As I said way to early.. but its a pretty lazy Sunday afternoon and I broke 90 today... Breaking it up into tiers..So here goes.
Top Tier / Team to Beat
Cavs. The best team money can buy. They still have LeBron and he is still in his prime. What they need to happen to be lead dog in the east is to stay healthy all year. The come to Jesus moment would be any type of an injury to LBJ.
In the Mix / Could be there if everything goes Right. This is in no particular order
Hawks Horford is in a contract year. They have two, count em two really good PG in Schroeder and Teague. Millsap is a pros pro. Slowing them down is the one that got away.... Demarre Carroll.
Whiz Wall and Beal are that good. Gortat is more than adequate in the middle. Porter could build on his playoff coming out party. Jared Dudley adds another solid scorer and a steadying influence in the room. These guys stay healthy and they can challenge for #1 seed.
The Missouri Tier - Show me please. This is in no particular order
Bulls. The band is back intact. However they have a new coach, a new system, new assistant coaches. What isn't new is Derrick Roses knees, Taj Gibsons knees and Joakim Noah's knee. Everyone is also one year older. Jimmy Butler is an ascendant star but is the band good enough ?
Raps. If you believe defense wins in the playoffs then this years edition of the Dino's looks good. We fixed the SF slot and got stronger in the backcourt in a guards league. To challenge the top dog we need to see that next step from the bigs, an especially big step is required from one ice fishing Lithuanian who has to find a consistent 10 to 12 foot jumper. JV has to dump the pump fake and borrow the Nike slogan. Just do it baby. Bizmak has to provide interior rebounding and defense. If the bigs advance so will the Drakes.
Bucks. They get a bona fide inside scoring with their FA coup Greg Monroe. They have some crazy length and athleticism with Giannas and Parker and Henson. Achilles heel is the guards with MCW and GV. MCW is a turnover machine and can't shoot that well. GV will help but he didn't get any faster in a green uni than he was in Raps red. They will be better than last year but jury is still out.
The Overhyped Tier. Just not buying what they are selling. This is in no particular order
Heat. Dragic is good but he is now 30. He likes the night life. He is in South Beach. Bosh is an all star and will be a HOF'er. He also has had blood clots on his lungs. Dwayne Wade is like your windshield with that small crack in it that at any time could just shatter. Winslow is a great get but he is a rook. Rooks don't help that much. They have no bench to speak of. Whats there is old. So please please please lets stop with the jaurernaut from south florida stuff.
Celtics For all the hype and bluster out of ESPN and CBS Danny Ainge really did squat this offseason. Got shut out at the draft. Pretty much got shut out in FA. The band is pretty much back as is with no real impact players coming on stream. They have a good coach. Probably good for a couple of wins that they really shouldn't get. But thats all. In the fight for a 7-8 playoff seed and thats it. Saint Danny better do better than what he did this year at the draft table next year and inking some FA's or there will be some "splaining to do"
The Great Unwashed. Woulda- Coulda - Shouda. This is in no particular order
Indy. Paul George is back. No one else is. Even with Monta Ellis its going to be a tough year for Larry Legends crew.
Nets. They finally unloaded Derron Williams. Only a bit longer to wait on JJ for that albatross deal to go away. Lopez is back and will make them respectable but the turnover has started with a lot of young guys. And just when you think BIlly Knight isn't as big a doofus as he shows.. he signs Primo Pasta.
Pistons Stan got a winner in the draft with Stanley Johnston but he is a rookie. Drummond is now on his own without Monroe and Reggie Jackson gets to run the show. Better than last year but still some pieces away.
Magic. New coach and a lot of talented players. To bad they ALL seem to be on the wing. Guards are great but struggle to shoot the 3. Potential scoring machine in Hezjona but potential is just that. Have to see it a few times to say its real.
Knicks Carmelo is back. Don't know if I am bragging or apologizing. Another long year in Gotham but they are going to field a better team than last years bag of excrement.
Charlotte. Got Nick Batum. Wish we did. Unfortuately for the Hornets they still have Walker, Kidd Ghilcrist and an aging Al Jefferson. Two kids who look exactly the same in Kaminsky and Zeller. More of the same from last year.
Continuing to Suck Large. This is in no particular order
Sixers . As long as Sam Hinkie is GM in Philly the Sixers will continue to suck. Embiid is out for another year. Saric is stuck in Europe. Noel is good but not great. Their first overall pick Okafor would rather be anyplace else. But the future is bright in year 4 of the tank. Its looking bad now and its going to be ugly when the good burghers of Philly realize they have been swindled by Hinkie.