First a follow up to the Western Conference preview.
1) The top 6 teams in the West are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. The depth isn't as good as it once was.
2) The Northwest Division may have the 3 worst teams in the NBA this year.
3) A damn shame about that Greg Oden
Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (Seeded 1-8)
1) Chicago (w/ or w/o Kobe)- They win the Eastern Conference as currently constituted. If they land Kobe and keep Deng, they become my favorite to win it all.
2) Boston- Celtics have the best big 3 of any team since Bird/McHale/Parrish and Magic/Kareem/Worthy. The only problem is that their supporting cast might be too young to bring home a Championship this year. They'll win it all in '08-'09.
3) Cleveland- Still not enough help for Lebron.
4) Washington- They aren't as good as Detroit or NJ, but division winners have to have a top 4 seed.
5) Detroit- Too boring to write about.
6) New Jersey- They should be a fixture in the 4-8 seeds for the next 3 years. Too good to miss the playoffs, but very little upside.
7) Toronto- Bosh, an improving Bargnani, and a bunch of useful scrappers with little upside. A good team that will never be great.
8) Orlando- Dwight Howard asserts himself as the best center in the NBA this season. The rest of the team remains uninspiring.
9) New York
10) Miami- Shaq isn't Shaq anymore. D-Wade is hurt. The supporting cast stinks.
A couple more points on the Eastern Conference
1) The depth in the East is pretty impressive. If any of the top 13 teams made the playoffs, it wouldn't knock my socks off.
2) I shocked myself when I ranked the Pacers the worst team in the East. They have been so good for so long. After Jermaine O'Neal, though, they have NOTHING!