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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Eastern Conference Preview

In previous years, the Eastern Conference was always referred to as the JV Conference. The East always had one very good team, 2-3 OK teams, and everyone else was simply putrid. In previous years it was the Western Conference that had ten very good teams competing for 8 playoff spots. In the 2008-2009 season, the fourth-seeded Atlanta Hawks had a solid 47-35 record, except that if the Hawks were in the Western Conference, they would have missed the playoffs. This is so because the 8th seed in the West, Utah Jazz, had 48 wins. The top 6 seeds in the West that year had 50 wins, compared to only two teams in the Eastern Conference. However, much has changed now. Starting with the 2010-2011 season, the Eastern Conference is now the much superior conference. Here is how they line up. 1) Miami Heat- Far and away, the obvious and safe choice to win the conference. With a three-headed monster in LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade, Miami will potentially have the best regular season of all time. Even though the East is a better conference now, and it may take a few months before meshing with each other, the Heat only really have one serious competitor for the number one spot and that is the Celtics. A bad night for the Heat is still better than a good night for seeds 6-15. 2) Boston Celtics- Goals accomplished this offseason: Get older, acquire All-Stars well past their prime, acquire a back up guard, and find an identical replacement for Brian Scalebrine. The Big Three is back for round 4 with hopes of winning it all for a second time. Rondo is closing in on the best point guard in the NBA and actually has two backups now, thus not forcing Rondo to play 48 minutes a night. The C’s have a much deeper bench with Shaq, Delonte West, Nate Robinson, and Glen Davis as a second unit and should roll right through the regular season heading into the playoffs. 3) Orlando Magic- The Magic did not do much this off-season, which is perfectly ok seeing as the team is very solid. The Magic brought back electric shooter J.J. Reddick, which was a must, as well as signed a more stable point guard in Chris Duhon to back up Jameer Nelson. With Superman still in the middle of his prime, the Magic are a top team in the East for years to come. If fully healthy all the way through, the Magic could finish first or second. 4) Atlanta Hawks- Atlanta had one goal this off-season. It was accomplished very early in free agency and that was to sign Joe Johnson. Johnson is easily their best player and needed to be signed if the Hawks were going to continue to be serious players in the East. That being said, firing head coach Mike Woodson will prove to be a mistake. The Hawks are young and energetic but are not ready to compete with the elite in the East yet. 5) Chicago Bulls- The Bulls had a lot of money heading into the off-season and spent it right away. The Bulls acquired a much-needed big man in Carlos Boozer. With the lack of a true sharp shooter, the Bulls also acquired Kyle Korver. This will spread the floor so players like Boozer and rising stars Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose can flourish. 6) Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks are the sleeper team here of the East, for the facts that they are a very well-coached team (Scott Skiles), have an All-Star big man (Andrew Bogut), a star in the making (Brandon Jennings), and former All Stars who are the perfect complementary pieces (Corey Magette and Michael Redd). I’d like the Bucks to make some noise in the east and they should not be taken lightly. 7) New York Knicks- This is another sleeper team but is more realistically a year away from making serious noise. This years squad is like the 2009-2010 Milwaukee Bucks. With the signing of Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks are no longer the laughing stock of the NBA. Raymond Felton is a solid point guard who can run their up tempo offense and not give Coach D’Antoni more grey hairs. Danillo Gallinari is primed for a breakout year and should win the 3 point contest at the All Star game. For real Knicks fans, wait until next year to become elite. 8) Charlotte Bobcats- Coming off of their first playoff season and first-ever winning season, the Bobcats should continue the process and move up in the standings. Not so much. The Bobcats failed to improve their team this offseason, only making headlines by having MJ become their majority owner. This team is still a playoff team, but only because the other half of the conference belongs in a rec league.