Free-agency’s winding down, the roster’s are taking shape and the major pieces in the East are set. The pod takes a moment (well, more than hour to be precise) to examine the state of the Eastern Conference with an analysis of every single club, right from the depths of darkness to the summit of glory. Tune in as Andrew, Will, and Zarar take you through a journey starting at Luke Ridnour and ending at LeBron James. There’s also deep analysis mention of the Dwight Buycks and Diante Garrett waivers.

Teams are grouped in six categories and the individual and average predictions are below:

  1. The Walking Dead
  2. Tough Outs
  3. The Losers
  4. Stuck in the Middle
  5. Up and Coming
  6. The Contenders
# William Zarar Andrew Average
1 Cleveland Chicago Cleveland Cleveland
2 Chicago Cleveland Chicago Chicago
3 Toronto Washington Toronto Toronto
4 Miami Toronto Charlotte Washington
5 Washington Atlanta Washington Charlotte
6 Atlanta Charlotte Atlanta Atlanta
7 Charlotte Miami Miami Miami
8 Indiana Indiana Brooklyn Indiana
9 Brooklyn Detroit Indiana Brooklyn
10 New York Boston New York New York
11 Detroit New York Detroit Detroit
12 Milwaukee Brooklyn Boston Boston
13 Boston Orlando Orlando Milwaukee
14 Philadelphia Milwaukee Milwaukee Orlando
15 Orlando Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia

Grab the iTunes feed or check us out on Stitcher on Android. There is also the plain old feed. You can also download the file (1:07:06, 64 MB). Or just listen below:

  • Charanvir

    I got
    Chicago
    Toronto
    Cleveland
    Washington
    Charlotte
    Miami
    Indiana
    Atlanta

    Brooklyn
    New York
    Detroit
    Boston
    Philly
    The Bucks
    Orlando

    • Charanvir

      Cleveland well take time to gel and that will hurt them a bit, Brooklyn will suck, get good at the last second, and then get out. Indiana same situation as Brooklyn but they’ll probably have more wins before they get good, Fuck the Knicks and Atlanta trolls at 8th

    • Charanvir

      Also #MiamivsCleveland #LeBronCenter #FirstRound

  • Saints91

    Chicago (57-25)
    Cleveland (55-27)
    Charlotte (54-28)
    Toronto (52-30)
    Washington (52-30)
    Miami (49-33)
    Indiana (49-33)
    Atlanta (47-35)

    New York
    Brooklyn
    Detroit
    Milwaukee

    Philadelphia

    Orlando
    Boston

    The East will be tight with 1st to 7th being separated by 8 games. Expect more wins against the West.

    • Saints91

      The big jump for the Raptors happens in 2015 when Hayes, Fields, TH, Lou Williams and Amir (although I would love to see him come back) come off the books (roughly 27M coming off). Right now we are spending 15M on players that won’t or shouldn’t be in the rotation.

  • afrocarter

    The best thing about all of this is that we end up with a much stronger conference. Still inferior to the West, no doubt, but I could do with a handful of 50-win teams in the East. I just hope it shuts down all the “abolish the conferences” talk.

  • Niagara_dude

    Should the Raptors have season like last year with no real injury problems I think they can finish anywhere from 5th to first.Depth and injuries are the key to success in the east, there is no walk away outstanding team, I can only hope our GM adds a couple of depth players at the center(we have no size after JV) and perhaps another ball handler.

  • jimmy rex

    Ranking the Raptors this high is way too optimistic. They over-achieved for a 1/2 season. The chemistry and cohesiveness they found after the trade isn’t guaranteed again this season. Look at veteran teams like the Pacers and Heat last year – they struggled at times with chemistry and cohesiveness (but they had the talent to sustain them, which the raptors don’t have as much). I’m guessing they will hit some bumps along the road this year, and will have stretches where they struggle. A 4th to 6th is more realistic.

    • DDayLewis

      To finish 5th or 6th, another team would have to win the Atlantic Division. Not sure a worse version of Brooklyn or New York can leapfrog the team.

      And as I noted in the pod, they sustained their success through nearly 60 games after Gay was dealt. Not exactly a mirage or small sample size to draw conclusions from. They’re also not old, so there’s no reason to expect decline with respect to age.

      • LuckyMystery

        I would also add that they did all that last season with no training camp. As well they added 2 guys that I think people are really under appreciating in Williams and JJ. Not saying they are great players, but they add elements that needed improvment over last season.

        BTW, the raps have had a crazy amount of guys named Williams through out the years. I know it’s a common name and all.

        • DDayLewis

          Remember when they had three on the team after the Vince Carter trade? Alvin, Eric and Aaron

          • LuckyMystery

            Honestly it’s probably not even that many, it just seems that we always have at least 1 guy on the roster

        • Alex Vostrikov

          raps added 2 guys who will give them under 25 min a game… combined. its great when you are spurs/thunder/heat/bulls… those teams are packed and have defined starters….
          but when you have ross and amir as your starters, you never know what you will get. amir is great teammate….. but is he a starter? no chance. ross???? I better don’t go there, he is role player at best. he simply doesn’t get it, yet.
          to get same or better record than last year, you must play against same tanking teams from last year….. but when you have 5-6 improved rosters, where will those wins will come from? do you really have teams on decline? probably Miami, who by the way will be one of the best in the east.
          raptors really need a better coach. casey might be ok, but we do not have fast paced team. and luck of plays in half court were evident in the playoffs.

