Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Conference’

NBA Opening Day: Eastern Conference Preview

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

by Joel Rodriguez




This is how I see everything happening in the regular season.

Eastern Conference:


Cleveland Cavaliers o/u 56.5 wins

Maybe a tiny letdown to start the season as they finally got that elusive title, but no one in the Eastern Conference can challenge them just yet. Maybe the Celtics can in a year or two depending on who they get with Brooklyn’s pick, but not yet.

Over at 58 wins.


Boston Celtics: o/u 52.5 wins

I absolutely hate that I absolutely love how well they play. They share the ball. They have guys who get after you on defense. They play a deep rotation nightly. They have a tremendous coach. They need someone to make Isiah their number 2 or 3 guy though. As long as he is their 1st or 2nd option they can’t take over Cleveland. That is not a knock on Thomas either. He can play. He is just not that guy.

Under at 52 wins


Toronto Raptors o/u 50.5 wins

They get better every single year. That might change this year, but they should still be good enough to land a top 3 or 4 spot in the East. Signing Bismack was a great move. Losing him is going to hurt later in the year. Lowry might regress a little, Jonas might improve some. DeRozan will keep every 90’s basketball fan happy with his mid range jumpers and lack of 3 point shooting.

Under at 50 wins.


Indiana Pacers o/u 44.5 wins

Had a really good offseason as far as acquiring talent on paper. Not sure if Jeff Teague is a good fit for them. He and Monta are a little redundant. They are also going to have some spacing issues, especially when Myles is not on the floor. Still, they have a top 10 player in Paul George and Myles Turner is for real. They should have home court first round.

Over at 48 wins


Atlanta Hawks o/u 43.5 wins

Always underrated in Vegas. Dennis Schroder can ball guys. He is going to be very good. Paul Millsap is on the right team, because he is criminally underrated too. They still have shooting, they still share the ball and Dennis will attack the basket and the opposing PG in a way Teague could not. They might even be a little higher than this. Dwight is as per usual, the too talented to be X Factor, but still the X Factor.

Over at 46 wins.


Detroit Pistons o/u 44.5 wins

If you have ever talked to me about basketball, you know how much I love Reggie Jackson. Him being hurt is going to hurt the team for a bit, but Ish Smith should shoot over 40 percent just enough to keep them afloat until he gets back. They also have Andre Drummond, who is a monster for 3.5 quarters. Tobias Harris should pick up the scoring slack while Reg is gone. Stanley Johnson is money off the bench and KCP might have one more year of improvement in him. This was the toughest team for me to gauge. I can see them anywhere from 3-7. They are a playoff team though. No doubt about it.

Over at 46


Charlotte Hornets o/u 42.5 wins

They have probably the best defensive coach in the EC, if not the NBA. They still have most of their core intact. Losing Lin sucks, but they should still be good. The team is much better offensively when Kaminsky is on the floor. If he can be somewhat competent on defense they are going to be fine. This is where I started to realize the Eastern Conference is pretty good. When I first did this in my head, I had Charlotte a lot higher than this. I can’t justify putting them ahead of these other teams though.

Over at 44.


Orlando Magic o/u 37.5 wins

I think this is the year we see that improvement. I really wish they had a PG who can knock down a jumper, but Elfrid Payton does a lot of things well. They have enough talent to make the playoffs and I believe they will. Trading Vuc for some shooting/firepower can help seal that. They gave Biyombo a bag and traded for Ibaka, who I am assuming they will try and keep. Vuc gotta go. By the way, they need to find a way to not auto correct Ibaka with Obama. That is enough. I can see Milwaukee and Chicago taking this spot too. Orlando didn’t necessarily get better trading Oladipo for Ibaka, I just think this is the year it comes together for them a little bit. Aaron Gordon is a nice breakout candidate too.

Over at 41 wins


Now for the not so good teams:

Chicago Bulls o/u 38.5 wins

These guys are weird. They have decided to completely abandon the pace and space game dominating the league now. Their projected starting 5, Rondo, Wade, Butler, Gibson and Lopez.. None of them outside of Butler can really space the floor and you don’t really want Butler hanging out shooting six 3’s a game either. Wade and Rondo in the backcourt will be interesting to see, too. It is one thing for Wade to play off of LeBron and succeed. Bron is a threat to score and get to the line. It is another thing to play off the ball next to someone who does not look to score. He is also a prime candidate to lose to father time this year, be it by injury or his play… I just do not see it with them making the playoffs. If they do, they will be gone quickly

Over at 39 wins


Miami Heat o/u 34.5 wins

I think this team is a little better than we are giving them credit for. I expect them to run a little more this year with Wade and Bosh gone. Dragic should get a ton of usage and will play well. I can also see Riley deciding to tank, trading Dragic for some expiring deals and getting a high pick in a loaded draft. He has done it before. If they do not do that, I expect them to battle with Chicago and Orlando for a playoff spot. Oh yeah… Whiteside is gonna OD this year with his stat padding.

