Donny’s NBA 2012-2013 Eastern Conference Teams Preview

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Hey Hoop Fans, Donny Sports is back with your NBA Teams Preview for the coming season.

It’s been a long summer and Lebron and his Miami Heat have been sitting comfortably on their NBA throne and just enjoying the limelight that comes with winning your first championship. I’m happy LeBron finally got his championship. He is way too talented to not get a ring.

In the off season, the basketball gods decided to level the playing field for the the West when the Lakers acquired giant Dwight Howard and Canadian point guard Steve Nash to help Kobe get another ring. So now the Heat have a potential contender for the title. The Knicks had a burst of hope last season with Jeremy Lin’s spectacular run so naturally he resigned with the Rockets, because that’s how the Knicks do business. I wonder if the Knicks are just playing a constantly running inside joke on the world.

This season is exciting mainly because of the potential for a Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers championship showdown. The Thunder are not be be ignored either and just might make it back to the finals.

In this edition we’ll start with the Eastern Conference and the next edition will cover the Western Conference teams.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Miami Heat
The champions have wisely left their team mostly intact. Why tinker with something if it works? Not much has changed for this team, except the arrival of Ray Allen 3 point specialist from the Celtics. Allen is older no doubt, but I think he is a perfect fit for Miami. Miami has Bosh and LeBron as their taller players. Battier shoots the 3 well, but was really the only 3 point shooter. Although he is a good shooter I think he got hot at just the right time last year. Allen won’t have to work as hard physically so with Bosh, Wade, and LeBron kicking the ball out, our senior citizen should be able to drop the 3 comfortably without being too gassed. Wade lost his contract with the Nike Jordan brand and this is a sign of many things. Wade is simply deteriorating so each year expect him to play worse or at least not bring his A game more often. Wade doesn’t have much to prove. He already has 2 title rings and everyone knows how good he can be. If it weren’t for LeBron, last years champs would have been the Thunder. Having said all this I expect Miami to win another title this year. LeBron with the addition of Allen and the confidence boost of a title will play with more poise and experience. LeBron has had no injuries so he will continue to light it up from all corners. Miami’s bench is unspectacular but they just have to play well enough. Even though the Lakers are more stacked, I think the youth of LeBron and Bosh and to a degree Wade will outweigh the Laker’s age.

Boston Celtics
The Celtics lost Ray Allen to the Heat. Allen was upset and felt disrespected when he lost his starting job to a younger and promising Avery Bradley. This is still a top NBA team and Pierce and Garnett still have game. Rondo and Green will round out the starters making Boston a pretty stacked team. They also added Jason Terry over the summer. Terry is not only a great 3 point shooter but he can score other ways as well. Brandon Bass and Jason Collins (7 footer) are the big men for this team. The Celtics will make the playoffs and will certainly contend. You should never could out the experience and toughness of Pierce and Garnett. However if they meet the Heat again, they will probably lose. Boston is a year or two from dismantling their entire roster, so if they get into the playoffs it will make the fans happy.

Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn formerly New Jersey Nets are mediocre as a team. Deron Williams heads the team and other starters are Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez, and Kris Humphries. If this doesn’t excite you enough, how about we add Andray Blatche, otherwise known as The Walking Jinx. Any team that is desperate enough to sign a player that the Washington Wizards consider a liability is automatically disqualified from the post season. Gerald Wallace is a very good player and he will be wasted unless he’s traded to the Lakers or some other contender. Deron Williams is a star but he is not a superstar. On the bright side, they’ll have a new arena and new fans. If the Nets play better than the Knicks then the season is not a loss.

