Preseason rankings: Eastern Conference
By Kenny Smith, Yahoo Sports
October 8, 2007
Here's how I see the East as teams begin their preseason schedules.
1. Boston Celtics – With three unselfish stars in Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, the learning curve is shorter than most. They will dominate a conference with only three contenders (the others being Detroit and Miami).
2. Detroit Pistons – They are one of the few teams that can only beat themselves. That's why they always believe it's a fluke when they lose. Experience wins, and Detroit's veterans can still get the job done.
5. Chicago Bulls – The young and gifted Bulls are in trouble. When Garnett came to the East and didn't land in Chicago, it slowed their progress.
6. Toronto Raptors – They're a nice team, and that very well might be their problem in getting over the top. The Raptors might need someone to get a little nasty or trade for a pit bull.
7. New Jersey Nets – They didn't get better, but there's too much talent on the roster not to make the playoffs.
10. New York Knicks – Scandals, poor chemistry and a bunch of round pegs trying to fit in square holes. This once storied franchise is in disarray.
11. Indiana Pacers – Who's on this team again?
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Without sounding redundant, there's just not enough talent. The Bucks are potential driven which leads to losses in the NBA.
13. Philadelphia 76ers – They'll be searching for an answer all year! OK, OK, that was a cheap shot, but it will take a lot of practice, practice, practice! (I crack myself up.)
14. Charlotte Bobcats – The Bobcats are much too inexperienced at all positions, including coach, to make noise this season. That said, they still are my sleeper East team.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Dominique Wilkins, Doc Rivers and Spud Webb are rolling over in their basketball graves right now. The Hawks have become the 2008 Clippers.
Kenny Smith is the NBA analyst for Yahoo! Sports. Check out "The Jet" at http://kennythejet.com and "Inside the NBA" on Thursdays on TNT. Send Kenny a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Oct 8, 2007 3:02 am, EDT