View Full Version : David Dupree's divisional breakdown

07-30-2004, 08:51 AM
Decent advanced preview. In the middle of this is an overview of how the playoffs will work


Inbounds with a whole new look

By David DuPree, USA TODAY

The landscape of the NBA will have a dramatically different look after the trade and frenzy of free-agent signings in the offseason, not to mention the new alignment with six five-team divisions. USA TODAY's David DuPree looks at where players and teams have moved when the season tips off:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Teams: Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors.

Outlook: Looks like it could be the weakest division in the NBA. Not one team seems to have improved that much, and the Nets, the only division team that had a winning record, traded Kenyon Martin to Denver for three first-round picks.

The buzz: "I like our team and our chances," Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury says. "What division we're in doesn't matter. You just have to win no matter where you are."

Central Division

Teams: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks.

Outlook: Detroit and Indiana will battle for the division title. The loser can be no better than a No. 4 seed and likely will face a No. 1 seed in the second round of the playoffs.

The buzz: "It's more than just us and Indiana, but I'm not too disappointed that New Orleans is in the West now," Detroit coach Larry Brown says. "All I want us to do is get better as the season progresses so we are playing our best when the playoffs get here."

Southeast Division

Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards.

Outlook: The Heat moved to the head of the class with the addition of Shaquille O'Neal and could be the only team in the division to make the playoffs — unless Grant Hill makes a successful comeback in Orlando.

The buzz: "We've got an angry, motivated Shaq on our team, and who wouldn't want that?" says Heat point guard Dwyane Wade. "He's already promised me we're going to win a championship together."

The playoffs
The three regular-season division winners in each conference, plus the other team in the conference with the best record, will make the playoffs and get the top four seeds.

The remaining four playoff teams in each conference will be based on regular-season record with no regard to divisional alignment.

Home-court advantage will be based solely on regular-season record, not playoff seeding.

Western Conference

Southwest Division

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets, San Antonio Spurs.

Outlook: This is the toughest division in the NBA and the only one in which every team reached the playoffs. Three of the teams (Dallas, San Antonio and Memphis) in the division each won at least 50 games.

The buzz: "There's an evil person some place who made this decision and I don't think he, she or they are going to own up, ever," quips Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "It's definitely a Mel Gibson Conspiracy situation."

Northwest Division

Teams: Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics, Utah Jazz.

Outlook: Minnesota will be the team to beat, but two of the league's most improved teams will challenge the Timberwolves — Denver (with the addition of Kenyon Martin from New Jersey) and Utah (with Mehmet Okur from Detroit and Carlos Boozer from Cleveland).

The buzz: "The divisions don't matter," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony says. "We're going to be good, real good. I got better and we as a team got better."

Pacific Division

Teams: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings.

Outlook: The Kings are the favorites with Chris Webber, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic. But without Shaquille O'Neal or the triangle offense, Kobe Bryant will probably lead the league in shot attempts and scoring.

The buzz: "It's still the West, and we're still going to see everyone four times," Phoenix forward Shawn Marion says. "Our rookies came through last year, and we've gotten better in the offseason with (Steve) Nash."

Ultimate Frisbee
07-30-2004, 10:57 AM
Good breakdown...

Pacers or Pistons will be a 4 seed though, assuming they finish 1 and 2! (not that it matters that much since the team with the better record always has homecourt advantage)

07-30-2004, 11:30 AM
I agree that the better record getting home court lessens the blow, but the problem is that there is a decent chance that the Pistons and Pacers would have to play in round two.

I suppose both teams could look at it as though they have to get through the other eventually anyway, but I would like the teams with the two best records (assuming that's how it turns out) to meet in the ECF, and not earlier.

07-30-2004, 11:34 AM
Well the one thing this does more thna ever is places an emphasis on winning your division and getting the one or two seed.

Doug in CO
07-30-2004, 12:28 PM
4 Seed: remember, there are 3 divisions now, so things change - wondering if the NBA will reseed in round 2 like the NHL does or... assuming the Central has the best record, it WILL BE Pacers/Pistons in round 2 - no question. The loser in the division will probably have the second best record in the conference - so if this is the case, the 2 seed is more attractive as you probably play the Heat or Atlantic chAmp..

Anyone know what the plans are?

07-30-2004, 12:44 PM
On the plus side...

If we play the Pistons in the second round, it could lessen the possiblility that somebody's injured.

07-30-2004, 12:51 PM
This is a bad system. The two best teams shouldn't have to meet in the 2nd round. It should be the ECF. And this will happen every year the two best teams share a division. :thumbsdown:

07-30-2004, 12:54 PM
I will offer my sympathies to you since you're in the only "non-weenie" EC Division.

I can't friggin' believe how weak the other two are. On the Knicks board someone started a thread about us winning our division. I was already to jump on him because, let's face it, we suck - until I looked at who else was in it.

07-30-2004, 01:25 PM
Yes, this new system does suck BADLY:mad:! I hope they will just go to best record instead, but that wont happen. Anyone, see that western division with SA, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Grizzlies and the Hornets in them?WOW!:o



07-30-2004, 11:28 PM
On the plus side...

If we play the Pistons in the second round, it could lessen the possiblility that somebody's injured.

Yup, if we'd played Detroit in round 2, Tinsley would have been fine. Oh well.

Rim, if NY doesn't win the Atlantic, I'll be shocked. That division is putrid.