New York Knicks
It’s too bad the Knicks let Lin go. Seems it was a personal thing. Knicks owner Dolan felt betrayed that Lin went and talked to Houston. Perhaps Lin was just taking care of business, but Dolan took this as a slap in the face. Lin overall is not the superstar that will save this organization, but he was definitely a positive thing for the whole Knicks organization and the fans that are interested in Lin. So what we’re left with is a bunch of old guys and Carmelo. Carmelo is a great player, but his confidence is shaken a bit. It’s not his fault that the Knicks are so bad, but his flaws are magnified in the New York lights. Stoudemire has had injuries and a big guy like that will have knee problems as he gets older. Stoudemire will play well, but his health will deteriorate, making him miss time. Tyson Chandler will continue to play as well as he can as he is in his prime and was defensive player of the year. Jason Kidd is in New York, but again he’s just getting too old. Raymond Felton was brought in to replace Lin. Felton got fat, and has been on the New York train before, so what will make this year any different for him? Expect more losses for the Knicks this year. It will be interesting to see the game between Lin and the Rockets and New York.

Toronto Raptors
Our most beloved Raptors will not make the post season this year and they also won’t make it next year. The Raptors still have Bargnani and Calderon. They got Kyle Lowrie who is a better than average point guard. They also paid $20 million on a 3 year deal to acquire Landry Fields from the New York Knicks. In comparison, Jeremy Lin’s deal of $25 million for 3 years was too rich for the Knicks, but the Raptors thought what the heck, let’s blow all this dough on Landry Fields. This is the same Landry who was on last year’s dismal Knicks team. They also have rookie dark horse sensation Jonas Valaciunas hailing from Lithuania. JV for short looks like he could be a quick tall man with intelligent play. He will need to use his quickness against the players of the NBA though. Demar Derozen will be solid and should continue to improve. He’ll make a good trade bait. The Raptors always play well at home and we expect more of the same this year.

Philadelphia Sixers
The Sixers now have Andrew Bynum. Andre Iguodala is gone and so is Elton Brand. The Sixers will do okay this season. It’s dependent on how disciplined they play. I think the loss of Iguodala is good and bad. For years he hasn’t really defined himself, but he was still a force on the Sixers. Bynum is a 7 feet giant, but will he play like one? I don’t know if Bynum will make a difference in Philly. The Sixers need Allen Iverson back. If only we had the technology to recreate Iverson in his prime. I still expect the Sixers to make the playoffs because of the weak Eastern conference. They are a well disciplined team and will beat up on weaker teams, but don’t have the ooomph to get far in the playoffs.

Chicago Bulls
Da Bulls will begin their decline this year. This is largely due to the loss of Derrick Rose. Rose went down with a knee injury and will be out till January. The knee is a very hard component to replace or repair on an athlete. You could staple and replace joints all you want, but God’s invention of the knee is so complex that it will never be the same. Rose was a great player and even if he comes back it won’t be long before he will get injured again. Without Rose, the Bulls will slip back a bit and will lose their elite team status. They got Kirk Hinrich back though. I’m a big fan of Hinrich while he played in Chicago. When he left he didn’t do better and I think he belongs back here with the Bulls.

Atlanta Hawks
This team I hate. Hate is a strong word, so maybe annoy fits the bill. The Hawks annoy me. They are like the kid who has so much natural talent but is too cool to give a damn. If they win, it’s like – whatever. If they lose, it’s like – whatever. Joe Johnson took his $100 million contract and left for Brooklyn. They now have a nice talented crop of players including Al Horford, Josh Smith, DeShawn Stevenson, Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Devin Harris, and Kyle Korver. This makes them only team in the NBA that will shoot jumpers for all of their points. Well that’s if they feel like it. I think I know why the Hawks annoy me so much, they might be the hipster version of the NBA. They’ll get to the playoffs – but fashionably late. If they meet Miami though, they’ll proclaim that winning is overrated and that you should check out the new album by SlapHamsterMoe.

Cleveland Cavaliers
“I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘king’ wins one.” This is the line Dan Gilbert, Cavaliers owner keeps hearing in his head at 3 in the morning. But it’s okay Dan when you love someone so much, you will say stupid things. It’s a bit of anger, resentment, and a feeling of betrayal and mostly the booze was talking. I’ll have to keep an eye on the Cavaliers. They have no expectations and have also lost some key players. Antawn Jamison is gone and so is Anthony Parker. What is exciting and promising about this team is Kyle Irving. Last year he was great, this year he’s only going to go up as he gains more NBA experience. Tristan Thompson, our boy from Burlington will also do better this year. Personally I think they will have a better record than the Raptors. The Cavs are doomed to lose, but management should have tried harder to get a big time player to run with Irving. No one got signed that is worth mentioning otherwise.

