NBA Primetime's Brandon Ribak breaks down the 2010 NBA Power Rankings into two parts. This article focuses on the top eight teams that will make the playoffs out of the Eastern Conference.
Eastern Conference Power Rankings
1. Miami Heat—Regular Season Record 64-18, .780 PCT
The Heat enter the 2010 season as the favorites to win the title. With three of the league's best players running the show in Miami, it'll only be a matter of time before the three-headed monster begins to shatter records from left and right. 64 wins is nearly a guarantee, even if one of the beasts goes down for a long period of time.
2. Orlando Magic—Regular Season Record 57-25, .695 PCT
Orlando manages to keep their name out of the NBA spotlight, even during the offseason. With J.J. Reddick re-signed, Chris Duhon signed as a back-up, and Quentin Richardson picked up to replace Matt Barnes, the Magic have quietly enjoyed another efficient offseason.
Orlando has some young players, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson, who will each get their opportunity to make an impact to the teams success this season.
3. Chicago Bulls—Regular Season Record 52-30, .634 PCT
Surprised? Well, you shouldn't be.
With D-Rose running the show, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson dominating the paint, and the Bulls offseason signings of Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, and Kurt Thomas equally contributing, a 50 win season is well within reach for this young and exciting team.
4. Boston Celtics—Regular Season Record 50-32, .610 PCT
Boston managed to keep their core that won the 2008 NBA Finals intact this offseason. But with the additions of both O'Neal's, the Celtics roster is only growing in age. Boston will either enjoy a successful season or a horrific one with a strong case of the injury bug.
5. Atlanta Hawks—Regular Season Record 47-35, .573 PCT
Atlanta re-signed Joe Johnson to a ridiculous contract this offseason and has progressively improved throughout the last five seasons. With young guns such as Al Horford, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Jeff Teague, and Jordan Crawford on the roster, the Hawks have massive potential to make a splash during the upcoming season. The big question is whether or not they will be able to turn their talents into wins.
6. Milwaukee Bucks—Regular Season Record 45-37, .549 PCT
Taking about splashes, the Bucks are prone to turn many heads during the 2010 season. This offseason, Milwaukee acquired Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Jon Brockman via signings and trades. With head-coach Scott Skiles having a reputation for being tough on his players and defensive-minded, expect the team to emerge as a top contender in the East.
7. Charlotte Bobcats—Regular Season Record 40-42, .488 PCT
Charlotte lost their starting point-guard and center this offseason.
In addition, head-coach Larry Brown's future has been up in the air ever since the team was swept by the Orlando Magic during the first-round of the NBA playoffs. With the Southeast Division emerging as one of the strongest divisions in the league, the Bobcats chances of winning more than 40 games this season are slim.
8. New York Knicks—Regular Season Record 38-44, .463 PCT
With the offseason additions of Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, Timofey Mozgov, and Kelenna Azubuike, the Knicks look stronger than ever. If all goes well, New York will make it to the postseason for the first time since the 2004 season.