          • LuckyMystery

            25 minutes combined? if you are gonna start your comment off like that, why would any one take you seriously. john salmons played over 20 minutes a game by himself after he joined the raps last year. also Lou williams and JJ can both be used in different combinations allowing Casey to be more creative. last year you had salmons and novak that played the same position every time. this year williams can be used with lowry or vazquez or in some cases all 3 at the same time. JJ also allows him to use either amir or patterson in small ball lineups.

            just because some teams are no longer tanking doesn’t mean other teams didn’t get exponentially worse. the heat, pacers and nets all got worse. not saying they aren’t good teams, but in no way are they automatic losses.

            • Niagara_dude

              You should get your head out of the sand, looks like you know shit about basketball and just think everything is good because it is your team.I love the Raptors but do understand that talent wins in this league, we were very lucky last year in that we had no injuries and other teams did.We have done very little in adding free agents to improve, our draft was a write off for this year (could be good player down the road).Other teams (just read NBA RUMOURS) are getting stronger by adding players and we are just standing around hoping are current young players improve from last year.Where is the vet free agent signing? go look at other teams and what they have done and stop grading this team just because you are a Raptor fan (you sound like you are 5 years old).

              • LuckyMystery

                It is actually quite amazing how stupid you are. Every time you post it is the same nonsense. Keep comparing the Raps to the Wiz bud.

                Also good to see that you use Rumors to get your info, not actual information. That would make no sense.

                Every team in the NBA is an injury away from missing the playoffs. Your argument holds no water.

                Judging by your writing and grammar, it’s pretty ironic that you are calling some one 5

                • Niagara_dude

                  I watch the games and know my basketball (not interested in hockey) i am a basketball junkie.I see how others teams have added free agents and drafted players who can help this year, the Raptors did not.I love the Raptors and reaily hope i am wrong but this is a talent league and we won so many close games last year that we may lose this year because others teams are stronger.How many big leads did our bench give-up last season?

      • Niagara_dude

        If we stay clean injury wise then I believe the Atlantic will be ours, New York & Boston will be pushing for sure.

    • Niagara_dude

      Thank-you for being honest, we are all Raptor fans out here (at least I hope) but the fact is this team had a very clean season last year (no injuries of major time).We did not reaily improve roster from the outside (free agents) and other teams have.We will not catch anyone by surprise this year and without adding to our bench our top guys will again have to play large amount of minutes.I said that anywhere from 6th to 3rd and it depends how we make out with injuries.

  • rapierraptor

    Great pod. All that Hornets talk and no one talked about how awesome it will be to see PJ Hairston and Lance Stephenson on the same team. Could be epic in so many ways!

  • feylines

    did a team by team pct change-based analysis, assuming Love and Monroe stay where they are:

    (strength projections tab)
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1askTDktoX9n1MCsYU-4cXJ0acTNG52nQ6poym7pMFe8/edit#gid=828225314

    • feylines

      forgot to set it to public. should work now

  • rapierraptor

    I loved all the research that went into this podcast. The main takeaway is that the East is totally unpredictable. How teams like Miami and Brooklyn will perform is anyone’s guess. If the Celtics land Love, things will be even more fun. Hard to tell just yet but it looks like at least 6 teams in the conference will be better than last year.

    p.s. Glad there are other McRoberts fan boys out there.

    • LuckyMystery

      I was saying for awhile I hoped they signed McRoberts to start so they could move Amir to the bench. What can you do.

    • jjdynomite

      Yup, McRoberts is quality — he has really grown as a facilitator, 4.3 APG from the forward spot, woot! — but it was pretty much him or 2Pat as the 2nd PF in terms of $ spent, and 2Pat is a full 2 years younger and is a known quantity in terms of fitting within the team’s scheme, especially defensively.

  • OakTree

    I’m with William Lou. The Heat will be good next year.

    Their big man rotation consists of Bosh, McRoberts, Anderson, and Haslem. That’s pretty good, and they have two guys there that can run the offense from the high post.

    Their wings are Deng, Wade, Granger. Again, that’s pretty good. The decline of Wade has been greatly exaggerated. If they get a mostly healthy Wade playing with a chip on his shoulder, then that’s very good.

    Their guards aren’t great but as long as they can D up and hit shots there are enough shot creators at other positions to compensate for lack of a true point guard.

    That looks like a good team to me. Lots of talent, experience, and not too many flaws. They’re the best team in the east until someone unseats them.

    I think that Cleveland will take a little while to figure things out, so I don’t think they’re the favorites to win the east. They’re just far too young. Though, in seasons to come I really like the Cavs – they could be a dynasty.

