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Thread: Hoopsworld early power rankings

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    Default Hoopsworld early power rankings

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=9710

    Ranking the Eastern Conference

    By: Jessica Camerato Last Updated: 8/7/08 1:58 PM ET | 9528 times read



    Adjust font size:The Boston Celtics returned the NBA Championship to the Eastern Conference and this summer teams are making moves to keep it there. HOOPSWORLD takes a look at the power rankings in the East with its current rosters.

    1. Boston Celtics: NBA Championships merit top seeds in preseason rankings. The Celtics are returning their entire starting lineup and even though they have to overcome the departure of James Posey, the Big Three should still be enough to keep near the top of the standings. Not to mention, the young Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are coming back even tougher and more experienced after winning it all.

    2. Cleveland Cavaliers: There is only one thing that makes the Cavaliers the second-best team in the East: LeBron James. Simply put, Bron Bron is one of the top-5 players in the NBA. Put almost any group of players beside him (see their championship run from two years ago) and James' team would succeed. With that being said, it doesn't hurt that the offensive (Delonte West, Wally Sczerbiak) and defensive (Ben Wallace) talent acquired in last season's late trade will have some more time to get acclimated to playing with King James.

    3. Detroit Pistons: GM Joe Dumars declared there were "no sacred cows" on the Pistons after they were bounced by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals and speculation flew of them dismantling their veteran core. It will be up Michael Curry, recently hired as head coach, to get this group of former champions to play up to their potential, but the biggest question is whether these veterans have another title in them.

    4. Philadelphia 76ers: Many counted the 76ers out before the start of last season only to find the fiery running team making a legitimate run at the postseason. With Elton Brand in Philadelphia the question is no longer if they will make the playoffs, but what seed they will earn. If the 76ers can bring Andre Iguodala back -- which head coach Mo Cheeks is confident they will do -- this team is poised to make one of the biggest turnarounds in the league next season.

    5. Toronto Raptors: The Raptors needed another rebounder and got one of the most proven big men in the league. If he can stay healthy, the duo of Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Bosh could be one of the most dominating frontcourt duos in the East. Jose Calderon also gives the Raptors consistency (and impeccable ball handling) as their only starting point guard. They may not be the most experienced group as a whole, but this tandem of talent should be enough to get the Raptors out of the first round of the playoffs.

    6. Orlando Magic: Rashard Lewis was supposed to help Dwight Howard lead the Magic on a deep postseason run. That didn't happen. The Magic fell short in the playoffs and have done little to spark hope for a championship next season. They will need more than Mickael Pietrus off the bench to make up for their thin backcourt, which boasts a mediocre point guard in Jameer Nelson and the rarely-used-but-never-traded J.J. Redick. Howard's shoulders are not big enough to carry this team.

    7. Washington Wizards: Who would have thought that the Wizards would have a better record last season without Agent Zero? Arenas will be looking to make up for lost time, but it's questionable whether the Wizards will be better with him in the lineup. Even though Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are good enough to make any team a contender, the jury is out on Arenas' ability to lead a team to the playoffs and beyond.

    8. Indiana Pacers: Watch out for this season's version of the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers have been discounted from playoff talks since the days of Ron Artest but they finally have the pieces they need to contend. Combine the emerging Danny Granger and recently acquired T.J. Ford with veterans Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Troy Murphy, and the Pacers have a lineup that could be good enough to grab the eighth seed in the East.

    9. Miami Heat: After the disaster that was last season, the Miami Heat have nowhere to go but up. They acquired Shawn Marion shortly before the trading deadline and used the number two pick in the Draft to select Michael Beasley. Add a healthy Dwyane Wade to the mix and you've got a formidable trio. However, they're not winning a title with Mark Blount as their center, let alone making the playoffs. Ditto for whatever inexperienced player will take the reigns at point guard. The Heat certainly have enough pieces to flight for the postseason, but they need to shore up those two weaknesses before they can recapture their championship-winning ways.

    10. Atlanta Hawks: Was last season's playoff run a flash in the pan? While the Hawks are returning their playoff-experienced starting lineup (including Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, and Rookie of the Year candidate Al Horford), they lost their one bench player who could make a legitimate impact in Josh Childress. 37 wins may have been enough before but it's a different story in the East now.

