Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Friday, August 14, 2009

NBA Experts weigh in on who's best in the East

From Friday's Orlando Sentinel, writer Josh Robbins looks at how some NBA experts think who will win the East this upcoming season. Here are some excerpts:

The Orlando Magic reached the NBA Finals last year, but the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics will be the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season.

The Cavaliers finished first in the overall rankings, just ahead of the Celtics. Boston, however, received six first-place votes while Cleveland was ranked first on five ballots.

The Magic placed third overall. They were ranked as the conference's second-best team on four ballots.

"When I learned they were going after Vince [Carter], I thought it was to play him next to Hedo Turkoglu (the team MVP in my eyes), not replace him," said Ric Bucher, an NBA reporter and analyst for ESPN. "I was ready to anoint that team the best in the East. It's hard to see them having the same blazing start they had last year with all the changes. Let's put it this way: If this year's team does what last year's team did, it will be a bigger surprise than last year's team doing it, which was only the biggest shock in the league last year."

"Continuity tends to win championships," said Steve Kyler, the editor and publisher of HOOPSWORLD, who ranked the Celtics first in the East. "There is little doubt Orlando improved the talent level of the team, but can the new guys fit in as effectively as last year's team did? Can you capture magic twice?"

"The Cleveland Cavaliers didn't lose anyone of significance off the team that won 66 games last season," said John Schuhmann, a writer for NBA.com who picked the Cavs as the East's best team. "They added Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Parker, both of whom should help them match up better with Boston and Orlando, and they still have the best player in the world."

"In this world the rich get richer," said Hall of Famer Bill Walton, who is an analyst for ESPN. "The three legitimate contenders in the East all got significantly better, but Boston easily improved the most. The title will come down to who controls the paint. The Celtics — with superior talent, depth and versatility up front — have positioned themselves perfectly for a run at No. 18."

6 Comments:

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Another load of crap from the so-called "experts". I guess they didn't learn a thing about this team last year. They're still the lap dogs for cleveland and boston.

     
  • At 7:16 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Yeah, it's like the experts have fallen in love with Cleveland and Boston all over again, mainly because of the Cavs' acquiring Shaq and with Garnett returning to the Celtics, along with the acquisition of Rasheed Wallace.

    In the meantime, the experts have ignored how much deeper the Magic have made themselves in comparison to last season.

    If the Cavaliers had obtained the Shaquille O'Neal from the late '90s, then I could understand why they would be the favorites; but this Shaq is way past his prime and is inferior to Dwight Howard in every facet of the game.

    No one knows how Kevin Garnett will perform for the Celtics, as he is coming off a major injury and is also past his prime.

    As for Rasheed Wallace helping them, this is the same Wallace who absolutely disappeared in the playoffs last season against the Cavs, and who is way past his prime.

    Looks like the Magic will have to prove themselves all over again.

     
  • At 11:05 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I understand why people think the way they do.

    For Boston Garnett is the question mark. Their back-court was superior to Magic's last year although Ray Allen had that disappearance act. Now if they could change the balance a bit on the front-court with Garnett and Wallace it would be a different match up than last year. In fact, even with Vince coming to Magic, I still give the back-court edge to Boston. For the front-court we have to wait and see. In short, BOS has a chance to do better than last year.

    as for CLE, it is totally different. They were helpless at front-court, and still will be even with Shaq. Our guards dominated theirs, and will still do despite adding Anthony Parker. I give no chance to CLE against Magic. Plain and simple.

     
  • At 12:13 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    I agree that Garnett will be the big question make for boston. If Garnett can return to pre-injury form, and the addition of Rasheed Wallace then they will be our biggest worry. But by the Magic adding both size and strength (Anderson, Bass, and Barnes) and retaining Gortat, I believe this will cancel out the aging superstar in Garnett, and a aging hothead in Wallace. Everyone said that when this boston team was assembled that it wouldn't last for more than a year or two because of the age of its' players...

    As for cleveland, they only way Shaq will be of any value at playoff time will be if he sits out the entire regular season. Sure he can still overpower anyone in the post, but can he do it for 35+ minutes a game? I highly doubt it. I'm anxious to see how Shaq and LBJ get along on the same team. Damn I wish the season would hurry up..

     
  • At 3:49 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I agree that Boston is the team that the Magic should worry about more than Cleveland.

    With an aging but still very capable "Big Three" in Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, along with up-and-coming PG Rajon Rondo, the Celtics are a big threat.

    The Celts did well to re-sign Glen Davis, who got some valuable playing time in the playoffs last season and played well in several games.

    How well will Rasheed Wallace perform though... will he be the player who averaged a respectable 12 ppg during the regular season, or will he be the player who averaged barely over 6 ppg in the playoffs.

    Hard to believe it's been two months already since the Magic were eliminated in the Finals... just another month and a half before training camp starts.

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I was careful not to place BOS ahead of Magic because there are many variables that could tip the balance one way or another. For example, Jameer and Vince could totally destroy their dominance in the backcourt. But from the other hand, they did not do so bad by Perkins and company against Dwight; they just did not have an answer for Rashard. That could change by Garnett in the mix.

    As for CLE, all said previously will stand, and have been further validated by other posts.

     

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