Rankings as of July 14, 2009
THE EASTERN CONFERENCE IS PUMPED!
After a few weeks of trades, free-agent signings and draft selections, we thought we’d unleash the first Bobcats Baseline Eastern Conference Power Rankings in order to see how close (or how far) the Bobcats are from challenging for a spot in the Top 8.
Orlando has to be the undisputed winner thus far as they’ve admirably decided to GO FOR IT as a small-market team. The Celts, Hawks and Wizards get big points as well for being pro-active thus far in the offseason. Meanwhile, a quiet Bobcats franchise had better hope Gerald Henderson’s first two summer-league games (0 pts followed by a DNP) were flukes – or they better have a Plan B.
The top half of the Conference looks scary, btw. The old adage of “if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse” will definitely apply this year.
Let’s see how the teams stack up thus far:
|1||3||Although the Magic lost both Hedu and Courtney Lee, they quickly reloaded with Vince Carter and Brandon Bass. Ryan Anderson might not be so bad either. With the Celts health in question and the Cavs having a less than stellar offseason, the Magic look set to repeat as Eastern Conference champs.|
|2||2||Even if they don’t re-sign Big Baby, Rasheed is a HUGE upgrade. If healthy, the Celtics might make it two championships out of three next June.|
|3||1||Any team with Lebron is a lock for the top three in the conference. Bringing back Varejao is nice (if a bit expensive) but a team with a slow, lumbering veteran center (Z) adds another (Shaq) in the offseason. How ironic. Lebron, D-Wade and Bosh’s “mini-max” deals are deterring key Free Agents from playing alongside them.|
|4||4||Under the radar busy this offseason, the Hawks have re-upped Bibby and Pachulia, traded for Jamal Crawford and drafted Wake’s Jeff Teague. They played it smart by settling up with their Unrestricted FAs first and will probably take care of Restricted FA Marvin Williams later this summer. The Hawks are a strong squad.|
|5||5||D-Wade and company are going to have a tough time finishing this high again next season with a much more competitive Eastern Conference. If the front office keeps standing Pat, the Heat could find themselves out of the playoffs come April.|
|6||7||The Bulls pushed a depleted Celtics team to seven games. They lost their crunch-time scorer to Detroit but could balance out their roster with a potential trade for Carlos Boozer. If that deal goes through, move the Bulls up a spot or two.|
|7||15||Not a big fan of Mike Miller, Randy Foye or Flip Saunders individually but as a group, combined with a healthy Agent Zero, Jamison and Caron Butler, the Wiz should out-score every team in the conference and be good for at least 45 wins.|
|8||8||Adding Ben Gordon, Charlie V. and Austin Daye while subtracting Rasheed, Iverson and McDyess will inject youth while sacrificing experience. Question is, how will championship holdovers Prince and Hamilton react to their fourth coach since the ’04 Title.|
|9||10||The quietest team this offseason in the Eastern Conference, the Bobcats will add Dookie Gerald Henderson to a squad that went through a dramatic overhaul last season. Perhaps one more year under coach Larry Brown will be enough to sneak into the top eight in the East.|
|10||9||Looks like they’ll replace the departing Jarrett Jack, Marquis Daniels and Rasho Nestorovic with Dahntay Jones and Tyler Hansbrough. Maybe not enough to repeat their one game lead over the Bobcats last season.|
|11||6||This could be the team on the decline in the conference. Last year’s massive FA signing of Elton Brand did little but stifle both their cap and their up-tempo attack and now there are rumblings that the Knicks could pry away the team’s glue – Andre Miller. If Miller walks, don’t expect the Sixers back in the post-season.|
|12||11||For upside fanatics, there’s a lot to like about this team. Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, T-Will and Courtney Lee are quality young guys. Unfortunately, they may have to wait until next year to make any serious noise…possibly with a new SF wearing #23.|
|13||13||The Raptors essentially replace Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker and half of their bench for Hedo Turkoglu. Then they turn around a drop $50 million on Bargnani in order to save face for making the second worse draft selection in 2006 (yeah, after AMMO). Does anybody out there think that the Raps have more than a 2% chance of re-upping Bosh after the season?|
|14||14||I’m not really sure I understand what’s going on here. Knicks were pursuing Grant Hill and now may be close to signing 30+ year old PG Andre Miller? All while letting Nate Robinson and David Lee (potentially) walk? Why would Lebron choose to join this mess when he could lead a team of young studs in New Jersey to the promise land for a solid decade?|
|15||12||This team makes absolutely no sense to me – check that, it’s run by a United States Senator, of course it’s going to be inefficient, bland and confusing. Just like the DMV or the Tax Code. Bogut’s a decent young center, Redd needs to be moved to a team that can win now (Cleveland) and Sessions should try to get out while he still can.|
*Previous Rank determined by final ’08-’09 regular season standings.