As the season slowly approaches and teams start to round out their roster, it lead me to wonder where we stand in the Eastern Conference. I just wanted to know your opinions. I think we'll end up with the 5th seed with the standings as follows:
Reigning champs who got over the hump mentally. I think they come in focused, rejuvenated and are the clear cut favorite to win the east
Yes, they lost Ray Allen. However, he was gradually getting phased out and they brought back KG and Bass. Plus, they got Jason Terry who is like fireworks off the bench. The brought in Courtney Lee who's a pretty good defender and Avery Bradley will be returning from injury. Not to mention, Jeff Green and Wilcox will be returning from heart ailments. I think they actually will be better than last year's team.
I know they're newly constructed. However, I think they were brilliantly put together. They, along with the Lakers, have arguably the most complete starting lineup in the NBA. I think that, coupled with Avery's coaching, will get them the 3rd seed. I think they may be an early out this year because Humphries and Lopez are poor defenders but regular season wise, I think they will be as advertised.
They've become the new Hawks. I think they will finish just above us in the regular season standings but I think we'll meet and beat them in the playoffs. They just seem like a really good reular season team. I am impressed by their newly acquired depth. I didn't like them losing Collison, but they added Mahinmi and got Green and Augustin through free agency. I also see Lance Stephenson making strides this year after having a very impressive summer league playing both on and off the ball.
I think we will have a few bumps in the road early on just because, once again, we have so many new faces. However, I see us making a strong surge after the allstar break and really gaining momentum going into the playoffs. I have us meeting the Pacers in a rough 4 vs 5 battle that will exude nostalgia for us long time Knicks fans. I see us pulling through however simply because we have stars and they don't. Come playoff time, that's what you need. Guys to take over games. I think Felton will have a solid year. Solid enough to make people say Jeremy who? I think it will be just what the doctor ordered. I think the keys to the season will be a.) Can Woodson maximize our talent and find a way for our starting lineup to coexist b.)How much can we get from the senior citizens we brought in this offseason.
I think, despite their downward spiral at the end of the regular season, Doug Collins did a really good job with that team. Losing Lou Williams and Elton Brand was significant but Nick Young isn't a bad alternative. Furthermore, I think Lavoy Allen will emerge as a solid young PF and will be in the running for a most improved player award. Also, Arnett Moultrie might be a sleeper pick for an All Rookie team. He can ball.
Say what you will about his contract, getting rid of Joe Johnson for nothing doesn't immediately make your team better. In the long run, it will certainly help with cap room because let's face it...he was overpaid. However, cap room doesn't win you games (at least not directly). They also got rid of Marvin Williams, who I never really liked but was their SF. They replaced him with Devin Harris which baffled me. I see it as a salary dump move since Harris is an expirer. I think it will hinder Teague's growth though.
Part of me wants to put the Bulls, Toronto or Orlando here. The Bucks are so streaky. I think they will sneak into the 8th spot because out of default for reason I've mentioned below. I think Ilyasova is the real deal. Tobias Harris looked really good in Summer League. He added muscle and refined his skills. I think if he can crack their lineup at the SF position, they could be a playoff team. Adding Doron Lamb for bench scoring was a nice draft pick.
Contenders for the 8th spot:
while brilliantly coached and constantly overachieving, just lost way too much IMO. They're losing Rose for most, if not all, of the season. CJ Watson choseto go to the Nets instead of relishing in the opportunity to be the man until Rose gets back. JL III went to Toronto. They lost Brewer and Korver. Bellinelli doesn't fit their style IMO. If anyone can do it, it's Thibs, but I think these hurdles will just be too much. While they pride themselves on their defense, I don't think you can win enough games to make the playoffs when Luol Deng is your only scoring threat.
As annoying as Dwight's free agency situation is, I have to applaud him for not quitting on his team last year. He may have thrown some guys under the bus but he still competed at a high level. Who know's what Jacque Vaughn brings to the table asa coach?
At the time being though, they still have the best center in the league....for now
. That, at least, gives them an 8th seed shot.
- Were they dumbasses for giving Landry all that money? Absolutely. But they might have gotten a sleeper pick for ROY in Terrence Ross. This kid can play. I also think they upgraded their PG position by getting Lowry. They'll be a tough defensive team...at least in the backcourt. I'm hearing nothing but amazin things about this Valanciunas kid. If he's the real deal, him and Bargnani could be a nice 1-2 punch in the frountcourt. That's a big if though and I haven't seen enough of him to give him my certified stamp of approval.