The last post highlighted how the NBA.com writers feel about the Eastern Conference heading into next year. The general consensus seemed to be that the Miami Heat are still the team to beat and that the Pacers, Bulls and Nets rank second, third, and fourth depending on who you ask.
That information isn’t very helpful though unless you look at the changes each team has made and discuss how those changes are going to play a role next season. So let’s go through them team by team.
Miami has pretty much stuck with the status quo which is not a bad thing considering they are back-to-back NBA champions. The loss of Mike Miller will hurt them, but the health of Dwyane Wade will have a bigger impact on them than that next year.
After taking the Heat to a Game 7 last season, this is the sexy pick to finish second in the East next year. Like the Heat, they have pretty much stayed with the status quo. Getting back Danny Granger and an improved bench will certainly help them. They’re banking on their players, such as Paul George, to get better next year and they probably will.
Additions: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Tony Snell (via the draft, 20th overall), Erik Murphy (49th overall).
Subtractions: Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Richard Hamilton, Malcom Thomas.
Re-signed: Nazr Mohammed.
The Bulls biggest addition which by far overshadows anything else they could have done this offseason is just getting a healthy Derrick Rose back. Add him to a team that played great defense last year and bounced the Nets from the playoffs and they easily could be in the top two or three teams in the conference.
NEW YORK KNICKS
Additions: Metta World Peace, C.J. Leslie, Andrea Bargnani (via trade with Raptors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (via the draft, 24th overall).
Subtractions: Chris Copeland, Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, James White, Jason Kidd.
Re-signed: Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin.
Re-signing J.R. Smith, signing the amnestied Metta World Peace, and trading for Andrea Bargnani are solid moves for the Knicks, but the general consensus by everyone not named Spike Lee is that next year’s team will be worse than last year’s and that they have not done enough to keep up with the competition. The loss of Jason Kidd will also hurt them, but I feel like the downfall of the Knicks has been a little overstated since Carmelo Anthony is still in the picture. Don’t be surprised if they can still pull off a 50-win season.
Additions: Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Jared Cunningham, Lucas Nogueira (via the draft, 16th overall), Dennis Schroeder (17th), Mike Muscala (44th).
Subtractions: Zaza Pachulia, Josh Smith.
Re-signed: Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague.
The Hawks are definitely trailing among this group, but replacing Josh Smith with Paul Millsap was a strong move. This team won’t win next year, but they could make some noise and maybe even upset somebody.