There are many teams who are starting off fresh, so this year will be much more competitive than last year or any other year so far.
THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
The East hasn’t been known as the very competitive conference, though now, teams like the Brooklyn Nets and new-look NY Knicks might have a shot at beating powerhouse teams such as the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Here is my bracket.
1. Miami Heat
Miami is coming in as championship favorites and are defending champs from last year. Miami will still rely on LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh, though they will rely on point guard Mario Chalmers and bench players such as Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Norris Cole, and Udonis Haslem.
2. Boston Celtics
Boston is an aging team with one of the strongest benches in the league. This team is still led by Rajon Rondo. Leandro Barbosa will lead the bench for the Celtics this year.
3. Brooklyn Nets
4. NY Knicks
NY has no Jeremy Lin, though they still have ‘Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire, and Raymond Felton has returned. NY is a led by reigning defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler, though their offense will need to improve if they want to surpass round 1 of the NBA playoffs. Amar’e Stoudemire was officially on Tuesday afternoon (October 30, 2012) listed on the injured list for the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. He will be out 6-8 weeks with a left knee injury. Jason Kidd signed a contract to play with the NY Knicks.
5. Philly (Philadelphia) 76ers
The 76ers were the only Eastern Conference team that had effect on the Dwight Howard trade, as they got Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, and Jason Richardson from the Magic. The downside is the fact that the ‘Sixers lost Andre Iguodala, who went to the Denver Nuggets. Nick Young went from the Clippers to the ‘Sixers. The ‘Sixers have the talent from point guard Jrue Holiday to get past round 1 and possibly past the Conference Semifinals.
6. Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose was furious and he told Tom Thibodeau that no matter what, he will not miss a single game this season. This will be the main reason that the Bulls will be the 6th seed. Other than that, their defense has been struggling. When Derrick Rose injured his ankle, players like Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer weren’t able to carry the load for Chicago. The same exact thing happened in the playoffs, though even players like Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver were struggling with their defense, and later on, everything in the organization started falling apart, and because of that, their offense started struggling, and Tom Thibodeau couldn’t lead his team back into the series. If they continue these struggles with Derrick Rose, it’s going to be a very long 82-game season for the Chicago Bulls.
7. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers were the most surprising team this season, and most of that surprise was due to the addition of power forward David West. He will carry the pack for the number 3 ranked defense from last season. The low part will be that Danny Granger, the Pacers premier small forward and elite scorer and playmaker, will be out with a sore knee. George Hill, leading the way at point guard, is very healthy and ready to go for this season. He is ruled as the starter due to Darren Collison contract expiration, as he became a free agent, he signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks after Jason Kidd signed a contract with the NY Knicks.
8. Orlando Magic
Despite the loss of Dwight Howard, who signed with the LA Lakers, the Magic got valuable players from the trade, such as Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington. Jameer Nelson and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis said that they are ready to lead this team to a good season after being upset by the Indiana Pacers in 5 games in round 1 of last seasons playoffs. JJ Redick and Hedo Turkoglu are players who will be very important roles. The Magic hired new GM Rob Hennigan and new head coach Jacques Vaughn.
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