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Eastern Conference Forecast Recap

Atlantic     Central     Southeast
1.Nets 1.Bulls 1.Heat
2.Knicks 2.Pistons 2.Wizards
3.Celtics 3.Cavs 3.Magic
4.76ers 4.Pacers 4.Bobcats
5.Raptors 5.Bucks 5.Hawks
First, I'm not sure the Bulls are a lock to win the Central, but did you know that they scored more points per game than anyone else in the division. That's important since they enter this season considered a defensive-minded ball club.

Second, can the Knicks really jump all the way from last to second in the Atlantic? Keys to making such an improvement in my opinion are: 1) Stephon Marbury performing at or near an all-star caliber level again; 2) Steve Francis finding his niche as a reserve and being among the league leaders in points and assists per minute; 3) Eddie Curry playing a more normalized center… no more 1st and 3rd quarters only with no defensive rebounding.

Third, the Orlando Magic just might be able to overtake Washington in the Southeast and challenge for a playoff spot this season. If rookie JJ Reddick is any sort of player, they have a very balanced looking offensive attack. Dwight Howard's foul situation and team 3-point shooting percentages might be the daily factors that make or break this team of potential.

Fourth, is there a less-interesting team in the NBA than the Sixers right now? There is absolutely nothing different about this team right now than their 38-44 club from last season. With Webber and A.I. just another year older, this team is going to go through some tough stretches.

Fifth, the Hawks are becoming the Arizona Cardinals of the NBA, or the LA Clippers of your father's NBA of the NBA. I don't like their mix of talent and think they dropped the ball big-time when they passed on true-point guard and playmaker Chris Paul in last year's draft. Maybe Marvin Williams will show us something this year, but he's just been shelved for 6-8 weeks. Joe Johnson is the ATL's only bright spot.

Weekend Reading


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