With the start of the 2010-2011 NBA season less than two months away, it will be interesting to see which teams come of out of their respective conferences to play for the NBA crown. Here are a list of the top four teams from the Eastern Conference.
This pick may be a surprise to most being that the Miami Heat acquired James and Bosh during the off-season. However, the Celtics have beaten a LeBron James-led team twice in the playoffs (2008 and 2010), and eliminated the Wade’s Heat in the first round of 2010 playoffs as well. When the Celtics are healthy, they are a tough team to beat because of their team defense on some of the league’s biggest superstars and their ability to score both in transition and within the half-court set as well. The addition of both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal, should help give the Celtics an added defensive dimension in the paint.
For obvious reasons, Miami would have to be the number two in the East being that they did not top the list. The Heat will have no problem scoring and they have done a decent job of surrounding their talented trio with role players who can knock down shots from the perimeter. What will be interesting to see is how long it will take for the team to gel. Having all the talent in the world on your roster doesn’t mean anything if the team is not capable of playing well together.
The Orlando Magic are one year removed from an NBA Finals appearance and have defeated both the Celtics and the Cavaliers in the playoffs en route to their run as Eastern Conference Champions in 2009. As long as Dwight Howard continues to improve with his inside game and Jameer Nelson remains a constant at the point-guard position, look for the Magic to be right there in the hunt again this season as well.
The Bulls are one of the youngest teams in the conference and they are hungry to take that next step. All-star point guard Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have emerged as the teams’ premier superstars and with the addition of Carlos Boozer, they will have a power-forward who can score and rebound for the first time since Horace Grant departed for Orlando following the 1993-1994 season. While the draft-day deal that sent Kirk Henrich to the Wizards left the Bulls a bit depleted at the shooting-guard position, the signing Kyle Korver will hopefully help fill some of that void.
While the Miami Heat have the best team on paper, the Eastern Conference is just as wide open as it has been in previous seasons. It will be interesting to see if the Heat will runaway with the top spot as many have already predicted or will another team knock them off along the way. Stay tuned!