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NBA Core's Official 2009-2010 Eastern Conference Power Rankings

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NBA Core's Official 2009-2010 Eastern Conference Power Rankings
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This is an official NBA Core article, please visit www.nbacore.com for more and to join our NBA community!

Welcome to the Core's edition of power rankings. Throughout the months, our Core members have voted on team rankings, and through popular vote we finally have the results.

In this specific article I will try to expound on each rank, which was ultimately the site's general opinion. Please be considerate enough to at least leave one comment in reaction to the rankings. These articles do take lots of time, so make me feel like this wasn't a waste. If you are a guest, our website welcomes you with all our appreciation, so please join us.

For each team I will display the depth charts (going strictly off ESPN.com) and will give a summary for each team. I will go from bottom-up. Hope you enjoy, and remember this is the Core's consensus.

At 15th, we have the...Milwaukee Bucks

PG: Brandon Jennings, Luke Ridnour, Roko Ukic 
SG: Michael Redd, Charlie Bell, Jodie Meeks 
SF: Carlos Delfino, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova 
PF: Kurt Thomas, Hakim Warrick, Joe Alexander 
C: Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric, Francisco Elson 

Summary: This team is in a pretty tough situation as they might be the worst team in the NBA. The front office seems to be changing directions every moment, not knowing whether to contend (acquiring RJ) or rebuild (trading RJ), and as a result they have no other option but to rebuild.

The best scorer on this team is Michael Redd, which is not bad, but he obviously needs some help, especially after coming from an injury. Bogut seems like a center that can almost average a double-double, but that's about it.

The Bucks' defense is also pretty bad, but who knows, that can change if they are motivated. I suggest the Bucks trade Redd for some young talent, expirings, and picks. This would help them big time. You have to love Brandon Jennings though, this guy is looking amazing on the floor. The Bucks have a nice sign of the future because of him, and with Griffin out for weeks, this guy could get a head start to getting the ROY.

The highest I see this team going is 14th in the East, passing the Nets, but that could be unlikely. They need help at SF and PF. 

At 14th, we have the...New Jersey Nets

PG: Devin Harris, Rafer Alston, Keyon Dooling 
SG: Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Jarvis Hayes 
SF: Chris Douglas-Roberts, Bobby Simmons, Trenton Hassell 
PF: Yi Jianlian, Eduardo Najera, Sean Williams 
C: Brook Lopez, Josh Boone, Tony Battie 

Summary: This is the team I root for but man, this season is looking pretty ugly. Then again, who knows what can happen.

The Nets have the youngest team in the NBA, and I heard the other day that the starters' average age is 23. Hopefully Devin Harris can do even better than he did last year. After him, Brook Lopez is the man and he seems like Tim Duncan with a jump shot.

After Lopez, everyone else is pretty much a project, and while we're waiting, this team will end up around 14th in their conference by the end of the season. The highest I can see them going is probably 13th although it seems unlikely. The Bucks could have a slight chance of passing this team. Five-sixths of this team defends well though, so who knows what can happen.

At 13th, we have the...New York Knicks

PG: Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson 
SG: Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas, Larry Hughes, Cuttino Mobley 
SF: Jared Jeffries, Danilo Gallinari 
PF: Al Harrington, Marcus Landry 
C: David Lee, Darko Milicic, Jordan Hill, Eddy Curry 

Summary: The Knicks will continue to run, especially now that they have Robinson and Lee secured. Add to that an improved Wilson Chandler and a win-thirsty Harrington, things are looking better for the Knicks.

Their chemistry due to stability helps this team, but their defense is a huge problem. They can probably run their way into the playoffs if their offense excels all season, but you can't win without defense.

This team is for sure exciting though. The problem of fast break offense is that it's hard to defend. I'm sensing a big season for Nate by the way, he seems to be a pretty good leader. This team won't go lower than 13th, and could possibly go as high as eighth if they keep scoring.

At 12th, we have the...Indiana Pacers

PG: T.J. Ford, Earl Watson, Travis Diener, A.J. Price 
SG: Brandon Rush, Luther Head 
SF: Danny Granger, Dahntay Jones, Mike Dunleavy 
PF: Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Tyler Hansbrough 
C: Roy Hibbert, Solomon Jones, Jeff Foster 

Summary: The Pacers have a lot to look forward to, if they stay healthy. Granger is coming is coming off a MIP award, and he's going to be looking for more success this time around. The guy has become an absolute stud. Not to mention, he does it all. He's a great offense threat (from anywhere on the floor) and loves to get his blocks and steals as well.

Add to that Murphy, who came from a career season, No. 2 in double-doubles last season, and you have something special. Then you have Dunleavy who was out for most of last year. Dunleavy can average 20 PPG and he's proven it before. Only reason why he's last in this depth chart is because he's currently out, but he'll be back soon.

Hibbert, at 7'2'', will look to use his size to maximize his potential, especially on the defensive side. What are the negatives that have them at 12th? Well, the East is very deep, that's number one, and number two, the bench is really poor. They really need to step it up if they want success.

