NBA Prediction: The Eastern Conference

Adam BeardContributor IOctober 11, 2009

Who will be the Beast of the East this season?

The Eastern Conference has improved this year with the Wizards getting their team back, the Raptors acquiring Hedo, and even the monster teams (Magic, Cavs, and Celtics) added players to make them even better. I believe the East will be neck and neck all year, and it could go to anyone in the top four. However, we all have to pick a team to win it, and here is what I decided.

Atlantic Division:

1. Boston Celtics

2. Toronto Raptors

3. Philidelphia 76ers

4. New York Knicks

5. New Jersey Nets

This division shouldn't be hard for the Celtics. The Celtics are looking like the team of 2007-2008 when they won it all. They are focused like no other. They even added some key players to fill roles such as Marquis Daniels and Rasheed Wallace.

Also, I expect Rajon Rondo to be even better. The Raptors have also improved by adding Hedo Turkoglu, a very clutch NBA star. Calderon is a solid point guard who distributes the ball very well. And Chris Bosh is one of the best big men in the game today. Expect Toronto to be better. The Sixers are still an improving team. I just don't know about Elton Brand. He needs to stay healthy if the Sixers want to have success.

Also, the loss of Andre Miller is key. He is a pure point guard who had veteran leadership, and I don't see the Sixers being a force in the East. The Knicks and Nets are just a wreck. Devin Harris is good for the Nets, but that is about all they have. For the Knicks, they are just not a team it seems like. They don't seem to mesh together. They are fortunate that Nate Robinson and David Lee came back, but this team is going no where.

Central Division:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Detroit Pistons

3. Chicago Bulls

4. Indiana Pacers

5. Milwaukee Bucks

The Cavaliers will dominate this division. The addition of Shaq, to me, will help LeBron and his teammates get even better. Teams will try and attempt to double team either one of these players which should help players like Delonte West and Mo Williams have great seasons. No one in the world can guard LeBron James, and the Cavs have the bench to go far too.

The addition of Jamario Moon also is a big lift for the Cavs. This guy did really well with D Wade in Miami. Just think what he can do with all the weapons Cleveland has. Detroit is another team I like this year. After seeing Ben Gordon put up quite a performance against Boston last year in the playoffs, he is a great shooter who can't miss. I think he will continue to do that for Detroit this year. Charlie Villanueva is also a solid player for Detroit. He will be great for the Pistons along with the heart and soul of this Pistons, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince.

The problem I have with Chicago is they lost Ben Gordon. I can't see the Bulls having the same success without him. Derrick Rose is emerging as a great point guard, but I don't see the Bulls beating out Detroit for second place in the division. The Pacers and Bucks are just flat out awful. They will have no chance at winning anything. Danny Granger is a superstar but that is about all they have. Milwaukee is just awful, but I am interested in seeing how Brandon Jennings plays. Overall, Cleveland has it locked up.

Southeast Division:

1. Orlando Magic

2. Atlanta Hawks

3. Wahington Wizards

4. Miami Heat

5. Charlotte Bobcats

Another Eastern Conference Division that is locked up for another dominate team. The Orlando Magic, coming off their Finals run, is a team that I think got even better. The Vince Carter is huge for this Magic team because they needed some one to fill in for Hedo. VC is still a great NBA player who can score at will.

Also, Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA, now that Yao Ming is done. Nelson is a young point guard who I like, and I believe he will have a solid season. The Magic added Brandon Bass and resigned Gortat which might not have seemed important. But it was. Bass is great to back up Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. The Atlanta Hawks have one of the best starting fives in the league. Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford are all great players who want to win. Also, adding Jamaal Crawford should come off the bench to be one of the best sixth men in the league.

The Hawks really only have six or seven players that play well, so the Wizards might surpass them. However, I don't believe the Wizards will. Now, you have to give Washington a break because last year was a mess. Arenas was hurt all year, and even Butler and Jamison were banged up. The trade that sent Mike Miller and Randy Foye to Washington should help this year. Arenas has the talent to be a great star this upcoming year, but he has to stay healthy and he can't complain to staff members. Gilbert just doesn't seem happy to me. Flip Saunders is the new coach, and he should be ok. The Wizards could be neck and neck with the Hawks all year, but Atlanta is better to me.

The Heat and Bobcats are two teams that have no chance. Dwayne Wade is the third best player in the league. but he is literally the whole team. Jermaine O'Neal is getting old and slow, and I think that the loss of Moon is critical. The Bobcats traded their best player in Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler. Chandler is a solid center but not as good as Okafor. The Bobcats and Heat just need time and a lot of it.

Eastern Conference Playoff Seeds:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Boston Celtics

3. Orlando Magic

4. Atlanta Hawks

5. Detroit Pistons

6. Washington Wizards

7. Toronto Raptors

8. Chicago Bulls

The way I see it, the East has improved drastically. It was hard to choose the four, five, and six seeds so those could really go either way between those three teams. The champion of the East, to me, will be Boston. The Celtics are just a team on a mission again to me. Kevin Garnett is hungry for another ring and I believe he will go fight for one again. Marquis Daniels and Rasheed Wallace were big additions for Boston. The Cavs will once again have the best record in the East, and possibly the NBA. However, I feel that Boston can beat Cleveland or Orlando in a seven-game series. We will see how it plays out. The East should be very close this year, so we will see who the beast of the east really is.