Christmas is coming a little early for all of us NBA fans and I personally cannot wait for the new season to get started! On the latest episode of the Shoot or Pass podcast (OUT NOW), Chevy, Gabe, and I put the spotlight on the NBA Eastern Conference. Additionally, we put a little twist on POWER RANKINGS, nominating each of the teams out East to five fun, original TIERS.
Check out Chevy’s NBA Eastern Conference – Early 2020-2021 Preseason Power Rankings here!
Here are the five NBA Eastern Conference Tiers and the teams I am nominating to each one!
THE BOTTOM FEEDERS
Irrelevant teams no one cares about
Cleveland Cavaliers – I have absolutely nothing to say about this team. NEXT!
Detroit Pistons – Had a decent draft, brought in Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee. To add, they also brought in a couple of guys people regard as draft busts in Josh Jackson & Jahlil Okafor. I suppose Troy Weaver deserves an “A” for effort here.
New York Knicks – I want be the first to congratulate the New York Knicks on NOT being the bottom bitch this year, as that title goes to the Cavs. The greatest thing Leon Rose is doing for this team is…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING noteworthy. So, bravo Leon, BRAVO!
Orlando Magic – They are going to be that team that is not terrible enough to get a top pick in next year’s draft but not good enough to pull off a deep playoff run. The perfect two words to describe this team? REMARKABLY MEDIOCRE.
Chicago Bulls – Considering the way Billy Donovan coached the Thunder in that first round series against the Houston Rockets, the bar isn’t set very high for him and this roster.
THE DUMPSTER FIRES
Teams making headlines for all of the WRONG reasons
Brooklyn Nets – At this rate, I am making some flyers and passing them out to anyone who will take them. I am opening the doors and welcoming everyone to a celebration in June/July and calling it “The Nets Dumpster-Fire party” at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. We can roll a dumpster out, light that shit on fire, and dance around it to the sounds of Jay-Z and Beyonce too. Kyrie Irving is already skipping out on Media Day. Kevin Durant is signing up for new burner accounts. This all REEKS of a dumpster fire and I am digging my heels in on this take!
Charlotte Hornets – Mainly because I want front row seats to the implosion of LaVar Ball. Honestly, that’s really it.
THE SNEAKY GOOD ONES
Teams flying under the radar
Philadelphia 76ers – I do this every year. I just can’t help myself. Am I setting myself up for more disappointment? Probably. But, I believe the Philadelphia 76ers are going to surprise us this year. They’ve got some shooters on this team now and I have to imagine that will bode well for team chemistry. I really think this season Ben Simmons is going to shoot AND make a three. Joel Embiid is going to rise as a potential MVP candidate. And then in true Sixers fashion and under the helm of Doc Rivers, they will blow a 3-1 lead in the playoffs.
Washington Wizards – In a previous episode of the Shoot or Pass podcast after the Seeding Games were over, I predicted the Wizards making the playoffs this year. Did I also predict the John Wall-Russell Westbrook trade? Absolutely not. But, we can just assume I did, right?
Teams whose bullshit I see right through
Atlanta Hawks – While the Hawks did make some big moves this off-season that can certainly get them back to the playoffs, I am not entirely sold on this team. Looking at the roster, you see a ton of great offensive pieces, but don’t they say “defense wins championships”? DEFENSE is the biggest question for this team, particularly in close-out situations and they are just not there yet. I will say they will make the fight for the 8th seed a lot more interesting. This is a play-in tournament ready team in the NBA Eastern Conference.
Indiana Pacers – I am going to call the Pacers the IDLE team. Undoubtedly so, Bubble Warren was a farce and the Miami HEAT proved it in the bubble. Victor Oladipo can shout his loyalty to Indiana from the mountains, but we all know he wants out. Catch him auditioning for other teams by giving them the keys to beat this team night in and night out. Will they make the playoffs? Sure. Can they actually win a game in a playoff series? Sure. But let’s be real, this is not a team in title contention.
Not sure if they cook or clean, but let me tell you how they’ll get this RING
Miami HEAT – The defending Eastern Conference champs re-signed some important pieces, while addressing some key defensive issues with the additions of Avery Bradley and Moe Harkless. In case you missed it, they also got Precious Achiuwa in the NBA Draft. Jimmy Butler is already coming out and telling the media that he has NO TIME for any consolation or concern and is only looking ahead. Reddit folklore says he even took the rear view mirrors off his car. That’s quite the commitment to make in a city where no one can drive for shit. Trust me, I know. I’m one of them. I got my driver’s license at the Hialeah DMV.
Milwaukee Bucks – How successful can this team be with the elephant in the room lurking around for an entire season? Giannis’ response to this will set the tone for the Bucks season. All things considered, this team is still a contender. Jrue Holiday is an upgrade over Eric Bledsoe. There’s some depth there with the other guys they brought in during free agency. What will matter most is how this team competes in the playoffs, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re the top seed again. Vegas seems to agree as well.
Toronto Raptors & Boston Celtics – In my opinion, both of these teams are very similar. They didn’t acquire any big, shiny pieces during free agency. Instead, they unloaded key veterans, appearing to give notice to their young stars that the time is NOW for them to take a leap forward. While I do believe they will be in the playoffs, their playoff runs will rely heavily on how big those leaps are. No pressure, Jayson, Jaylen, Pascal, and Fred!
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Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!
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