Over at 39 wins


Milwaukee Bucks o/u 34.5 wins

Milwaukee, Washington and the Knicks can all be interchangeable. I picked Milwaukee first because I want to talk about the “Greek Freak”. He might be my favorite player in the NBA. If he can ever make his jumper respectable, we have a new top 5 player in the league. He is that good. Jabari Parker is also doing his best early Melo impression. Kid is a monster on the blocks and should get better. Teletovic should get all types of minutes on this team too, because they have absolutely no shooting and need spacing to help out Giannis and Parker. They can make the playoffs and mess up all of my predictions. So can Chicago. So can Washington… Middleton being hurt is awful. They were primed for a rebound year but I don’t see it yet. Might be a blessing. A lottery pick to go with Jabari and Giannis might be a bad thing for the East moving forward.

Over at 38 wins.


New York Knicks o/u 38.5 wins

I don’t want to talk about them, but it is only fair. They went out and got guys who will get their last big payday with New York in Lee and Noah. Lee and Afflalo have different styles of play but will have the same type of impact. They are both role players and I do not see Lee adding wins Afflalo couldn’t. Noah wants to be here and he wants this to work. You can tell. The man is a leader and will get the most out of his body and his teammates while he is on the floor. I am just not sure he is good enough anymore to be more than that. Rose is an upgrade from Calderon. He attacks the basket. He gets to the line more. He will help. I just don’t think it is enough for what some of us are expecting. For all of this alleged grit and energy Brandon Jennings brings, it will not mask the fact that he will shoot 35% from the floor this year and take bad shots. It is what he is. KP should get better. Melo should still be good. They are just too risky with injury and do not have the depth to compete yet.

Under at 37 wins.


Washington Wizards O/U 42.5 wins

Man, this team is hard to predict. I love John Wall. I think his knees are failing him though… Slowly. It is not on some epic Derrick Rose kinda deal, but it is happening. If he can somehow develop a catch and shoot game, it will help him immensely. Bradley Beal is going to take about 19 shots per game this year. It is good for his numbers, but it is an indictment on the team. They literally have nothing else. Gortat is good money but aging… Otto Porter has been another Georgetown bust… This team needs a mini blowup.

Under at 34 wins


Brooklyn Nets o/u 20.5 wins

Jeremy Lin is going to put up monster numbers this year. Brook Lopez should get his too and Rondae Hollis Jefferson has the makings of one of those glue guy/big time defensive player on a title team player… But this ain’t no title team. This team is doomed.
I am hoping they stick with Kenny Atkinson though. He has been deserving of a HC job for a long time.

Over at 21 wins


Philadelphia 76ers o/u 24.5

How are they going to win 25 games? I have been looking super foolish on Embiid for a bit now. I am still a believer… He is the truth. If he is over his injury life, he is going to kill and Philly is on to something once Ben gets back… But he will probably have his minutes reduced to start. One more year, Sixer fans.


Western Conference Preview


Joel Rodriguez, for War Room Sports

Green With Envy: Boston Celtics “What-if’s”

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

By Aquil Bayyan

Boston Celtics Defeated

I just want to take a minute to talk about some interesting observations I’ve made as the NBA playoffs come down to its final four teams.  Many people, including the War Room Generals, picked the Boston Celtics to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this year.  Unfortunately for them, they were sent home in 5 games by the Miami Heat.  In noticing the manner of which the Celtics were easily bounced by the Miami Heat, I began to wonder, analyze, pontificate, cerebrate (which means to think, not celebrate), cogitate, evaluate, and even speculate, about what happened to the Boston Celtics this year.

Exhibit A:
Tom Thibodeau used to be an assistant coach and defensive mastermind for the Boston Celtics who went to 2 of the last 3 NBA finals, winning 1 and going pretty far in the playoffs without Kevin Garnett in 2009.  He is now coaching my Chicago Bulls and has led us to 62 wins, the best record in the NBA, and won the NBA Coach of the Year award in the process.  All I have to say is…Tom Thibodeau is still coaching right now.

NBA Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau

Exhibit B:
The NBA player we all know and love, and who probably gets way more attention than he should; Kendrick Perkins.  While we all agree that his skill set is weak and that he is not really as tough as advertised, he has helped his teams to 3 of the last 4 NBA Conference Finals and he still talks to Raon (I left the “J” out on purpose) Rondo every day, for what it’s worth.  All I have to say is…Kendrick is still playing right now.

The most important player in the NBA?

