2007 NBA Eastern Conference Preview

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NBA Basketball Matchup Analysis
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Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are a team with too many players, with no certainty who plays what position. On the bright side the Hawks picked up draft pick Al Hoford who’s considered one of the most talented players coming out of the draft. They’ll likely give 11th pick Acie Lawa chance to come off the bench. The Hawks are going to be a team with a lot of young players with no veteran leadership.

Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are reborn this year. The sad and depressed Paul Pierce now has some much needed help from Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.The Celtics gave up a total of eight players and two draft picks to land Garnett and Allen. The down side to Allen and Garnet is that there prone to injury. Last season both players missed a combined 62 games,and with the Celtics having dealt away eight players they won’t have the depth on the bench. Look for newly signed backup forward James Posey to add some defense and perimeter shooting off the bench.

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t do anything during the offseason to help out LeBron James. One thing that was clear about the Cavs in the Playoffs was that LeBron had to do all the work. He was a very unselfish player during the regular season, which is why half the team has goodstats, but when it came time to the Playoffs they faded. Zydrunus IIgauskas did well and it will be interesting to see how he does this season,given his age.

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Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls failed to pick up a power forward in the offseason but still boasts one of the best defenses in the NBA. Ben Gordon and Loul Deng had career best season’s last year and they’ll now be joined by veteran Joe Smith. Smith will be a nice addition off the bench when their starting players take a breather. The Bulls have extra money under the cap to make a late season acquisition. Ben Wallace has been dropping in his stats and will need to have an improved season this year.

Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats will have a talented young roster this year. Jason Richardson was acquired from Golden State to work alongside Gerald Wallace,which should create an explosive starting lineup. Adam Morrison had a dismal shooting year in 06’ and will need to improve but his health may come into question. Unfortunately the Bobcats don’t have good players on the bench who can fill in for tired players. They won’t be a threat in the East with teams like Detroit and Miami.

Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Piston still bring a talented team into the 07’ season regardless off a quite off season. Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace,Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince will all be back. Chris Webber’s position at center will be replaced by Nazr Mohammed, after he showed his skills last year in the Playoffs. The signing of Jarvis Hayes from the Wizards should help off the bench, as well as Rodney Stuckey who capable of contributing right away. Expect the Pistons to be another competitor in the East for the Division Title.

Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers have gone from contenders to blunderers. Jermaine O’Neal is their only decent player with no help in sight. You would think a player of his caliber would attract other quality players. O’Neal may want out if all goes sour. Danny Granger is still a couple years away from being their key franchise player. Mike Dunleavy is overrated and needs to step or ship out. There have been lots of trade rumors about O’Neal, but nothing’s happened yet. The Lakers are the most current team to show interest. How about Odom and Bynum for O’Neal? The Pacers are going to be horrible this year.

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Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is slowly slipping away in the East. Shaq isn’t what he once was and he is no longer the best center in the League.Dwayne Wade has been plagued with injuries and the rest of the bench can’t put in baskets like Wade. Jason Kapono and Eddie Jones have left the Heat and James Posey is being shopped around, he’s their only trade bait. Shaq will be teaming up with old teammate Penny Hardaway.Don’t start jumping for joy yet, he’s been plagued by injuries that should’ve just ended his career. Newly signed guard Smush Parker will back up Jason Williams and draft Daequan Cook will come off the bench for D.Wade.

Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks should have a much better season this year, after last year’s injury prone season. They had six key players out for double digit days. Star guard Michael Redd will be returning as well as Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric, Bobby Simmons, Charlie Villanueva and Mo Williams. If all stay healthy they’ll have more than enough raw talent. The Bucks have signed Chinese phenom Yi Jianlian after many difficulties. It seems that his handlers want him to play for a more marketable team and are trying to hold out. Either way the Bucks will have a successful season.

New Jersey Nets
The New Jersey Nets made some improvements in the offseason by acquiring big man Jamaal Magloire. Jason Kidd returns for his 13th season on the Nets, his numbers have been slipping every year since 02’ bu the brings more to the table than just points. He’s like a magician on the court with the ball, spoon feeding his teammates. Vince Carter squashed any trade rumors over the offseason by re-signing with the Nets. They also picked up draft pick Sean Williams, he’s a hot shotshot blocker. They should go much farther into the Playoffs this year.

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New York Knicks
The New York Knicks biggest signing in the offseason was power forward Zach Randolph. He was acquired after the Nets released the useless and expensive Steve Francis. The Nets defense last year was pitiful and should be this year again with E.Curry and Z.Randolph blocking shots.Stephon Marbury returns as well as Jamal Crawford. No need to worry about the Knicks, they still can’t make the playoffs in the East.

Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic picked up, Rashard Lewis, as a much needed outside shooter. Lewis will be a nice addition to the Magic’s offense along with up and comer Dwight Howard. Darko Milicic will be sorely missed but Lewis will be just fine at small forward. The Magic don’t have any more money after the signing of Lewis, so don’t expect any trades. While every team in the East got better, the Magic stayed average.

Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers did surprisingly well without A. Iverson last year, even though they missed the playoffs. The 76ers best player was Andre Iguodala and newly acquired Andre Miller turned out to be a great player. Louis Williams and rookie Thaddeus Young will be an exciting and entertaining addition to the 76ers. Veteran Jason Smith has left the team and rookie Jason Smith will have a big void to fill. It may take some time before the 76ers are back into the Playoffs.

Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are looking hot this season. Chris Bosh was a key player for them and their stacking the team to get him some help. Where do you find great players for cheap? You go national. The Raptors will have nine European players on the roster this season. Hot shot shooter Jason Kapono joins the Raptors. T.J. Ford and Jose Calseron helped to make the Raptors run-n-gun offense. People are putting the Raptors out of the Atlantic already because of the Boston Celtics. We’ll see about that.

Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards will have a healthy Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler back this year after both players were injured late in 06’. Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas need to be more consistent in the paint.New hotshot draft pick Nick Young will backup shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson. The Wizard’s will need their team healthy if they want a chance at the Southeast Division.

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