By the looks of it in the NBA, pretty darn easily. With the west having only three teams in their conference under ten wins compared to the east’s nine teams, you wonder what has happened to the east? To be fair though, the east usually only has a certain four teams doing well. That being the Heat, Pacers, Bulls and the Knicks. That being said, certain trades and acquisitions were hoping to bump up a few teams such as the Cavs, Nets and Raptors. But for some reason, nothing has wanted to work out.
The first of which is the fall of the Knicks and Nets. They both were expected to be top teams in the east, but nothing has wanted to go there way. I’m going to cut to the point with the Knicks since if you want a more specific reasoning to what’s wrong with them, my last post was all about that. The Knicks need defense. With Chandler being out with a fractured leg, no ones really been able to replace his presence in the paint. That added with only average play from all-stars such as J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire, of course they were going to be near the bottom. Carmelo and Shumpert can’t make up for everything.
And now for the glorious Nets, who with their genius trade for the veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. There’s no way they couldn’t be amazing, right? They’re not past there prime at all. Well with old age comes wisdom and also a fragile body. With Pierce recently returning from a hand injury after missing four games, he’s not providing the numbers they are expecting. Plus Pierce and Garnett both had, “ankle injury’s,” earlier in the season along with there fellow starters Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. Coach Jason Kidd has been contemplating a reserve role for Pierce, which might work out better seeing as he’d get lessened minutes and basically be running the bench. It was working for Ray Allen on the Heat, so it could always work here.
Now I guess we’ll get the sore subject out of the way and talk about the Bulls. What seems to be the most injury prone team in the league has done it again. With a torn meniscus, Derrick Rose is out for the season which sadly isn’t there only worry at the moment. Jimmy Butler has been out for a few weeks with turf toe and there’s still no set date for his return, and Deng has just recently been out sitting the last three games having trouble with his Achilles,(it doesn’t seem too serious but with an already ailing Bulls team, it definitely doesn’t help). The bulls are having to learn to play with different sets because of this and though they are 8 and 11, they’ve been known to still be able to pull games out so you can expect them to get better further in the season.
Now it’s time for the team I expected to take the eighth seed earlier in the season, but not exactly anymore. The Raptors, with there acquisition of Rudy Gay things were definitely looking up. A team with Kyle Lowery, Demare Derozen and Rudy Gay. I can definitely see good things from that, but with a 7 and 13 start so far the Raptors were not going to wait and see. Gay was the center piece for the recent trade with the Kings, being shipped over with Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy while the Raptors will be receiving Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. Both teams are looking for this to help them turn their season around with the Kings being one of the few west teams under ten wins with a record of 6 and 13 so far.
With there pick up of Andrew Bynum, the Cavs seemed like they were on there way to finally getting back into the playoff picture. Having the star point in Kyrie Irving and now the return of Bynum, they had to at least be decent. But as the east loves to do, they just had to prove everyone wrong. With a record of 8 and 13, they definitely are not having the start they expected. Bynum has looked sluggish averaging a 43.3 FG% and 5.2 rebounds a game compared to his 55.8 and 11.8 the last season he played. Bynum looks like his play is finally starting to speed up and for the Cavs sake, I hope so.
With all the problems these, “top teams,” have been having, you think there’d be some teams sneaking there way to the front. And there have been, but no one to really threaten the Pacers and Heat at there one and two seed at the moment. Especially since the third seed at the moment (Hawks with 11 and 11) wouldn’t even make it to the playoffs so far in the west. Though there’s one team in the east getting someone back that will definitely get them to where they need.
The Celtics are 10 and 13 right now, which for a Rondo-less team is pretty decent. But by the looks of it, he should be seen on court by the end of December. He’s meeting with his doctor sometime this week to see if he will be cleared to play. But even then, Rondo has stated that no matter what, if he doesn’t feel one hundred percent he will not be stepping on court. That shouldn’t be too much worry though since Rondo has been participating in full contact practice there’s no reason not to see him back by the end of December.
Even with the west looking so good at the moment, they can’t really feel that good. They still will most likely have to face either the Pacers or Heat in the finals, who, unlike the rest of the east, came to play. With Paul George having a MVP candidate type of year averaging 24.7 points, 2.1 steals, a 47.5% from the field, 86.3% from the line and 42.7% from behind the arch, there seems to be no stopping him. Plus the Heat, are still the Heat. Reigning champs for the last two years, you can’t really sleep on them. So yes, the east right now does completely suck, but the west still will have competition in the end.
- The Eastern Conference Dilemma (malynch13.wordpress.com)
- Miami Heat May Be Better off Settling into No. 2 Seed (bleacherreport.com)
- Cavaliers’ Andrew Bynum slowly starting to look like former self after sluggish start (nba.si.com)
- Knicks embarrassed by Celtics at home (newsday.com)