Exhibit C:
Nate Robinson; you all probably forgot that he was playing for the Thunder until you saw J.J. Barea cross his face off and fish-fry-bake “Lil Nate” in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  I remember in last year’s playoffs when “Lil Nate” would come into the game and give the Celtics a lift off the bench, hitting key three pointers, finishing in the lane, all while jumping around, pounding his chest, and screaming while getting the fans fired up.  All I have to say is…Nate is still playing right now.

“Lil Nate”

Exhibit D:
Brian Scalabrine, now you may laugh and wonder why I am even talking about a player who averaged 1.5 points, 1 rebound, 0.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, and 0.2 steals for the Celtics last year, and followed that up with similar solid stats with my Bulls this year.  You can never underestimate the impact of an NBA player in a suit or warm up who has 0% chance of getting into the game, cheering his teammates on.  All I have to say is…Brian is still cheering right now.

The best dressed cheerleader in the league

All this thought has caused me to wonder if the Celtics would still be playing if this coach and these three players were still a part of the team.  I guess we will never know.


Aquil “Quil” Bayyan of The War Room, for War Room Sports

The Miami Heat Are Officially a Problem: How Does It Feel?

Monday, May 16th, 2011

By Roy Burton


This one is for the haters.

For the people who hate LeBron James, despite the fact that he’s one of the best basketball players that you’ve ever seen.  For those who hate Dwyane Wade, who is pretty much just guilty by association at this point.  And even for those who hate Chris Bosh, who swears he’s tough, but in reality comes across as a man who – as Ghostface Killah would say – is softer than baby thighs.

For whatever reason, you may not like Miami’s “Big 3”, and you have every right to do so.  But deep down inside, tucked away in one of those places that you don’t want to talk about, you know the truth.

The Miami Heat are officially a problem.

To all of the haters, doubters and naysayers out there: How does it feel?

How does it feel to know that they’ve finally figured it out?  It took far longer than they (and some of us) expected, despite what they may have said at various points during the season.

But you can’t deny that they’ve turned it up another level this postseason, especially during their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Boston Celtics. 

A team that was routinely criticized as not being clutch came through when they needed to, outscoring the Celtics 55-31 during the 4th quarter and overtime periods of the final two games of the series.

The Miami Heat weren’t passed the torch of Eastern Conference supremacy last week – they ripped it from the Celtics’ old, dead hands.

Most of you don’t want to admit it. Maybe you still have some lingering resentment over “The Decision” (sponsored by Vitamin Water).

We can all agree that it was a poorly managed affair, spearheaded in part by Maverick Carter, who appears to have learned everything he knows about sports management from watching the first two seasons of “Arli$$” on DVD.

But who can blame LeBron for jumping at the chance to go to Miami? As a 26-year-old man, he gets paid an obscene amount of money to work with his friends during the day, and spend his down time enjoying the pleasures of South Beach.  If that’s not the American Dream, then it’s pretty darn close.

That being said, the situation this summer could have been handled better.  10 months later, James realized the error of his ways and apologized for the debacle that was “The Decision” (sponsored by Vitamin Water).  By that time, Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert was done penning missives in Comic Sans font, and busy sifting through the wreckage of a 19-63 season.

Perhaps you’re one of those still upset at the welcoming party/concert announcing the formation of the so-called “3 Kings.”  Shortly after signing the contracts that made their partnership official, James and Wade and Bosh proceeded to pose and preen and peacock their way through the American Airlines arena as they were greeted like rock stars by thousands of adoring Heat fans.

After the laser show ended and the last of the confetti fell from the ceiling, LeBron James made his now infamous “not one, not two, not three…” championship boast, predicting untold success for his new team.

Cocky?  Maybe a little.  But if their recent success is any indication, James might not have been too far off. 

And that bothers you.

It bothers you because your favorite squad probably can’t go the “superteam” route.  I’ve since reconciled the fact that barring an Act of God, my team of choice – the Philadelphia 76ers – can’t come close to a title in the foreseeable future.  I’ve accepted the Sixers’ place in the hierarchy of the NBA and have since moved on.

It might be hard for some people to come to grips with, but the reality is this: for the next few years, the fate of the Eastern Conference – and perhaps the entire NBA – lies in the hands of the Miami Heat.

Back in March, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra mentioned that a couple of his players were crying after the team lost its fourth game in a row.

It’s likely that this summer – and for several summers to come – there will be tears shed in the Miami locker room for an entirely different reason. This time, those tears will be dried with a T-shirt declaring the Miami Heat as the champions of the NBA.

Be mad.


Roy Burton of The Broad Street Line, for War Room Sports

Roy Burton is one of the hosts of “The Broad Street Line”, a weekly sports podcast on Blog Talk Radio (  He also serves as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and is a contributing writer for several other websites as well.  You can follow him on Twitter at @thebsline.

“He’s the best player in the world, and he may not even be the best player on his team!”
– Dan LeBatard on LeBron James