This article was originally published at hoops4life.com, I thought I would share it with the Bleacher Creatures because, well, you all seem to like this sports stuff as well.
The Eastern Conference was the laughing stock of the NBA last season. Despite having the NBA Champions in the Celtics, the teams fell off greatly after that, and even some below .500 teams made the playoffs.
So why, all of a sudden, is the East beginning to look more and more like a formidable opponent? Let me break down to you the teams that are making noise by adding talent to their team.
The Pacers announced two trades yesterday in their attempt to make their way back to a respectable team. The first move they made was getting rid of unhappy Jermaine O'Neal.
By getting rid of O'Neal, they were able to add a possible starting point guard in T.J. Ford, as well as a good rookie center in Roy Hibbert.
The second move they made was trading Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless for Brandon Rush and Josh McRoberts. In that trade, they were able to add a shooting guard to completely revamp their back-court.
These moves mean that they have three young players that they can build their team around. They look to be on the up and could make some noise in the East soon, if not next season.
The Raptors were part of the deal that sent T.J Ford and Roy Hibbert to the Pacers. However, the deal worked out just as well for them.
They are still able to be strong at point guard, keeping Jose Calderone who, despite only averaging about 11 ppg, is an instrumental part in distributing the ball, averaging 8.3 assists per game.
Also, Jermaine O'Neal is going to help the Raptors tremendously in the paint. The duo of O'Neal and Chris Bosh is going to make opposing teams scared to come in the paint.
Overall, this team is improved on the team that went to the playoffs last year, and they are likely going to at least make the second round this year.
The Sixers made just one move so far this off-season, but it was a big one. They stole Elton Brand from the Clippers, which means that they are instantly contenders in the East.
The Sixers gave the Pistons a run for their money last year, and scared a lot of people when they pushed the first-round series to six games.
Now, they have another inside presence to join Samuel Dalembert in the paint. With this move, the Sixers big men combine to average about 20 rebounds a game, which is great production to have out of your big men.
Add the 30 points that they average together, and you have a strong inside game to add to Andre Iguodala's breakout play at the small forward position.
The Heat may have only added Michael Beasley to their lineup, but in doing that, they give themselves a trio of strong players who are going to give opposing teams fits.
They showed everybody that teams have to game-plan for Beasley in the first summer-league game, when Beasley went off for a double-double.
The very next game, they accidentally walked into the Nets locker room, thinking it was theirs, and saw that they had a board up where they were planning how to stop Beasley.
The Heat won that game too, despite little help from Beasley. All the game planning to stop him let the rest of the team roam around and get open looks at the basket.
With Beasley, Shawn Marion, and Dwayne Wade, this team is going to cause a lot of teams problems in deciding who they want to cover that night.
These teams are going to be vastly improved, and show the West, that the East can still be beasts.
I'm Joe W.