Will the Miami Heat be better than the Cleveland Cavaliers? I think so. I have a feeling Bosh is going to have the kind of step up that Scottie Pippen had post-Jordan 1, and D-Wade is going to surprise people with greater range. I wouldn’t be surprised with a step-up year by Mario Chalmers, too. Miami is going to be loose, playing without expectations, and I could see 55 wins.
Could the Charlotte Hornets be the best team in the east? Its not implausible. Is there a clear cut better team? With the exception of Cleveland and maybe Chicago depending on the healthiness of Derrick Rose, every team in the east has declined between June and now. The old Bobcats gave the old Heat a pretty good series. Now they have LeBron defensive specialist Lance Stephenson and they are pulling out the old-new uniforms. Switching uniforms got us excited here for about 3 seconds. Our powerful research team here sort of remembers something good happening when the Patriots and Broncos changed their uniforms, and definitely remembers the Brooklyn Nets getting better. But then we googled it, and we discovered (on the first page, which is as far as we’re ever going to go with a google search) that the University of Buffalo football team’s efforts to benefit from new kits resulted in only 2 more wins and a losing season. So, that was enough to convince us that the answer is a definitive ‘no.’
My current predictions for the Eastern conference, soon to be deleted: Chicago, Indiana, Miami, Cleveland, Charlotte, Washington, New York…Boston. Yes, Boston. Why? Why not. Its that or a complete implosion. Only Rajon Rondo can predict which way it goes. But if he plays hard, they ought to be scrappy, more athletic, and competitive. Rondo, Smart, Young, Green, Sulli…that’s not an awful 5, especially with a pretty decent bench of Bradley, Bass, Olynyk, Thornton, Wallace, not Cody Zeller, El Hombre, Pressey, and Bayless. In fact, looking at the current Celtics roster is making me want season tickets to their scrimmages. They may not be competitive with the top teams, but the balance of the roster ought to lead to a lot of exciting greens v. whites pickup games.
I’d have ranked the Celtics in the top 4, but they just gave up on Kris Humphries. Another Celtic headed to the Wizards. I always liked him; he threw elbows and hit 18 foot jumpers (the former more than the latter). I also thought he was unfairly branded as the bad guy by the Kardashians. Us Weekly, which must be owned by the Kardashians given how many covers and fluff pieces they get in that magazine, said ridiculous things about him like that he was using the Kardashian name to get into NYC clubs. (I love that one in particular. We all know how hard it is for people who make $8 million a year and play for an NBA team to get into NYC clubs.) He was frequently a bit of a D-bag on the show, sure. But in an alternative reality world of the Kardashians, wouldn’t you be mean and snarky too? He and Reggie Bush are the only athletes to get out of that family with any semblance of their sanity left.
(For the record-I’ve never watched the show or looked at an Us Weekly; its New York Times and PBS 24-7 when we aren’t watching ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNnews.)