2012 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Celtics*
  2. New York Knicks*
  3. Brooklyn Nets*
  4. Philadelphia 76ers*
  5. Toronto Raptors

Analysis: This division will easily be the most competitive in the Eastern Conference.  Hell I could easily see four playoff teams coming out of this division.  I think it will be a dogfight between the damn Celtics, my Knicks, and the Nets.

The Celtics still have the best coach in the NBA in Doc Rivers.  They still have the best point guard in the league in Rajon Rondo.  They still have superstars – albeit aging ones – in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.  They have young legs to supplement that core, so look for Boston to repeat as division champs.

As old as Boston is, New York has usurped the Celtics as “Team Geritol”.  Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas?  Are you kidding me?!  The good news is my Knicks had a FULL offseason and preseason with a credible head coach in Mike Woodson.  And I think Amare and ‘Melo are going to be REALLY eager to prove some folks wrong.

I cannot believe I am about to type this: I love what the Nets are doing.  First of all, as a guy who is originally from Brooklyn, I love the Nets coming to the borough.  Hell, I love it more for the borough!  Now if Dwight Howard had landed with the Nets, not only would it have created a lot of hype, it would have struck fear in the hearts of Knicks fans everywhere.  As for now, I think the Nets will fight the Knicks for second place in the division.

I love what the Sixers are doing as well.  I love the trade for Andrew Bynum.  When healthy, Bynum is the best center in the NBA (yeah I said it).  I think the Sixers is one more alpha dog away from contending in the East.  Should be a playoff team.

God bless Toronto.  They are going to stink it up this season.

Central Division

  1. Indiana Pacers*
  2. Chicago Bulls*
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Detroit Pistons

Analysis: I think this is the Pacers’ time to take the division.  Indiana is too young and too good to not take that next step.  I think the Pacers have gained a lot from their playoff run from last season – particularly in how they played against the eventual Miami Heat in the second round of last year’s playoffs.  The Pacers came away hungrier, and will ride that momentum into a division title.

The Bulls will be there in the end as well.  I just don’t trust Derrick Rose’s knee.  That’s one of the reasons why I have Indiana winning the division.  The Bulls are still well-coached, and they still play hellafied defense.  It’s too bad they are sharing the division with the Pacers.

The rest of the division stinks.  Cleveland is an up-and-comer, but since I hate its owner Dan “Danny Boy” Gilbert, I hope they stink up the joint as they did last year.  As for Detroit and Milwaukee, why bother competing?

Southeast Division

  1. Miami Heat*
  2. Atlanta Hawks*
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Orlando Magic
  5. Charlotte Bobcats

Analysis: This division really, REALLY sucks.  The Heat should win this division by at least 20 games this season.  You think I’m playing?  Check out the rest of the so-called “talent” in this division.

You have the Hawks without Joe Johnson.  Atlanta will be no more than an 8th seed.  You have the Magic without Howard.  There are the improving, but still a season or so away Wizards.  And who could forget those hideous Bobcats.  Damn, I wish I could.

Memo to the Heat: try not to get TOO overconfident in winning the division again.

Note: * denotes playoff teams

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