The team really needs to be more aggressive, however, I see the positives outweighing the negatives. Look for this team to make a push to the playoffs (again, if healthy). I don't see them going lower than 13th, if the Knicks pass them.

At 11th, we have the...Charlotte Bobcats

PG: Raymond Felton, DJ. Augustin 
SG: Stephen Graham, Gerald Henderson, Ronald Murray, Raja Bell 
SF: Gerald Wallace, Vladimir Radmanovic 
PF: Boris Diaw, Derrick Brown, Alexis Ajinca 
C: Tyson Chandler, DeSagana Diop, Nazr Mohammed 

Summary: Many people bashed this team for trading Okafor, but in my opinion the trade (Oak for Ty) can go either way.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at this depth chart is that the Bobcats can run. Taking that a step further, they have a couple of good defenders, so they can run, and defend, which is a rare combination we are not used to seeing. If the Bobcats don't run, who is going to score? Where is the No. 1 scoring option?

They don't have one, and Gerald Wallace won't cut it. If they can pull off a run and defend system, they will surprise many people. However, unlike the Pacers and Knicks, I don't see them competing for a playoff spot. They are like one of those in-betweener teams that land right where expected (11th in this case). They just lack firepower. The lowest I can see them going is 14th. They won't go higher than 11th. 

At 10th, we have the...Philadelphia 76ers

PG: Lou Williams, Royal Ivey, Jrue Holiday 
SG: Andre Iguodala, Willie Green 
SF: Thaddeus Young, Jason Kapono, Rodney Carney 
PF: Elton Brand, Jason Smith 
C: Samuel Dalembert, Marreese Speights, Primoz Brezec 

Summary: I'm sensing some decline from the 76ers. They didn't resign 'Dre Miller, and the Elton Brand signing made a couple of years ago is looking worse every game.

They did finally acquire a three-point shooter [Kapono] but, that's not really going to do much. Last year they had a better team and ended up with a .500 record. This year I see things going down south for them, unless if Lou and Thad come up with something brilliant.

Dalembert seems less reliable as time passes by, and Iguodala doesn't seem like if he can handle being a No. 1 scoring option. Those are a whole lot of negatives. However, if Brand can return to his old form, and this team manages to play in his type of offense, you never know what can happen.

Iguodala seems like a good slasher who can play half-court style. This is a big if though, and I don't see if happening. The defense is really solid though. They lowest they can go is 13th, the highest, maybe, they'll stay at 10th.

At ninth, we have the...Detroit Pistons

PG: Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Chucky Atkins 
SG: Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon 
SF: Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers 
PF: Charlie Villanueva, Chris Wilcox, Jason Maxiell 
C: Ben Wallace, Kwame Brown 

Summary: Busy off-season for this team, and hopefully it pays off. I see some pretty good potential in this team.

This team now has CV and Ben Gordon, who are both good scorers at their respected positions. I see room for improvement in both of them.

The Pistons should trade Hamilton for a center though. Wallace has his respect in Detroit and all, but he just shouldn't be starting any more. Other than that, this team is solid.

Stuckey came off a pretty good year and I see him improving to a 18 and eight type of guy, which is great. This team isn't higher simply because the other teams would outplay them, but if they trade Hamilton for a center as I mentioned earlier, they can be battling the Bulls. I don't see them going lower or higher than ninth, I think they are exactly right at this rank.

 

At eighth, we have the.......Chicago Bulls

PG: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Lindsey Hunter 
SG: John Salmons, Jannero Pargo 
SF: Luol Deng, Derrick Byars 
PF: Tyrus Thomas, Taj Gibson, James Johnson 
C: Joakim Noah, Brad Miller, Aaron Gray, Jerome James 

Summary: Big things are happening for the Bulls. Rose is now a sophomore, so he will begin exploding. Salmons is a great scorer and will continue to do what he does. Deng will be looking to make a huge comeback after his problems, I can see him going for 15 PPG in this offensively-populated team.

Their big-man problem persists though. Brad Miller wasn't enough to solve their inside problem. This team is obviously looking forward to next off-season to finally get that big, but in the mean time, they'll be a decent playoff team. Their great bench will really help them, but everyone in this team needs to remember to focus on defense. I see them perfect at eighth.

At seventh, we have the...Washington Wizards

PG: Gilbert Arenas, Randy Foye, Mike James, Javaris Crittenton 
SG: Mike Miller, DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young 
SF: Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire 
PF: Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche, Fabricio Oberto 
C: Brendan Haywood, JaVale McGee, Paul Davis 

Summary: Arenas is back, and nothing is slowing him down. It seems as if he's been playing these past two years (which he hasn't).

How about those starters? Obviously, no more than two of them will score more than 20 PPG, but this team is certainly loaded. Even though Miller seems like a scrub when you look at the rest of the starters, he is actually a good weapon. You can't double-team Agent Zero, Butler, or Jamison and leave Miller open, because he will hit that three.

The bench is looking pretty good as well, with Foye and Blatche as worthy mentions. The only negative of this team is the lack of toughness at the paint, and we all know no team without M.J. could win a title without a dominant big. The highest the Wizards can go is fourth, the lowest, probably no lower than seventh if they can finally stay healthy (big if).

