Training camp begins for some teams at the end of this week and for the rest of the teams, it begins next week. We have already looked at some key free agent signings and which rookies will have the biggest impact.
Let’s take a look at how the NBA will shake down this year. Here are our predictions for the Eastern Conference:
First let’s look at the teams that will miss out on the Playoffs this season.
Last year the Bobcats were the worst team in the NBA. They won only seven games and lost their final 23 games in a row. They have made plenty of changes to their team. They hired Mike Dunlap as head coach, used their first round pick on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and brought in some veteran players in Ramon Sessions, Brendan Haywood, and Ben Gordon. They will be better, but not good enough for the playoffs.
The Bulls finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference the past two years. That will change this year. The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose for a good chunk of the season. In his absence the Bulls will struggle to be a .500 team. When Rose returns they might be able to make a run for the eighth playoff spot, but will fall short.
There is plenty to like about the Pistons. They have a young core to build around in Andre Drummond (2012 1st Round Pick), Greg Monroe, and Brandon Knight. They also have some good veteran players in Charlie Villanueva, Corey Maggette, and Tayshaun Prince. Still the best Detroit can hope for is to finish around .500 this year.
You never know what you will get with the Bucks. When their shots are falling they can be a high scoring team. Last season that did not happen enough. The strength of this team is in the backcourt. They have a solid pair of starting guards in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Outside of that, there is not much to fear about the Bucks.
This might be the worst team in the NBA this year. When they traded away Dwight Howard, they lost any chance they had to contend. To replace Howard they have Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson. Still the Magic are rebuilding and trying to figure out where to go without Howard in their lineup.
When you look at the Raptors roster, there is nothing that jumps out at you. Andrea Bargnani is a good NBA center that can get you a double-double any night and DeMar DeRozan is a highlight dunk waiting to happen. Outside that, there is not much. They play good defense, but are missing that go-to scorer to carry the offense on a nightly basis.