    For me it’s between Miami, Chicago and Toronto for the best record in the east. The dark horse is Indiana – for all their flaws they should still be elite defensively.

    • jjdynomite

      Dude: Andersen, Haslem, Granger and, yes, Wade, can all play barely enough sustained minutes to be effective. You are asking a fair bit from a 30-year-old CB4, who has played the majority of the last 3 years away from the basket. And he has tonnes of playoff mileage on him — as does the rest of the team. McRoberts is the only guy you listed in his prime.

      No, the Heat are not “the best team in the east until someone unseats them” simply because they lost the best all-around player the NBA has seen in quite some time. I’ll eat my words next April if you’re right, but they are trending downwards — their best players are hitting 30 like Deng and Bosh — and it’s really hard to argue otherwise.

  • redstar91

    no injuries for raps = 1st in the east

  • Sheptor

    Y’all Crazy…here it is assuming all players are healthy for every team i.e Rose/Rondo
    1. Bulls
    2. Raptors
    3. Wizards
    4. Cavaliers
    5. Pacers
    6. Hornets
    7. Knicks
    8. Heat/Hawks/Nets/Celtics

    I know my shit. Bulls with a healthy Rose will win Central, maybe not by much but they should win. Raptors win Atlantic easily and finish with a better record than the Wizards. Wizards win the southeast marginally over the Hornets who continue to improve with their additions. Cavaliers have next best record in the East and maybe even better than Washington but Bulls win about 56 games next year for first. Pacers still show they are a good team and lock the 5th seed. Hornets as I’ve spoken about get a lift from the new franchise name and colors and #buzzcity is the talk of the NBA. Knicks make necessary jump into playoff as Phil Jackson’s presence alone helps them right the ship, and dear I say a Healthy Bargnani wins most Improved player. The last spot is up for grabs to the next best 4 teams. I really still think the Heat are good but Wade, Granger, and Deng are shadows of former self and Bosh can’t handle the extra media attention. Hawks are trash. Nets are trash. Celtics are my dark horse next year. I think they could sneak in kinda the way Charlotte did last year. EVERYTHING rides on Rondo however. DONE!

    • afrocarter

      Healthy Bargs for MIP?! This has me seriously questioning your “I know my shit” declaration.

      • LuckyMystery

        That’s what had you questioning his I know my shit claim. I was questioning it when he made a claim that he knows his shit. It’s like every guilty criminal claiming their innocence.

    • jjdynomite

      As a play on the most grammatically incorrect phrase found on the Internet: you do know you’re shit.

    • Alex Vostrikov

      bargnani as MIP? all bargs is good at is riding colangelo’s manhood. he is playing on the wrong team to make an impact. nope, “phil” cant change that.
      Atlanta with healthy horford is better than raps… their team is build like one.
      and Celtics can be better with out rondo. rondo has STAR disease, and with out his X playmates, he is average at most. rondo needs a few stars to be affective.
      and Miami….. you cant replace labron, but they can definitely win their division, and make noise.

  • jvuc

    In terms of injuries what would most impair the ability to qualify for playoffs. My guess is Lowry or JV and maybe an injurty ot Amir would knock us out of playoff contention.

  • Alex Vostrikov

    Miami and Indiana will more than likely top 5…regardless of their losses. lance will be easily replaced…. labron-less Miami have already stronger bench… by a mile. bosh will get to his 24pts+ and 10reb+…. yes, he is that good, and much better than he was with TO.
    Toronto will have to play their @sses off, to match last year. problem is, every team improved…. Toronto, is aiming for improvement within organization….. the thing is, how much better can lowry/derozan get????
    PF position is still weak, production wise…. no one can complain about character at the position.
    SF is still weak. again, great guys (because their are our own), but definitely just average.
    val is definitely going the right direction, but more than likely casey has no plans/plays for him. he is there to attack the first 3 min, then find your own the next 2 qtrs… then get benched if anything goes wrong in any play…. then relax until next game. ridiculous strategy. PS… he was the one guy who could destroy nets on his own….
    bench is good (and very expensive)… but again, if not considering injuries, will see limited minutes.
    Toronto will have a chance to win the division….. if other teams stay put. but nothing more than 4th and first round exit.

  • mountio

    Im shocked at the disrespect for Indy. I realize they self destructed in the 2nd half, but they still made the conference finals and have some very good players (PG in particular). They are a top 4 team and for sure ahead of ATL and Char, among others. I think Char misses the playoffs, Miami might and Indy and Brooklyn both make it for sure

  • BramptonCanadianProspects

    1. Bulls
    2. Heat
    3. Cavs (Number #1 if they acquire KLove)
    4. Raptors
    5. Pacers
    6. Wizards
    7. Knicks
    8. Pistons

    • feylines

      dont sleep on the hornets. lance stephenson’s value was artificially depressed after earblowgate

      • BramptonCanadianProspects

        Lool! but i really believe in Melo and Drummond next season, for some reason i think they’ll pull through. I would have hornets at 9th though

  • EDD

    TOP 5? Porbably 3 in terms of podcast…. They are simple, coordinated, organized, informed…. Excellent work