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Old 09-03-2014, 09:51 AM   #1
Jballer
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Default Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

http://www.si.com/nba/2014/08/25/eas...avaliers-bulls

Always room for debate.

This actually would suggest Toronto is actually 3rd place finish in the east as the "Titanic Division" winner.

Interestingly they are placing Toronto behind Washington.

Hawks and Hornets follow closely.

Other notes is the Heat / Knicks make the playoffs and the very very large "drop off - low expectations" of the Pacers.

___

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Picking upLeBron James and Kevin Love sends Cleveland to the top of the power rankings with a bullet. There's a lot to sort out in how the Cavs will defend against quality opponents, but in the meantime there should be stark and immediate offensive chemistry among Cleveland's new superstar core. The games of James, Love and Kyrie Irvingare all innately compatible; it shouldn't take long for them to get up to a blistering offensive clip, putting the rest of the East at a clear disadvantage.
GOLLIVER: Grading Love-Wiggins trade for Cavs, Wolves and 76ers

2. Chicago Bulls – The most credible in-conference challenger to the Cavs is also the beneficiary of significant upgrade. Derrick Rose is set to return in more confident and effective form after missing most of last season, which at the very least will give the Bulls the dribble-drive creator they so clearly lacked. Also vital are the additions of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic at the expense of Carlos Boozer -- an exchange that broadens the horizons of Chicago's offensive execution. Such is a through line of the Bulls' offseason maneuvers: Those players added make for a more capable roster, suited to uphold Tom Thibodeau's defensive standards while building out a suitably robust offense.

3. Washington Wizards – Frankly, Washington underperformed for much of the 2013-14 season. Too often the Wiz played down to the level of their competition, which resulted in 44 wins and the No. 5 seed (out of a tiebreaker with the No. 6 Nets) for a team that should have been in the running for third. Another year of progress for John Wall and Bradley Beal should help, as will the keynote acquisition of Pierce. With the latter, Washington adds a needed creator to get its offense out of all-too-familiar jams, all while maintaining defensive competence. That on its own would be valuable, but to bring in Pierce while also retaining Marcin Gortat and fleshing out the frontcourt reserves (with Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair) positions the Wizards for a fascinating run.

4. Toronto Raptors – In terms of net rating (pace-adjusted point differential), only two teams in the East last season outperformed Toronto: Miami and Indiana. Neither will be as formidable as they were last season, setting up the Raptors to fill the void as one of the better teams in the conference. It wouldn't come as much of a surprise for Toronto to finish third to Cleveland and Chicago, particularly with DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross all still developing. The Raptors aren't threatening to unseat the best teams in the conference yet, but rare are the two-way teams with legitimate upward mobility.

Last edited by Jballer : 09-03-2014 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

I don't think there is any question that, on paper, Cleveland and Chicago should be 1 and 2 on this list. Washington and Toronto to me is a toss up. I have no problem with somebody putting either team 3rd.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

I like how they gave Washington an excuse right off the bat.

"Frankly, Washington underperformed for much of the 2013-14 season. Too often the Wiz played down to the level of their competition, which resulted in 44 wins and the No. 5 seed (out of a tiebreaker with the No. 6 Nets) for a team that should have been in the running for third."

Yeah, bullshit. It's called they weren't that good enough to be competing for 3rd in the first place. And that's another thing... when were they in serious running to get 3rd last year ? They were supposed to make the playoffs by most people online, but 3rd ? They weren't winning their division and they weren't good enough to compete for 3rd.

Just looking over our EC Standings last year and where Washington was projected to rank:

http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=309211

bluerap - 10th
Qwyjibo - 7th
Jballer - 9th (2nd prediction 6th)
Grey Dawn - 6th
Chamberlain - 9th (2nd prediction 6th)
kmart - 9th
Legends - 10th
kwajo - 10th

And this hilarious. In the thread I run into Chris Manix of SI and he picked Washington 8th.

