NBA Review: Week 2 - Who's the Beast in the East?
The 24/7 media cycle is nothing if not afflicted with ADD.
That's an unfortunate by-product of its urgency to produce some sort of story all the time.
A prime example is many of the same crowd who anointed the Cleveland Cavaliers as the team to beat in the NBA seem to have already written them off as being the top dog in the East by the year's end.
Could it be all the hyper-hyped build-up ...
... was already deflated by the end of Game 1?
Let me remind you of my thought process on the Cavs: They'll be an elite offense once they get it figured out, which might take a little while, and at the very best, an average defensive team.
The East is extremely weak yet again, but I still can’t see Cleveland getting top seed there. I had them projected as the 3- or 4-seed, and barring any injuries -- I’m looking at you, Derrick Rose -- I’ll stick to that. But I wouldn’t be stunned if they ended up in the 2-spot.
Top seed, though, would be a surprise.
So, who's the best team in the East? Maybe it’s The Fighting Drakes up in Toronto. I’m not convinced they’re a team that can win the conference in the playoffs with the roster they currently have, but it’s hard to envision a more complete team in that lot.
However, let's not forget my new favorite team on that side of the country: Washington.
The Wiz have been an impressive 6-2 early on, even with Bradley Beal sidelined due to injury and Trevor Ariza in Houston. Paul Pierce has been good for them and will continue to be a solid veteran presence on this team of young guards. John Wall is incredible. Gortat and Nenê are extremely formidable down low, both offensive and defensively. This is a team built for the playoffs.
They do need a little more depth. I don’t love who's behind Beal at shooting guard or Pierce at small forward. Nor do I love Pierce starting all season at 37 years old. He’s playing a mildly reduced 28 minutes a game, but they might need one more trade piece before the deadline to turn into a aquad that can absolutely take the East.
Lastly, let’s look at the Bulls, whose fans and management probably have a mild stroke every time they see Derrick Rose take any kind of a fall.
If Rose does stay healthy, the Bulls are without a doubt the most experienced, tough, and scary threat in the East. With their grinding style of play, night in and night out, it’s hard to see them having the stamina to secure the 1-seed outright, but look out for this team in the playoffs.
I love Rose, Hinrich, Noah, Taj, Butler, Pau, and even Dunleavy. Dougie McBuckets has shown some promise off the bench with some much needed scoring relief. Aaron Brooks has been just another player in the cast of successful scoring backup point guards for the Bulls. Seriously, it seems like it doesn’t matter who they put back there; that position ends up being successful year after year, from CJ Watson to Nate Robinson to DJ Augustin, and now to Brooks.
The crown of backup PG who occasionally or frequently fills in for Rose has been passed to you, Aaron. You literally cannot fail.
Even more lastly, here's one note from the West. I’ll put in a plug for my beloved Thunder, who actually pulled off a win against Boston to raise themselves to 3-6, ahead of my 5-15 prediction. The more games they win now, the less they'll have to make up later, putting their playoffs odds exponentially better with each triumph they get above five in their first 20 games.
Too bad they're not in the East.