    11. Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats are one of the more frustrating teams in the East. They have the talent but injuries, inconsistencies, and poor coaching decisions have plummeted them to the bottom of the standings. This season Larry Brown will crack the whip on Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, Emeka Okafor, and Raymond Felton, but can he maximize the potential of a thin bench? Even though the Bobcats will be better, they are not going to replicate Michael Jordan's greatness any time soon.

    12. Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are heading into next season the same way they finished last season– in disarray. They still have to sort out what to do with their backcourt, which includes an overpaid/underachieving point guard (Kirk Hinrich), a top pick who disappointed in summer league play (Derrick Rose), and a shooting guard who is in contractual purgatory (Ben Gordon). There are also question marks surrounding the reliability of the oft-injured Larry Hughes and the potential of summer league flop Joakim Noah. Things may not be as Rose-y in Chicago as fans had hoped.

    13. Milwaukee Bucks: With the failed Yi Jianlian experiment in the past, the Bucks are hoping to contend with the veteran duo of Richard Jefferson and Michael Redd. Jefferson is an upgrade but that does not answer glaring questions in the roster. What are the Bucks doing with four point guards? Can Charlie Villanueva be a reliable starter (more importantly, are the Bucks going to keep him around next season)? The trade may have helped but it isn't sending them to the playoffs next season.

    14. New Jersey Nets: On paper, the Nets used to have one of the most talented trios in the league. But if Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richard Jefferson couldn't get it done, what chance does a less talented trio of Yi, Carter, and Devin Harris have of breaking out of the East? The days of perennial playoff hopes are over in New Jersey.

    15. New York Knicks: There is a $20 million contract with Stephon Marbury's name on it looming over the Knicks. Nearly all of the Knicks (and their cap-busting salaries) are returning next season, with little improvement made this summer. Head coach Mike D'Antoni does not have a point guard who can execute his run-and-gun offense and there is no end in sight to the Starbury saga. Next season the Knicks could spend nearly $100 million to miss the playoffs again. Is it 2009 yet?
    Nice to see our Pacers at the 8th position. I totally agree with the 8 "playoffable" however I would question the mental health of the writer: Cleveland at 3rd???!!!???

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    Member LoneGranger33's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    2nd, actually.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneGranger33 View Post
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    2nd, actually.
    oops, thanks! that's just even crazier...

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    I think that's about right. According to his take on the Heat, they desperately need an experienced PG. Too bad one is not available
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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    The Indiana Pacers: Good enough to grab the eighth seed in the East!

    As for the Cavs, they probably won't be good enough for 2nd during the regular season. Maybe, but it's kind of immaterial. But when LeBron turns into 5th gear for the playoffs, they are definitely the 2nd best team in the East. They were the team closest to beating the Celtics, anyways. They would have done so too if Pierce hadn't exploded for an unlikely 41.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Hmm...Tinsley, Williams and Rasho for Marion? That would shore up their two weaknesses...

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom View Post
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    Hmm...Tinsley, Williams and Rasho for Marion? That would shore up their two weaknesses...
    That would give them their veteran starting PG, cap relief they can use in 2010 and a young prospect also with an expiring. I don't really think he is a true PF, but GOD I love Marion's game!
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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Raptors are way too high, Bucks are too low and never underestimate the value of larry Brown

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Raptors are way too high, Bucks are too low and never underestimate the value of larry Brown
    True. He squeezes every last drop out of his players. They may not survive the process, but he gets results. Until he decides to quit and the team has to agree to a buyout
    Turn out the lights, this party's over!

