I have the Celtics penciled in as the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The additions of Terry and Lee should bolster the backcourt play. Look for Lee to start with Terry providing scoring off the bench. Jeff Green returns this year after health issues. He can provide some scoring and defense. Sullinger looks like a quality pick in last springs draft. A smart player Sully might surprise. Garnett and Pierce are still the core leaders of this team and despite their advanced ages they will continue to produce. The Celtics will go as far as Rondo takes them. He is a top five point guard in the league and I expect a big year from him as he makes a run to be mentioned in this years MVP debate.
Here are the other playoff teams and contenders from the East.
1. Miami: Lebron has his ring and he will dominate once again. Wade appears to be healthy and Bosh proved his value in last years Finals. Now that Lebron will not be bogged down by playing a position the sky is the limit for the Heat's version of small ball. Ray Allen left Boston because of his ego and will knock down some shots. The Heat/Celtics matchups should be classic as these two teams do not like each other and Allen joining the Heat has only added to the rivalry.
3. Indiana: The Pacers surprised everyone last year. Now the team is marked and it will be interesting to see if they can perform like a season ago. They put alot of faith is George Hill by trading Collison. Will Paul George make the leap and become a star?
4. Chicago: I'm sticking with the Bulls. Rose will be back soon enough. Great coaching and a system philosophy will carry them this year. The bench mob is gone.
5. Atlanta: Josh Smith and Horoford are a great front court. Johnson and his contract are finally gone. Teague, Harris, and Lou Williams will provide scoring and defense on the perimeter.
6. Brooklyn: Looks good on paper. Can't guard anyone. They might impress during the season. Will Deron Williams return to Utah form?
7. Philadelphia: Bynum is hurt. Can he be a #1 on a team? Nick Young cannot replace Lou Williams. Will the Sixers tire of Doug Collins.
8. Knicks: Camby, Thomas, Kidd, and Wallace are senior citizens. Melo is a black hole. Amare is hurt again.
Milwaukee: Will the Ellis and Jennings backcourt work? Both guys are shot first guards.
Detroit: Monroe is great. Drummond had looked good.
Toronto: Bunch of solid players and depth.
Washington: All depends is Wall gets back soon enough.
Cleveland: Probably not but Irving is a star.
Aside from Miami and Boston the East is wide open. Indiana should be a lock. Any of the other teams could really slide. In the end the conference belongs to Miami with Boston giving another strong showing. The Heat/Celtics battles should be epic.
Be back at you will the Western Conference.