The Contenders in the East—All Two of Them

David LeneyCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2008

The Contenders

Sure, I could go through every NBA Easten Conference team and talk about their chances come April, but wouldn't it be a waste of time to include such teams as: New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, Charlotte, etc... 

Instead I would rather focus on the two teams that matter this season, starting with the Celtics. 

KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen certainly have been getting it done during the regular season, but the big three won't get past Detroit unless Rajon Rondo, Eddie House, and James Posey play a key role in what we can only assume, will inevitably be the Eastern Conference Finals. 

With the Pistons starters getting more rest than usual this season, its obvious that Detroit is patient and fine with being the quiet contender until the postseason.

This Boston team certainly doesn't have the playoff experience that Detroit has, however the C's do have arguably the best frontcourt in the league. 

I believe these two teams will be the only real contenders in the East and both have a legitimate shot at winning the finals, but it will more than likely come down to who has the better bench as the deciding factor of who gets to go.


The Hopefuls

Many of you may think Orlando belongs with Boston and Detroit, but don't be fooled by their record or the fact that one of the greatest genetic specimens in sports (Dwight Howard) plays for them.

Come April you'll get a better understanding of why Orlando doesn't cut it, yet. 

It's funny because when I look at Orlando all I see is red.

I say that because in a lot of ways, they are the Eastern version of the Houston Rockets. 

Both teams have no leadership, both have burnt-out coaches, a premier big man that does the majority of their scoring, but most importantly, both teams have no point guard.

You can get away without having a quality point guard if you have a leader on the court, one who can command his team's respect either through actions or words.

Dwight Howard, the obvious choice is still too young, playful, and apparently in no rush of getting "Tim Duncan serious" yet. 

If you don't believe me just watch Stan Van Gundy's remarks at the post-game press conferences recently.  

Lebron James is Park Place and Boardwalk with hotels on it. Unfortunately for him, the rest of his team is the monopoly equivalent of Baltic and Med Ave. with no property on it. 

Until Cleveland can gain someone, anyone for that matter, that an opposing team can respect (other than Lebron), the Cavs will be stuck in neutral.

The Toronto Raptors:  "Boy O' boy did I have a lot of fun this season, maybe next year we can make a serious run in the playoffs, hahahaha" as the locker room erupts in laughter.