It’s now October, which means the NBA Pre-Season has started. Teams have new players, which were gained by either the draft or free agency. Some teams have gained a lot this off-season and others have lost a lot also. With every new NBA season comes the same question as to who people think are the top teams heading into the new season. In my opinion these are the Top 5 Teams in the Eastern Conference for the start of the 2010-2011 NBA Season.
5). Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks were eliminated by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs. The Hawks have a new head coach this season. At the end of the last season they decided not to renew Mike Woodson and hired Larry Drew to replace him. The Hawks didn’t have any big signings this off-season but they did retain their core rotation. You can expect the Hawks to be leaded by Joe Johnson as they were last year. Johnson averaged 21.3 PPG and 4.9 APG last season. The Hawks had 5 players average over 10 PPG last season but the rest of the team with exception of Mike Bibby averaged less than 6 PPG each. The Hawks starting 5 are very talents players but their lack of depth will be one of their biggest problems this year.
4). Chicago Bulls. The Bulls squeezed into the playoffs last year at the number 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. They fired Head Coach Vinny Del Negro back in May and have hired Tom Thibodeau to take over. Thibodeau had been the Boston Celtics Assistant Head Coach for the past three years. He is sure to bring a new mind set to this young Bulls team. The Bulls are lead by their young explosive point guard Derrick Rose. Rose averaged 20.8 PPG and 6.0 APG last season and I can only see him getting better with the new additions made to the team. Over the off-season the Bulls have acquired two-time All-Star Carlos Boozer, Kyle Kover, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson. Boozer averaged a double-double last season with the Utah Jazz: 19.5 PPG and 11.2 RPG. He adds a much needed scorer in the front court to go alone with high energy player Joakim Noah. Kover, Brewer, Watson also add much needed depth to the team that it was missing last season.
3).Orlando Magic. The Magic went deep into the playoffs last season, making it to the Conference Finals. They were eliminated by the Celtics in 6 games after not having lost a game in the previous two rounds. The Magic made no big moves during the off-season. The Magic still have arguably the best Center in the NBA in Dwight Howard. Howard averaged 18.3 PPG, 13.2 RPG and 2.8 BPG last season. Vince Carter showed some glimpses of his old self last year. Also the Magic have one of the top 5 Point Guards in Jameer Nelson. During the playoffs Nelson upped his game by averaging 19.0 PPG and 4.8 APG. The Magic should not be underestimated this just because other team in the east have made some big moves.
2).Miami Heat. The Heat were eliminated in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference Champions the Boston Celtics. The Heat made the biggest splash this off-season by signing two All-Stars in LeBron James and Chris Bosh. They also re-signed Dwyane Wade to form the New Big Three in the East. All three players averaged more than 20 points a game last year. They also signed veteran players Mike Miller, Zydrunas Llgauskas, Eddie House and Juwan Howard. The reason the Heat aren’t the top team in the East is because they only have 6 players returning from last season’s team. This team has a lot to live up to and only a Championship will be acceptable for many. By being the big winner of the off-season, this team will go through some hard times during the season as they learn to play together but with that being said I do see them going deep into the playoffs. This team will win at least one Championship but I don’t think it will be this year.
1).Boston Celtics. The Celtics made it to the NBA Finals but lost to the Lakers last season. Boston still has the original Big Three in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. The Big Three are another year older but last year the star of the Celtics was neither of them but Point Guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo showed during the playoffs that he is one of the top Point Guards in the NBA. He averaged 15.8 PPG and 9.3 APG during the playoffs. With the retirement of Rasheed Wallace they signed Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal to help out Kendrick Perkins at center. The Celtics are the top team in the East because they have shown they can win and with of the two O’Neals(especially Shaq) they have add size to match up better with teams that have a lot of size such as the Lakers. I see them making it to the Finals and it will all depend on if the older players on the team can stay healthy and how well the Miami Heat mesh.
Thank you for reading my Top 5 Eastern Conference Teams for the 2010-2011 Season and you should also read my thoughts on who are the Top 5 Western Conference Teams.