At sixth, we have the...Miami Heat

PG: Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo, Chris Quinn 
SG: Dwyane Wade, Daequan Cook 
SF: Quentin Richardson, James Jones, Yakhouba Diawara, Dorell Wright 
PF: Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Shavlik Randolph 
C: Jermaine O'Neal, Jamaal Magloire 

Summary: The Wade and Beasley combination is looking pretty good after one year. Beasley is now entering is sophomore season, so he should be much improved and confident. Wade is going to put of another MVP-type season without a doubt if he stays healthy.

Chalmers is becoming a respectable PG and the bench is okay, but it can be better. Wade is still the reason this team makes the playoffs. If this team wants to go farther than the first round, J.O. really needs to step it up. He's never been the same since his huge injury, but he still has some game (and a $23 miliion expiring contract). Like I said for the Wizards, you need inside toughness for easy points, and points lead to wins. The Heat can go as high as fifth, and as low as seventh.

At fifth, we have the...Toronto Raptors

PG: Jose Calderon, Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks 
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, Quincy Douby, Sonny Weems 
SF: Hedo Turkoglu, Antoine Wright 
PF: Chris Bosh, Amir Johnson, Reggie Evans 
C: Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nesterovic, Patrick O'Bryant 

Summary: This team seems pretty unpredicatable since they changed their wings and bench. Hedo can be a great asset to this team, and he'll be motivated to get deep into the playoffs again.

Bargnani came from having a huge second half of the season in '09, and we all expect him to continue. Bosh bulked up during the summer, so he will be in the post with more frequency, which could help him focus more on defense.

DeRozan is a rookie who will look to be the team's slasher. Good move getting Evans, because this team needed some toughness down low, which is what I was going to bring up next. The reason why this team isn't higher is because of their overall defense, specifically down low. If they defend, they will do well, if not, they will be a low seed team, around No. 8. They won't go higher than fifth though.

At fourth, we have the...Atlanta Hawks

PG: Mike Bibby, Jeff Teague 
SG: Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford 
SF: Marvin Williams, Maurice Evans 
PF: Josh Smith, Joe Smith, Othello Hunter 
C: Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia, Jason Collins, Randolph Morris 

Summary: This team has it all. They have a great mix of offense and defense. From one-to-six, all of these players are capable of dropping 20 per game, including Crawford. The only teams you hear about in the East are the Magic, Cavs, and Celtics, but this team can very well reach the finals.

They may not have the stars the other teams have, but they have exactly what is takes, which leads me to my following point. The only reason this team isn't ranked higher is because they don't have KG, Lebron, or Dwight. Will this hurt them? Probably. It depends mostly on how Horford handles his position and just simply the outcome of all of these players.

At third, we have the...Orlando Magic

PG: Jameer Nelson, Jason Williams, Anthony Johnson 
SG: Vince Carter, J.J. Redick 
SF: Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes 
PF: Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass 
C: Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat, Adonal Foyle 

Summary: This team has a great shot at making the finals. They have four stars as starters and a respectable player in Pietrus. They now have V.C. who is a great inside/outside scorer.

Nelson will be looking to continue to put up star numbers, and Lewis will hit those threes. How much better can Dwight get? 20-plus-14-plus is just amazing. The Magic aren't ranked higher because nobody has heard of Carter lately (who is still amazing) and Nelson doesn't get much hype since he's coming off an injury. They can't go lower than No. 4 though and can go as high as No. 1.

At 2nd, we have the...Cleveland Cavaliers

PG: Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson 
SG: Anthony Parker, Delonte West, Coby Karl 
SF: LeBron James, Jamario Moon, Daniel Green 
PF: Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson, Darnell Jackson, Jawad Williams, Leon Powe 
C: Shaquille O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas 

Summary: The league's best defensive team in '08-'09 now has a 7'2'' 320-plus lbs monster in the paint. I like to refer them as the No. 0.4 defensive team rather than the No. 1 defensive team.

This team has the best player in the NBA, a great star shooter in Mo and a monster in Shaq. Everyone else for the most part is good at defense, which is a big plus. The question is if Lebron and Shaq can work.

Maybe it may not work in the beginning, but they'll figure something out eventually. Lebron can't plan on driving for the rest of his career. The Cavs could go as low as No. 3 and as high as No. 1. They aren't ranked higher here they don't have a crazy starting five like the next team does. 

At first, we have the...Boston Celtics

PG: Rajon Rondo, Eddie House 
SG: Ray Allen, Marquis Daniels, Tony Allen, J.R. Giddens 
SF: Paul Pierce, Bill Walker 
PF: Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Brian Scalabrine 
C: Kendrick Perkins, Shelden Williams

Summary: The Celtics have the Core's vote as champions. They just have too good of a mixture on defense and offense. Rondo is coming off an amazing playoff performance. Allen can shoot for the rest of his life, Pierce is still dominant and so is KG. Now they they have defensive pest 'Sheed Wallace. There is just so much defense everywhere in this team. All they need to do is make sure they stay healthy and make sure their ages aren't hurting them. If they can manage to do that, hello champions.

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