So much for running for 3rd . Here's his explanation:

"The Wizards made some curious financial decisions this summer, giving point guard John Wall a five-year, $80 million extension a year before they had to and doling out a four-year, $22 million deal to small forward Martell Webster despite drafting Otto Porter just days earlier and already having Trevor Ariza. But this team should be fun to watch. A healthy Wall will steer what should be a potent up-tempo offense that will also feature shooting guard Bradley Beal, who improved as his rookie year progressed before a leg injury ended his season in early April. Washington went a respectable 24-25 when Wall returned from a knee injury last season. If Wall stays healthy (and shoots a little better from the perimeter), the Wizards should make the playoffs."


It's bad enough Washington got overrated this off season, but now there's revisionist history from last year.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

All good points though they did indeed qualify for the playoffs as 5th/6th seed last year.

I think the rationale is the talent on paper thing.

I too am swayed by the analysis.

Wall / Beal look to be a youngish upside back court. Maybe as good as the Raptors - maybe just younger. Pierce and Humph add toughness to the line up on and off the bench ; as well as vet maturity.

Pierce/Humph >>> Ariza any day. Ariza is a good player but Pierce is a Hall of Famer even if he is old.

(assumption is Pierce will actually play small power forward a lot where he has been very effective).

Last year for Washington to "break through" they needed to win a lot of head to head games in division - read Heat / Hornets.

This year they should in fact get their share from the Heat.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamberlain
I don't think there is any question that, on paper, Cleveland and Chicago should be 1 and 2 on this list. .

Lots of others round here were predicting chemistry issues and (lack of) defense intensity.They somewhat addressed the D concern with Marion I would think.

I guess it boils down to how much difference do you think Lbron makes ? Is Lborn the guy they will really make Love / Irving all they are now plus more ???? I am not sure enough either way to make a prediction even though I acknowledge he is the best player in the game right now.

---

Honestly until I see the first 20 games I don't know what to think this year.

Right now I could honestly meaningfully predict the Raps in 1st (assuming that chemistry / health / maturity issues for Cav / Bulls / Wiz)

I could meaningfully predict the Raps in 5th/6th/7th (assuming that we vast under appreciated the Heat / Pacers).

Should be a good season.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

Jballer, the Pacers are done for next year. Losing Paul George with the leg injuury was the nail in the coffin for 14/15.

Last year with Stephenson and George, they scored 96.7ppg (24th), 44.7fg% (17th), 35.7 3pt%, 20.1apg (27th), 10.2orpg (23rd), and overall ranked in offense 104.1 (23rd; league average is 106.7)... This is all with 2 of their better offensive players. For next season, they have been replaced by C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey.

They are going to be absolutely brutal to watch next year, since they also lost Ian Mahinmi to injury during the FIBA tournament for 2-3 months along with George... their defense will also slip. I would be shocked to see them even make the playoffs. 14/15 Pacers are an early contender to be the worst offensive team next season.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jballer
Lots of others round here were predicting chemistry issues and (lack of) defense intensity.They somewhat addressed the D concern with Marion I would think.

Absolutely, but that's why I said "on paper". There are many question marks on this team, but if they can figure it out early, they will be very dominant in the Eastern Conference.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamberlain
Absolutely, but that's why I said "on paper". There are many question marks on this team, but if they can figure it out early, they will be very dominant in the Eastern Conference.

Acknowledged you did say on paper
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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Default Re: Monitoring the East : SI Preseason Power Rankings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends66NBA7
They are going to be absolutely brutal to watch next year, since they also lost Ian Mahinmi to injury during the FIBA tournament for 2-3 months along with George... their defense will also slip. I would be shocked to see them even make the playoffs. 14/15 Pacers are an early contender to be the worst offensive team next season.

Very convincing

I guess I will play devils advocate and latch on to Hibbert.

I know he has question marks. I agree with some of the doubts you express above....

If Hibbert gets his mind in the game/ his act together and he dominates as a (the only?) true center in the east (Val still maturing/ Lopez uncertain) - the coaches will play a slow down half court game low post feeds traditional basket ball and the defense should be ok still. I mean I agree not as good but they were an elite d team. Even above average will win games.

I think they are out of the playoffs based on the loss of players and Hibbert's lack of mental toughness... but it is just too early to say for sure.

If we do an Eastern Conference predictions thread I really dont know how to write it out this year.
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