A lot has changed in the landscape of the Eastern conference.
Oddschecker | Wednesday 19th October 2016 / 19:37
A lot has changed in the landscape of the Eastern conference. Time to turn our attention to some up and coming teams who may be contending against the Cavaliers when the playoffs come around.
New York Knicks
For such a big name team, they’ve been very disappointing in recent seasons. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs in the last 3 seasons.
That’s all set to change this season. The Knicks, led by their front office figurehead in legendary ex-coach Phil Jackson has made quite a splash this offseason. The Knicks have signed Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee and most importantly Derrick Rose. Add the existing frontcourt pairing of Carmelo Anthony and youngster Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks have suddenly catapulted themselves into playoff contention.
The chemistry may take some time to happen, but with the mix of experienced veterans and young talent, this team has the right balance to be a thorn in Cleveland’s side.
The Bulls struggled mightily last season. Rose’s return from injury seemed to stifle the success that Jimmy Butler was having which played a part in his trade to the Knicks. Pau Gasol was one of the few bright spots last season also but he also walked out of Chi-town.
The Bulls went out and grabbed Rondo, Lopez and Wade. Lopez is a big man who’s renown for being reliable but not one to move the needle too much. Rondo and Wade are two guards players who are well past their prime but have enough experience to potentially guide this Bulls outfit to another playoff berth. And a.
The Bulls lacked willingness on defence last season. With a struggle to adapt to new coach Fred Hoiberg’s style the bulls may be in for a long season. Players like Mirotic, Snell and McDermott need to step it up this season.
Indiana should be a force to be reckoned with this year. With Paul George back for a full season, the team should improve on last years’ 7th place finish.
The Pacers have bolstered their ranks with the additions of Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Aaron Brooks and most importantly, Al Jefferson from the Hornets.
The team is expected to decline a bit on the defensive end, but with some solid starters across the floor, Indiana should be contending for the 4th position come playoff time.
Boston will finish in the Top 3 of the Eastern Conference. You can take that to the bank right now. They’re strong on defence, they’ve kept the same young core, and they have a likeable, dynamic young coach in Brad Stevens. Boston’s signing of Al Horford was a big addition who’ll help shoulder the scoring load previously heaped onto Isaiah Thomas.
Boston epitomize the idea that working as a team equals more than the sum of its parts. They play unselfish, team-oriented basketball which is why they’re a shoo-in for the playoffs. One problem though, they lack a true superstar. They were absolutely in the running for the Kevin Durant sweepstakes but fell short at the 11th hour. They’ll need a true superstar like Westbrook if they really want to be a force for years to come.
Eastern conference future bet:
Jump on the Pacers over 44.5. This is a squad that’s been together for a while now. The addition of Teague who is a pass first point guard will help facilitate the weapons this team has. Thad Young played surprisingly well last year as well as the emergence of young Myles Turner. The addition of big Al Jefferson wont hurt them either. Paul George is a superstar and with this supporting cast can build off the 45 wins the team picked up last year.