With a slow night in the NBA tonight, we get a chance to regroup from the crazy last couple of days in the basketball world.
It all started on Thursday, with the NBA trade deadline. Major deals were reached, with many teams getting a facelift. Many teams traded away star, and important players, who, for some, were franchise players.
The East got a complete make-over around the trade deadline. The Nets got Deron Williams, who could be a corner-stone player for the Nets in the future. The Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. And we all heard about the blockbuster trade, where the Knicks traded away half of their team for Chauncey Billups and, of course, Carmelo Anthony.
And, along with these trades this past week, the Orlando Magic remodeled their team in the beginning of the year, trying to give Dwight Howard the tools to win.
Those trades created a power-shift in the Eastern Conference this year.
Now, instead of two or three teams that had a decent shot of winning the East, like in the past, there are now five teams that have a legitimate show of winning the Eastern Conference. The Celtics and Heat both look they are going to fight it out for the top-spot in the conference. But now, the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, and the New York Knicks all have the personnel to go far in this years playoff.
We got a sneak-peak of the playoffs last night, with the Knicks going to South Beach to play the Miami Heat. In an up-and-down game, which came down to the last minute of play, the Knicks edged the Heat, on a last-second block of LeBron James by Amar’e Stoudemire.
So with the ‘Power-of-three’ reigning in the East, it is going to be an exciting playoffs. No one team has come out as the favorite. Miami, on paper, should be the favorite, but they are 0-5 against the Celtics and Bulls this year, and 12-15 against the top eight teams in the conference.. The Bulls, with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and the Magic with Dwight Howard and company, have been looking to take the title all season. And Knicks, with Anthony and Stoudemire, proved last night that they can hang with the best.
And, after this season, the waters in the East will become even more clouded. The Knicks are looking at Chris Paul to compliment Amar’e and Carmelo, which will make them even stronger. The Nets, with Deron Williams, will be looking to land a couple of big names on the eve of opening their brand new stadium in Brooklyn.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
How do I think will win the Eastern Conference this year?
My prediction: The Celtics. They are the only team on that list with experience. They know what it is like to play at this level during the playoffs. Their ‘Big-Three’ of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, along with Rajon Rondo, have been to the NBA Finals two out of the last three seasons, winning it all back in 2008.
Who do you think will represent the East?
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