3. Boston Celtics – The Celtics have to be up for out of respect for Doc Rivers. We learned last year to never count his team out and with Rajon Rondo as a veteran and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce still hungry for another ring. Don’t sleep on a Rivers’ team.
4. New York Knicks – This is finally Carmelo Anthony’s team and he is in the prime of his career. They added pieces he loves and he needs to have a championship run. If everything clicks for New York early in the season, the Knicks can be a top team in the East.
5. Indiana Pacers – The Pacers are one of the legit deep teams in the East. A lot of familiar faces will be back for Indiana as their young talent is coming up together. The Pacers are for real this year.
6. Chicago Bulls – They still have Tom Thibodeau as their coach who will not let this team fall off until Derrick Rose comes back. The Bulls won’t be an elite team without their leader but no way they skid too far until Rose comes back.
7. Brooklyn Nets – Deron Williams came back to the Nets to make a splash in Brooklyn. With Joe Johnson in the same backcourt as him, the Nets won’t be the laughing stock of the league anymore. A breath of fresh air is exactly what the Nets needed as they start a new life in Brooklyn.
8. Atlanta Hawks – Losing Johnson will sure hurt this team but Atlanta is still looking to compete in the East. They still have a great duo down low in Josh Smith and Al Horford. The Hawks didn’t completely sell all their pieces and will win games this year.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving showed signs of superstardom in his rookie year but to be a true superstar in this league you have to win. There is a lot of raw young talent on this team and it will be Byron Scott’s job to bring it all together.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – How Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will play together will be an interesting story all year long. Scott Skiles will need to get these two scorers to coexist and have the big trade pay off.
11. Detroit Pistons – Detroit is rebuilding and decided to go the big man route with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Brandon Knight will learn how to play point guard in this league with his first 82 game season. There’s a lot of talent in Detroit to like.
12. Toronto Raptors – The Raptors are in the toughest division in the league so it will be hard to compete. Big things are expected out of rookies Terrence Ross and last year’s No. 1 pick Jonas Valanciunas. DeMar DeRozan needs to pick up his game if the Raptors ever want to be relevant.
13. Washington Wizards – Washington’s starting five is filled with high draft picks with John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Emeka Okafor. Nene is a great piece along with Trevor Ariza. The Wizards are loaded with young talent but that seems to be the problem year in and year out.
15. Orlando Magic – The Magic got played by Dwight Howard and got the worst deal they could have gotten for him. Aaron Affialo isn’t going to carry your team. With Glen Davis as probably your best player, things aren’t looking good.