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Raptors are way too high, Bucks are too low and never underestimate the value of larry Brown
    The Larry Brown of 2008 isn't the Larry Brown of 1994. Hell, he's not even the Larry Brown of 2004. We can't just forget about NY, which is more comparable to his current situation than than when he took over any of his previous teams. I'll be interested to see how he does but I'm not holding my breath.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    The Bobcats have more talent than the Knicks did, methinks. I saw a couple Bobcats games last year, and it seems like their offensive plan was quite simple - and ****ty.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by 2minutes twowa View Post
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    That would give them their veteran starting PG, cap relief they can use in 2010 and a young prospect also with an expiring. I don't really think he is a true PF, but GOD I love Marion's game!
    The only reason I don't want Marion is because I have no idea what it takes for that guy to be happy. He had it made in Phoenix. No more sulky vets please.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Raptors are way too high, Bucks are too low and never underestimate the value of larry Brown
    I should preface this that I think Larry Brown in the right situation is one of the best coaches on the planet, but he needs to be managed, so to speak.

    If the team is healthy and if Larry Brown is in the right mindset, well for him whatever constitutes the right mindset, then I think he's one of the only coaches who is good for 10-15 more wins, on his own.

    The other side is that this isn't a veteran team and he has very little patience, so if he is in Jordans office everyday trying to trade every player then he could be worth negative 10 wins.

    Its a tough call right now. I think the only stop that he was terrible was NY and that was a mess period that had weak management.

    I'd put Charlotte right at contending for the 8th spot.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    ford-jack-diener
    dunleavy-rush-daniels
    granger-graham
    marion-murphy-baston-mcroberts
    foster-hibbert

    our bench would be suspect but damn that be a fun starting 5 to watch..because marion gets out on the break....and ford well he kind of gets in the open court fast enough

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom View Post
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    The Larry Brown of 2008 isn't the Larry Brown of 1994. Hell, he's not even the Larry Brown of 2004. We can't just forget about NY, which is more comparable to his current situation than than when he took over any of his previous teams. I'll be interested to see how he does but I'm not holding my breath.
    I don't think you can underestimate how dire the situation really was in New York. I mean, last year in one game, I couldn't believe my eyes when Z-Randolph literally stopped playing defense to argue with a ref. All the while, Murph was sizing up a 3-pointer (Zach did look at him for a minute before turning back to argue with the ref). Larry has to share some blame, but that type of effort epitomized the state of the Knicks. Not to mention the offcourt and sideline nonsense they had to deal with. I think Charlotte just needs a taste of a winning culture, as they've been used to losing for awhile. The Bobcats at least give effort, and have way more usable talent than NY. If Larry can get them to commit to defense, they will be a dangerous team.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by ThA HoyA View Post
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    ford-jack-diener
    dunleavy-rush-daniels
    granger-graham
    marion-murphy-baston-mcroberts
    foster-hibbert

    our bench would be suspect but damn that be a fun starting 5 to watch..because marion gets out on the break....and ford well he kind of gets in the open court fast enough
    I'm actually hoping we end up starting Rush and moving Dunleavy to the bench. His versatile skillset is tailor-made for 6th man. That would move Daniels to the primary 2 backup, and Dun to backup Granger. I actually look at our bench as a strength now. Of course, it will all come down to chemistry, as it often does.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    I think that the Pistons can fall anywhere between the 3rd and 5th spots. I don't know how well Michael Curry will do as a Head Coach and whether Dumars will actually break up the Big 4 or not....which he appears to be hinting towards. I doubt that Dumars would make a bad trade and would likely make one that fits what he wants to do...but with that level of uncertainty....I'm not going to automatically pen them in at the 3rd spot until I see what they do. But if Dumars chooses to keep their Big 4...then I can see them remain as the 3rd/4th seed based purely on talent/chemistry.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Raptors are way too high, Bucks are too low and never underestimate the value of larry Brown
    It freaks me out whenever we agree on anything.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickRelease View Post
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    The only reason I don't want Marion is because I have no idea what it takes for that guy to be happy. He had it made in Phoenix. No more sulky vets please.
    I think Shawn Marion had every right to sulk in his final days w/Phoenix. He was the anchor for that team for much of their rebuilding years and was a model citizen/player. But when his name continued to come up in trade rumors and he came to learn just how unappreciated he was...

    Granted, players have to know that at some point their name will get batted around trade rumor circles. It goes with the job. But normally that only happens with players who are either oft-injured or simply haven't performed. Neither were the case with Marion. So, I can understand him being resentful. But like they say, "it's a business".

