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2010 NBA Preview – Eastern Conference

October 21, 2010

The Miami Heat haven’t been handed the 2010-11 NBA Championship. Although ESPN might try to steal the Larry O’Brien Trophy and hand-deliver it to D-Wade and Co. However, a legitimate threat to the Heat’s chances this season resides a few hundred miles north, in Orlando.

The Magic have the most dominant player in the game in Dwight Howard along with one of the deepest rosters. The Magic have playoff experience, and many of their core players have played together for at least the last two years – something the Heat can’t say about their team.

Before anyone crowns the Heat champion, they’ll have to prove they’re the best team in Florida, as well as besting the defending champs, the Lakers.

I don’t doubt the Heat will put up a great win total this year, but they’re already suffering from injuries – Mike Miller out for an undetermined amount of time with a thumb injury and D-Wade hurt his hamstring two weeks ago and his return is still up in the air – and chemistry remains a concern. Will LeBron defer to Wade in crunch time? Will Chris Bosh be OK with not scoring 24 points a game? Can Mario Chalmers or Carlos Arroyo provide a solid 1-guard for the Heat? We won’t know until at least December, once the season is under way for a month.

From here, I’m going to do over/under for each team’s win totals for the 2010-11 season. The projected over/under is a total from Vegas, so I didn’t come up with the numbers.


Miami – over/under 64.5 wins – Over – I’m thinking the Heat get to about 66 wins – the same total LeBron and the Cavs got two years ago. If LeBron can take a bunch of scrubs in Cleveland to 66 wins, why can’t the Heat get there? Even if Wade is injured for a portion of the season, LeBron will have his best teammate so far in his career in Chris Bosh.

Orlando – 56 wins – Over – The Magic won 59 the past two years, and even though they lost Matt Barnes, they’ve got a bunch of small forwards who do pretty much what Barnes does.

Boston – 53.5 wins – Under – The Celtics are pretty much guaranteed for a playoff spot and once they get to that point in the season I think their stars will be resting a bit. You can’t discount what they did last year either by just trying to breeze through the regular season and kick it into gear in the playoffs. Also, the risk of injury in their veteran-laden lineup is always prominent.

Chicago – 47 wins – Over – I hesitated on this one. If Carlos Boozer were healthy for the start of the season I’d be more certain with this pick. But once Boozer gets back the Bulls will add one of the best scoring big men in the league to an already solid core. Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver will provide good production from the 2-guard spot. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will continue their ascent to the top of their respective positions.

Atlanta – 46.5 wins – Over – The Hawks have increased their win total the past five years, but with the hiring of Larry Drew as coach and the implementation of a new motion offense, the kinks will have to be worked out at the beginning of the year. The Hawks round out the five elite teams in the  Eastern Conference, and I think they’ll be able to take advantage of the bottom feeders and win 47-49 games.

Milwaukee – 46 wins – Under – The last time Scott Skiles faced high expectations with a team he coached, the Bulls started 9-16 and Skiles was fired on Christmas Eve. Skiles won’t be fired this year, but the Bucks won’t come near to fulfilling the expectations the media have placed on them. Brandon Jennings could be in for a sophomore slump. Andrew Bogut won’t be full-strength for probably the entire year. John Salmons is really the only other notable name on the roster.

Charlotte – 39 wins – Under – The Bobcats lost Ray Felton and Tyson Chandler, and now the corpse of Nazr Mohammed is playing center and Fat Boris Diaw is at power forward. The Bobcats are in one of the best divisions in the NBA and have one of the shallowest rosters in basketball. Oh, and they just released Adam Morrison, so they’re definitely not winning anything this year.

New York – 36 wins – Over – The additions of Amar’e, Felton, Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf should be enough for the Knicks to win eight more games than they did last year.

Philadelphia – 35.5 wins – Under – I don’t think they really improved enough to get nine more wins than what they had last year.

Indiana – 34.5 wins – Under – Josh McRoberts is their starting power forward.

Washington – 33 wins – Over – John Wall and a full season of Gilbert Arenas (at least for now) could have the Wizards in the playoffs.

Detroit – 31.5 wins – Under – They could reach 32 wins, but they’ll start out slowly and Rip Hamilton and/or Tayshaun Prince could be traded to contenders.

Cleveland – 29.5 wins – Under – Ugh. A Conan O’Brien commercial just came on, and it wasn’t funny. At all. In fact, I think Conan O’Brien might be starting for the Cavs this year. If that’s the case, the Cavs will suck, just like Conan on NBC.

Toronto – 29.5 wins – Under – Who do they have? A guy named Andrea is their starting center. I’d rather have a guy named Fredrick playing for my team.

New Jersey – 25.5 – Over – The Nets replaced one of the worst rosters in NBA history with several solid veterans. Jordan Farmar will back up Devin Harris, and brings a winning attitude to a team desperate for wins. Troy Murphy, if healthy, should allow Brook Lopez to continue improving on his game. Solid outside shooters Travis Outlaw and Anthony Morrow replace Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling. Yikes. The Nets were really bad last year.

Playoff Predictions

  1. Miami
  2. Orlando
  3. Boston
  4. Atlanta
  5. Chicago
  6. New York
  7. Milwaukee
  8. Washington

From → NBA

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