1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Key Additions: Mike Dunleavy, Chris Anderson
Key Losses: Matthew Dellavedova, Timofey Mozgov
Are there any surprises here?? The Cavs are riding hot off the back of the greatest finals comeback in NBA history. They have a surging Kyrie Irving who is fast approaching MVP/Yoda status. They now have a relaxed chemistry that could probably melt an iron dildo. They have Kevin Love, the front runner to win defensive player of the year and lastly they have a guy named James Jones, who is going to his 7th consecutive finals and is becoming the undisputed GOAT!
This season the gap is definitely closing, the East is regaining power once again (say that in a Darth Vadar Voice please), but for another year it will be the wine and gold coming out of the East... Lock it in.
2. Boston Celtics
Key Additions: Al Horford, Jaylen Brown (Draft)
Key Losses: Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger
So here it is... Boston have a 52+ win season, they make it to the Eastern Conference Finals and a Brad Stevens gets the coach of the year award... Yeah you heard me!
Celtics were finally able to land a 'star' free agent in Al Horford... A huge upgrade to their Center position and it also means they will have the strong support of his sister Anna Horford on Twitter (Whoa! Get out of the fucking way!). They also have the best defensive young core in the league, and they ain't done making moves just yet... Expect them to make a trade of mass proportion before the February deadline. Ainge has the assets, and he has a will..
3. Toronto Raptors
Key Additions: Jared Sullinger
Key Losses: Bismack Biyombo, James Johnson, Luis Scola
The Raptors are bringing back most of their key guys.. Except for Bismack Biyombo, who basically priced himself out of the team after his gallant breakout performance in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals..
Toronto haven't really added much but they have managed to keep their main core intact. Re-signing Demar Derozan was a big free agency win for them. They also (arguably) have the greatest home court advantage at the Air Canada Centre. They love airing scenes of Jurassic Park on the big screen before the games and at half time. Channeling their inner Chris Bosh! Raptors be Raptors.
4. Indiana Pacers
Key Additions: Al Jefferson, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Jeremy Evans
Key Losses: George Hill, Solomon Hill, Ian Mahimi
Somebody throw Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard a bone! This new look Pacers team is going to be hot property and the unspoken dark-horse of the Eastern Conference. They started the summer with the controversial decision to oust head coach Frank Vogel and replace him with assistant coach Nate McMillian.... But as we all know assistant coaches are the business at the moment (just ask the Cavs).
The Pacers mindset in the off-season was to surround Paul George with more offensive weapons and that's exactly what they have done. They upgraded the point guard position by replacing George Hill for Jeff Teague, and they had a front court overhaul, replacing George Hill, Solomon Hill and Ian Mahimi for the likes of Al Jefferson, Thaddeus Young and Jeremy Evans.... Well played Larry Bird.
5. New York Knicks
Key Additions: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, Justin Holiday
Key Losses: Langston Galloway, Aaron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant
Hey look it's the 'we can win 82 games - Super Team Knicks!'
This team is hands down the biggest question mark heading into the 2016-17 season. Can this weird experiment pay off for Phil Jackson?? Or are we just going to enjoy the circus of past prime talent?
On paper (and in theory) this team should be no question a 45+ win team.. But I guess the mother of all truths is can this roster stay healthy? What version of Derrick Rose do we get? Does Jeff Hornacek even know what a fucking triangle offense is!? It is the team of great unknowns... but hey, cheers Phil Jackson for (at worst) making the Knicks watchable again!
6. Detroit Pistons
Key Additions: Ish Smith, Boban Marjonovic, Henry Ellenson (Draft), Jon Leuer
Key Losses: Anthony Tolliver, Jodie Meeks
The Detroit Pistons are surging. They willed their way to the 8th seed in 2016, making their first playoff appearance since 2009, and whilst they swept by the Cavs (as expected), they definitely put the East on notice. This is a team swarming with a versatile core of young talent - Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, KCP, Tobias Harris and Stanley 'Got Balls' Johnson... Headlined by their Lord and Saviour - Stan Van Gundy. Detroit will comfortably slot in to the Top 8 this season, and potentially shake things up in the post season.
7. Chicago Bulls
Key Additions: Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, Denzel Valentine (Draft)
Key Losses: Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Mike Dunleavy, E'Twan Moore, Justin Holiday
So this is where things get really interesting... From the 6th seed all the way down to the 13th seed in the East is pretty much an open slather.. However we have the Bulls making the playoffs whether you agree or not.
Chicago were the laughing stock of the summer (and rightfully so), after basically exploding their long tenured roster to the fucking sky, sending their former MVP Derrick Rose and their former DPOTY Joakim Noah packing with one way tickets to NYC, and then signing a cast of misfits to fill in the missing blanks. Something had to give, and it was always going to be D-Rose or Butler, it was no secret those two guys could no longer co-exist.. But if I'm a Bulls fan, I'm quietly excited with this new look squad.
Dwyane Wade is coming off a strong season, playing the best basketball he has played since 2013. He is going to want to leave his mark as a Bull and in his home town of Chicago.. No one will want to silence the critics more. They also have the additions of Rajon Rondo and Robin Lopez, with the likes of McDermott, Mirotic, Grant and Denzel (Big Shot) Valentine coming off the bench... To say this roster isn't as strong/deep as it was last season is straight blasphemy. It might not be the prettiest of seasons for them, but Chicago are heading to the playoffs once again.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
Key Additions: Matthew Dellavedova, Thon Maker (Draft), Mirza Telectovic, jason Terry
Key Losses: O.J Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Greivis Vasquez
The tight race for the 8th seed will undoubtedly come down to the very last game of the regular season, and we have Bucks edging in for the 8th spot with the Hawks, Hornets, Wizards, Magic and Heat all narrowly missing out.
This season will be Giannis Antetokounmpo's break-out year.... Yep, we are going all in on the Greek Freak. Although he has already been playing at a high level of basketball, this is the season the he flicks the switch into All-Star Status, and carries his team to the playoffs.
The Bucks supporting cast isn't too shabby either.. They have an exceptional young core ofplayers - Kris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Matthew Dellavedova, Greg Monroe, Miles Plumlee and then you throw the new Veterans into the mix - Jason Terry, Mirza Telectovic and Thon Maker (Sorry we had too).
Milwaukees future is bright, and we also just really fucking love Jason Kidd...