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickRelease View Post
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    I'm actually hoping we end up starting Rush and moving Dunleavy to the bench. His versatile skillset is tailor-made for 6th man. That would move Daniels to the primary 2 backup, and Dun to backup Granger. I actually look at our bench as a strength now. Of course, it will all come down to chemistry, as it often does.

    if they did that then yes it would be a strength because dun would be the primary option on the second unit....however i find it hard to believe that rush will be starting at the start of the season....not saying he is a bad player just that he hasnt proven anything yet..

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Raptors are way too high, Bucks are too low and never underestimate the value of larry Brown
    Show me a situation where he made a big difference WITHOUT the addition of key or major players.

    1 time - Clippers.

    Even with the Pacers it's not like he won a ton more games, they just had a nice playoff run and then began to stumble. Was it better than Bob Hill? Sure. Is that saying much? No.

    Plus adding in a Tony Davis out of nowhere sure didn't hurt, plus they adjusted to two prime scorers with Rik/Reggie when they traded Det for McKey. Oh, and then year two they added a little something called Jax which clearly made a huge difference when you look at the Rose trade season.

    Spurs - wow, some job, all you had to do was add Robinson and Elliot at the same time.

    Pistons - no W-L improvement over Carlisle who was busy creating a new division rival in Indy...of course Larry took the team past the ECF and then on to the title and it only required adding Sheed midseason for "free".



    Frankly when you look at what Larry did without roster improvements in San Antonio year 1, Philly the first couple of years and then the Knicks I think you can question his true impact quite a bit. He's built a legend but until he got the gift of the Pistons roster which had just gone from nowhere near the playoffs to round 2 to the ECF under RC and then added Sheed, he'd NEVER won an NBA title and only had 1 Finals appearance with Philly in a terribly weak East and one of the top 5 players in the NBA on his roster at the time.

    Hell, that's MIKE BROWN'S resume right now. Doc Rivers has as many rings thanks to his own pretty nice roster of star talent.


    He moves on for a reason - he's either already starting to stumble along or he gets out before it can happen and people realize that his magic has a lot to do with riding some nice roster improvements. Thus he's built this great NBA legend without actually having the true impact to match it.

    Would JOB be a better coach if the Pacers suddenly got a top 50 all-time center and an all-star wing and won 55 with them? If the Pacers got Beasley and Mayo (pick your favorite not-Rose pick here) wouldn't you expect more wins this year, at least if I told you B-Easy was putting up Karl Malone numbers his rookie year on his way to being one of the greatest PFs of all time?
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 08-09-2008 at 06:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom View Post
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    Hmm...Tinsley, Williams and Rasho for Marion? That would shore up their two weaknesses...
    Miami would never do that

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Even with the Pacers it's not like he won a ton more games, they just had a nice playoff run and then began to stumble.
    Daaaaaaamn, you guys don't want much. 2 straight years in the ECF = "nice playoff run".
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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    I love how you can rank a team b/f you have seen them play as a unit. I understand this is the man's job but how can I get his job?

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    Default Re: Hoopsworld early power rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Even with the Pacers it's not like he won a ton more games, they just had a nice playoff run and then began to stumble. Was it better than Bob Hill? Sure. Is that saying much? No.

    Plus adding in a Tony Davis out of nowhere sure didn't hurt, plus they adjusted to two prime scorers with Rik/Reggie when they traded Det for McKey. Oh, and then year two they added a little something called Jax which clearly made a huge difference when you look at the Rose trade season.
    Not to mention signing Bryon Scott, which propelled the rising quality of play much more than having Larry Brown on the sidelines in the first place. I think they were eight games under 0.500 when Byron was signed (EDIT - they were 5-10), and finished with an eight-game regular season winning streak. Yes, its certainly good to be peaking at the right time, but they played below 0.500 ball until mid February.

    Larry Brown's first team looked much, much, much different than the team Bo Hill had his last season. And it wasn't Bo Hill's fault they didn't improve from 91-92 to 92-93, as George Irvine pushed hard to trade Chuck and Micheal Williams for a pile of Pooh (Richardson) and some spare change (Mitchell.)
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