2014-2015 NBA Power Rankings: Eastern Conference
With the free agency period almost over, we’re starting to get a sense of how the Eastern Conference will stack up next season.
From Pau Gasol joining the Bulls, to LeBron James returning home to Cleveland, the whole landscape of the east has changed completely causing several teams to improve.
Of course this also means numerous teams have taken a step back, as the Pacers, Heat and Nets have all lost key players, indicating their record may be far worse than previous years.
Whatever the case may be, here’s my best guess on how these 15 teams will fare next season, based on their acquisitions from this offseason as well as their record from last year.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
Apparently the 76ers are fighting against the NBA’s newly proposed lottery format, which would even out the odds of landing the top pick. I wonder why?
14. Milwaukee Bucks
Adding Jabari Parker and Kendall Marshall were nice additions for this team, as they’ll surely help improve their offense which ranked 3rd worst in points per game last season. Other than that, be prepared for another ugly year.
13. Boston Celtics
There’s literally a log jam at every position on this roster, making you wonder if the Celtics are planning to offload a heap of players with Rajon Rondo in a trade package.
12. Orlando Magic
The additions of Ben Gordon and Channing Frye will surely help Orlando’s three point shooting woes, but even if their offense improves dramatically, the lack of proven talent still holds them back from making a playoff push anytime soon.
11. Detroit Pistons
With Greg Monroe having no other potential destinations, it appears the Pistons will still be stuck with a clutter of bigs in the starting lineup for years to come. Good luck Stan Van Gundy, you have your work cut out for you.
10. New York Knicks
Offloading Raymond Felton was definitely a step in the right direction, however the loss of Tyson Chandler will surely hurt their already shaky defense. If Cleanthony Early can blossom quickly and Tim Hardaway Jr continues to improve at a rapid rate, we could be looking at one of the biggest surprises of the season. But that’s a big if at this point.
9. Brooklyn Nets
The loss of Paul Pierce will be a major blow for this Nets team, as they will now have to rely on Andrei Kirilenko and Sergey Karasev to produce heavily.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Once again no marquee free agents even considered joining the Hawks this offseason. Maybe it’s because of their horrible fan base, which ranked 28th in attendance last season and 26th the year before that.
7. Indiana Pacers
Replacing Lance Stephenson with Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles is a recipe for disaster. Unless Roy Hibbert can return to an All-Star level and Paul George morphs into a superstar, this season will definitely be a tough one.
6. Charlotte Hornets
Signing Stephenson was by far one of the best moves the Hornets made this offseason. Signing Marvin Williams to a $14 million deal… well that’s a different story.
5. Miami Heat
Losing the best player in the world is by no means an easy thing to overcome, but the additions of Josh McRoberts, Luol Deng and Danny Granger will surely keep Miami in the postseason hunt.
4. Toronto Raptors
Retaining Kyle Lowry and their cast of role players means the Raptors have secured their postseason odds for years to come. Hopefully their core can continually improve, or else they could wind up morphing into the Atlanta Hawks (too good for the lottery, but not good enough to make a title run).
3. Washington Wizards
Bringing in Paul Pierce to mentor many of the team’s young guns was a great move by the Wizards. With a starting 5 of Wall-Beal-Pierce-Nene-Gortat, we could be looking at one of the more elite teams in the east that has the potential to make a finals run as early as this year.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
The return of LeBron guarantees Cleveland will be in the hunt for one of the top seeds in the East. However if they can convince the Timberwolves to send over Kevin Love, we could be looking at one of most dominant teams in the entire league.
1. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls success all lies on the health of Derrick Rose, who will either make or break their title odds this season.
Agree or disagree? Hit me up on Twitter @fieldhoops!