1: Cleveland Cavaliers - Not much of a surprise here. They have the best player in the league and the big three of James-Love-Irving should be able to build more chemistry after playing together last year.
2: Indiana Pacers - Did you forget about Paul George? If you did he will quickly remind you why he is the second best player in the conference with a clean bill of health. The loss of Hibbert also won't be as big of a loss (literally and figuratively) as people might think. Myles Turner will fill in nicely.
3: Milwaukee Bucks - If we were doing a draft of rosters in the East, outside of whoever has Lebron, the Bucks might be the first pick. They have a bright future. Jabari Parker won't be as good as advertised this season because it usually takes about two years after surgery to start playing like you pre, but he will still be a force for the Bucks. Greg Monroe will sure up the inside and help them in the rebounding game. The Greek Freak and MCW are great young pieces for Jason Kidd, who surprised a lot of people last season.
4: Atlanta Hawks - Everything landed perfectly into place last season for ATL. I still think they are a good team, but they will not be the number one seed. Like the guys on the roster, but no one really wows me. Still a legit force in the East.
5: Toronto Raptors - Losing Amir Johnson to the Celtics will hurt, but I like the talent north of the boarder. DeMarr DeRozan and Kyle Lowry coupled with DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas on the inside is an intriguing roster.
6: Washington Wizards - Paul Piece taking his talents out west hurts the Wizards, but not in the regular season. If you remember, the playoffs were why Washington brought The Truth there. They should stay the course and be on par to where they were last year.
7: Chicago Bulls - Health just needs to fall the Bulls way and they could be at the near top of this list. Fred Hoiberg seems like a good coach, but I don't know if he can weather the storm like Tibs could.
8: Miami Heat - Justice Winslow, in my opinion, was the steal of the draft and he should be able to contribute early on. Dwayne Wade is another year older and so is Chris Bosh, but there is just too much talent on this roster to keep them out of the playoffs, especially if the injury bug stays away.
9: Boston Celtics - And here we are. Honestly, if Chris Bosh and Paul George were healthy last year for Miami and Indiana, I don't think the Celtics would have made the playoffs and Justice Winslow is probably on this roster. But they did and he isn't. Regardless, I loved what the C's did this offseason bringing back Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko and acquiring Amir Johnson and David Lee via free agency and trade. The draft picks were a bit of a head scratcher, but Marcus Smart with a year under his belt should do this team a whole lot of good. Sullinger seems to have lost weight and Kelly Olynyk seems primed to rip out more peoples shoulders, so that's a plus. Starting or sitting, Isaiah Thomas will be a huge factor as to why this team is fighting for a playoff spot at seasons end and you can't count them out with Brad Stevens at the helm.
10: Orlando Magic - I am a big fan of what Orlando is doing. If things fall right and players mature quicker than expected, they might actually make the playoffs. Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo could be the best backcourt in the conference in a few years and Aaron Gordon looked like a beast in summer league. They resigned Tobias Harris and drafted forward Mario Hezonja who might be the cockiest player in the league already. Orlando could easily jump this ranking.
11: New York Knicks - The Knicks were terrible last year (and I kind of laugh as I remember how actually bad they were while typing this) and they never had any direction. Already you are hearing whispers that they want to trade Carmelo Anthony and fans booed their first round pick in Kristaps Porzingis, but I think they will surprise people next season. They still will not make the playoffs, but they won't be at the very bottom of the East.
12: Charlotte Hornets - I really like this roster with former Celtic Al Jefferson at the 5, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist acting as that solid defender and Kemba Walker running the point. They also added Jeremy Lin and got rid of Lance Stevenson which might be addition by subtraction. They also drafted Frank Kaminsky, who they apparently love so much that they wouldn't budge at number 9 overall, even if Danny Ainge was willing to throw the world at him.
13: Detroit Pistons - They should really be higher than this with the talent on its roster. Sure, Greg Monroe is now a Buck, but the Pistons still have Andre Drummond, Brandon Jennings and Reggie Jackson. There is talent here, but the chemistry is god awful. Not much will change and the Motor City's rebuild will continue to stall.
14: Brooklyn Nets - To Celtics fans delight, Brooklyn will be one of the worst teams in the league next season and the green will be positioned with hopefully a top-five pick. Deron Williams is gone and so is Mason Plumlee. They still have Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, but this team will be brutal to watch next season.
15: Philadelphia 76ers - Jahlil Okafor falling to Philly with the number 3 pick might be the best thing to happen to this franchise in the past 5 years. Unfortunately for them, that won't do anything to change their position in the conference next season.
Follow Tyler on Twitter: @TylerSully
Read more of my work at here Tyler Sullivan 9/18/2015 07:55:00 PM Tweet Edit