Charlotte Bobcats
I don’t exactly know what Michael Jordan is doing with the Bobcats. His Air-ness was the undisputed best player ever on the basketball court, but in the front office, he has made very questionable decisions (example Kwame Brown). The Bobcats have not won for a while and this year it will be the same old. The last great player they had (Gerald Wallace who is with the Brooklyn Nets now) they traded away. Now it’s just a bunch of scrubs. Notable players on the team are Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions. If that doesn’t get you excited, well that just means you have some common sense. Of course Kemba Walker is their star point guard, who is still learning the game. As much as I despise Raptors management for putting out a crappy Euro team every year, I’m starting to think Charlotte is even worse. Charlotte needs a makeover or they should just leave the NBA permanently.

Orlando Magic
The “magic” is gone from Orlando. Dwight Howard got sick of losing and pulled a LeBron. He packed his bags, put on his cape, and high tailed it to LA to join Black Mamba and Stevie Nash. I almost feel sorry for the Magic, but any hint of sympathy quickly dissipates when I see that they kept Turkoglu on the roster. If you remember how Turkoglu got paid millions to sit on the bench in Toronto, then you would know that the Magic are just as stupid as Raptors management. Even though the Magic are decimated, they still have some good players that will keep them a winning team in the Eastern Conference. Remember this is the Eastern Conference so you don’t need that much talent to make it to the playoffs. J.J. Redick, Aaron Afflalo, Glen Rice, Al Harrington and Jameer Nelson are notables on this team. Ryan Anderson who had a great year with his 3 point shooting also left town. The Magic need a good draft pick or a quality player to get back into elite category. The good news for Orlando is that they are in the sunny part of the USA so attracting talent shouldn’t be too hard. This year though, they aren’t going anywhere special.

Milwaukee Bucks
I’m very excited for the Bucks because this year they will no doubt make the playoffs. They are stronger than ever and boast several great players. Brandon Jenning, Monta Ellis, Ersan Illyasova, Samuel Dalembert, Mike Dunleavy, Drew Gooden are just some of the players they will be running with. This will be a high scoring team and they will continue to play no defense. Yes they will make the playoffs but that’s about it. If they get past round 1, they won’t make it beyond. If they face the Heat or Chicago or the old guys (Celtics) they will bow out quietly. The Buck should be proud nevertheless. If they keep their roster and add quality players bit by bit, they will be a good Eastern team.

Detroit Piston
The Pistons won a championship in 2004, so they’re good for at least 10 more years. See its when a team hasn’t won in 25 years and up, then that is what you call hopeless. Tayshaun Prince is possibly the only guy left from that championship team. These days it’s just a bunch of younger and unproven talent. Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell, and Brandon Knight are going to be the top drawer talent for this team. Detroit is rebuilding and I think everyone is okay with that.

Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are a hard working team and for that I commend them. Every year they get better. The Pacers work ethic remind me of the Americans of the heartland – honestly proud, strong, and resilient. They made it to the playoffs and beat Orlando and falling only to the Miami Heat. Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, George Hill and Paul George are some of the young talent that round out this athletic crew. David West is the old man on this team. So it looks like another trip to the playoffs. The Pacers will be reliable in beating weaker teams, and will even pull upsets on supposedly better teams.

Washington Wizards
And for the last team of the Eastern Conference we focus on the Wizards – the permanent underdog. The good news is Andray Blatche doesn’t play for them anymore. The Brooklyn Nets got suckered into signing him. The bad news is they will still suck. John Wall, Emeka Okafor, Nene, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster, and 3rd draft pick Bradley Beal are featured on this squad. Not much is going to change, they will lose again and again. They will have little defense and worse offense. Ariza and Webster will help with 3 point shooting, but what’s the point anyway?