NBAwithBEE 2012-2013 Eastern Conference Rankings
As we approach yet another NBA Season, there’s a lot of storylines to watch for and I can’t wait for the excitement that’ll be upon us real soon. LeBron won his first championship, is he still hungry for more? Wade’s knee issue and how it’ll affect the Heat all season long? When is Derrick Rose expected back and how will the Bulls cope without their MVP? Celtics revamped their roster with veterans and defenders, how will they do? A lot of new faces in new places and a full training camp in session this time around. One thing we can be thankful for, the NBA will not be putting replacement refs out there. Without further of do, here are my 2012-2013 Eastern Conference Power Rankings.
|1||MIAMI HEAT||no question the defending champs are #1, additions of Ray Allen & Rashard Lewis will space the floor even more. Far and away best team in the east too, LBJ still getting better – that’s scary. Already proved they can win with no true center, it’ll remain that way as they make their trip back to the NBA Finals for a 3rd straight season.|
|2||BOSTON CELTICS||probably best bet to knock off Miami, do you realize how DEEP this team is? not to mention, Jeff Green is back and healthy alongside the additions of Courtney Lee (Defensive specialist and 3pt shooter), Jason Terry and solid draft picks of Sullinger and Melo (raw but will develop nicely) make BOS still a top team in the East. Rondo must lead this team now.|
|3||INDIANA PACERS||Pacers are filled with young rising talent such as SG Paul George and G George Hill, they brought in Agustin to run the PG spot. They paid the man, Hibbert, who must take next step up, Granger & West will provide that veteran leadership but Paul George needs to be focus on offense now, he’s big and can shoot and very athletic.|
|4||BROOKLYN NETS||new arena, new logo, new faces (Joe Johnson) and a lot of $$$ thrown at this team, they have the highest ceiling amongst the Eastern Teams but also the chance to fall too. Can Lopez actually grab a rebound this time? They got a stretch 4 in Teletovic as he could prove to be an x-factor for this squad. I wouldn’t be surprised if they vaulted into the 2nd spot.|
|5||NEW YORK KNICKS||Brought back Felton & one of the greatest PG’s to play the game (Jason Kidd), can off-season training with Hakeem help Amar’e? Melo and Amar’e co-exist is a big question too. Rasheed Wallace will teach these young cats how to post-up and Chandler remains a clog in the middle. If all goes well, they can get into the top 3, but this is New York we’re talking about, lets see how this fairytale ends this season.|
|6||PHILADELPHIA SIXERS||This is my darkhorse team in the East, only thing lacking is their frontcourt depth behind Bynum and Hawes. Losing Brand was huge, Thaddeus is not your typical PF neither, but their depth in the backcourt is crazy, Richardson, Turner, Jrue, Wright, Young – Collins can bring out the best in players, this team will achieve goals. Don’t be surprised if they land the 4th seed, because I already told you so.|
|7||ATLANTA HAWKS||losing Joe Johnson leaves a hole at the SG spot, new additions of Lou Williams and Anthony Morrow will try and fill the void. They drafted Jenkins who is arguably the best shooter in the draft but he needs development, a healthy Horford helps ATL tremendously and how long before JSmoove is wearing another uniform? if so Hawks fall near the bottom of the rankings. Lack of depth will hurt this team|
|8||CHICAGO BULLS||No Derrick Rose, Chicago will fall. Hinrich & Robinson will do their best and CHI is still lacking a SG (Rip’s on the decline). I’m excited for Jimmy Butler though as he cracks the rotation this season, he can surprise a few, if Deng and Noah cant stay healthy, Bulls will fall even further down. They play hard though, so tough to count them completely out and best case scenerio Rose returns in January or February.|
Leading the rest of the way I got Bucks at 9, Raptors at 10, Cavs at 11, Pistons at 12, Wizards at 13, Magic at 14 and Bobcats at 15. Of this bunch, I can see the Raptors battling for the 8th spot but all of these teams would get swept by the Heat in the playoffs either way. Wizards will miss John Wall for the first part of the season and what will they do with both Nene’ and Okafor? Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis can be one of the best backcourts in the league if they can co-exist, Jennings is vastly underrated in the PG talks. Kyrie, barring an injury, can make a name for himself this season as one of the top PG’s in the game. I believe he’ll definitely take the next step up to being an elite PG, the team is still growing around him but he’s a great piece to build around and having a healthy Varejao back means a lot.
Pistons will move Stuckey to SG while they give the PG reigns to Brandon Knight, something they should’ve done a long time ago even when Billups still wore that Pistons jersey. Drummond has the highest upside amongst those drafted and will Monroe accept the PF role? Pistons have a lot of players in the front court that they could deal one for a guard as they finally realized they overpaid for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva a few seasons ago because now their hurting. Orlando will realize how big of a deal Dwight Howard was as they’ll remain a lottery team for at least the next 2 seasons until they rebuild the team. Lastly, you got the Bobcats who will be sporting new uniforms this season but still remain same story, give them a few years they have some of the pieces there. If Kemba starts balling and MKG does what MKG does best (slash and score and defend) that’ll be some pieces to build around. Biyombo continues to grow into a younger version of Ben Wallace/Serge Ibaka type player and what happened to Tyrus Thomas?
At the end of the day, nobody can get up on Miami’s level as they’ll once again be the beast of the east. LeBron is still getting better, and with him on the post now makes this team even more dangerous. I look forward to seeing the Heat in the finals again, against who you ask? Well that question will be answered in my western conference preview.