nothing.
4. Detroit Pistons
Youth is on their side. Youth doesn’t win championships. Center Greg Monroe is a developing talent. Corey Maggette is a solid player. The Pistons don’t have much else.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Wow, the Eastern Conference is bad. Kyrie Irving is the only serious player of note. Anderson Varejao could be moved; on a contender he could make a big difference. Here’s how you know your team is fucked: Luke Walton is the second highest paid player at more than $6 million.