George injury shuffles East deck

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Long before the Indiana Pacers were dealt the wicked blow of losing All-Star swingman Paul George to a compound fracture of his right leg he suffered during Friday night’s USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas, people were ready to write the Pacers off for the 2014-15 season.

The way the No. 1 seed Pacers finished last season, the wild swings in play throughout their run to the Eastern Conference finals, the upgrades that took place this summer in Cleveland, Chicago, Washington and elsewhere — all that already made it easy to assume that George and the Pacers would fall back to the pack.

But a Pacers team facing the prospect of playing an entire season without its leading scorer and best player — not to mention Lance Stephenson, who departed for Charlotte via free agency — shuffles the deck dramatically in the Eastern Conference.

A seriously wounded Pacers team makes it easier for LeBron James and the Cavaliers and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls to make up ground for that top spot. And if anyone knows what life is like without your superstar catalyst available, it’s the Cavaliers and Bulls.

When James left Cleveland for Miami via free agency in the summer of 2010, it devastated the Cavaliers, who didn’t recover until he decided to come home this summer via free agency. There was no way for the Cavaliers to compensate for the loss of the best player in basketball. No way.

The Bulls were able to remain among the Eastern Conference elite the past two seasons while dealing with Rose’s injury issues. But they’re the exception and not the rule when it comes to the loss of superstar talent, for whatever reason. And while they remained in the playoff mix, they couldn’t scale the mountain in the East without Rose and everyone knew it.

How Frank Vogel holds this Pacers bunch together in the face of this sort of adversity should prove to be one of the most intriguing storylines of the 2014-15 season. The Pacers have to brace themselves for assaults from all directions.

C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey were nice pick ups in free agency this summer. But they are not adequate replacements for either George or Stephenson. They certainly cannot be expected to deliver the 35.5 points, 14 rebounds or 8.1 assists George and Stephenson combined for last season.

Pacers veterans David West, Roy Hibbert and George Hill will all have to take on more of the load, both on the court and off the court. The double whammy of losing Stephenson and then George no doubt makes that clear to the Pacers’ brass, who are right to make George’s recovery their No. 1 priority right now.

Pacers boss Larry Bird acknowledged as much in a statement released by the team (which can be seen in its entirety by clicking here):

“Our first thoughts are with Paul and his family. It is way too early to speculate on his return as the No. 1 priority for everyone will be his recovery. Our initial discussions with our doctors and the doctors in Las Vegas have us very optimistic. We are hopeful at some point next week Paul will return to Indianapolis to continue his recovery.

“There is no question about the impact on our team but our goal is to be as strong-willed and determined as Paul will be in coming back. Our franchise has had setbacks in its history but has demonstrated the abilities to recover. Paul will provide the example of that off the court and it is up to the rest of us to provide that example on the court. Any discussion regarding the future of our team would be inappropriate at this time. Our focus is solely on Paul and doing whatever we can to help.”

Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard got more specific with the Indianapolis Star on Saturday, expressing optimism that George will come back better than ever:

“What I’ve learned through this process is that it’s not [career-ending],” Pritchard said, when he spent time with George at the hospital. “It’s actually a good thing. It’s bone and bone only. It doesn’t look like any soft-tissue damage. We’re not trying to project when he’s coming back, just trying to get him through this week and then we’ll know more, but the biggest risk right now is infection. That looks really good right now. They just changed his dressing and it looks really good.

“I have no fear he’ll be back and back in a big way. We’re not going to put a timetable on it but I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll be back.”

The lingering question, of course, is what will the Pacers do in the meantime? What can they do to compensate for such a tremendous loss?

Those are questions that, quite frankly, do not have clear-cut answers right now.

What we do know is that the Pacers will have to fight for their playoff lives next season.

The last time a team that finished atop the conference standings during the regular season lost its top two scorers was when the Orlando Magic lost Nick Anderson and Penny Hardaway after the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, per Elias Sports.

After finishing with identical 33-17 records (Miami and Indiana were the other two teams), the Magic finished the 1999-2000 season with a 41-41 record and in the ninth spot, on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

I’m not ready to write the Pacers off before we know what their contingency plan entails. But they are mighty vulnerable now and until further notice.

72 Comments

  1. Douglas says:

    1. Cavs
    2. Bulls
    3. Wizards
    4. Raptors
    5. Heat
    6. Hornets
    7. Hawks
    8. Nets/Knicks

  2. I can see the same thing happening just like the suprs decades ago…superstar David Robinson gets injured…they become lottery bound and get a second superstar…then trade the useless roy hibbert for a center that you could actually count on…somebody like Nikola Pekovic or Marc Gasol…instant championship contender right there

  3. Parad0x says:

    My guess.

    1. Cavs
    2. Bulls
    3. Raptors
    4. Heat
    5. Wizards
    6. Nets
    7th and 8th seed is wide open, either the Hawks, Pistons, Sixers, Bucks, Bobcats will get it (barring any major injuries) the bottom teams right now are the Knicks, Pacers, Celtics and Magic (my opinion). Indiana should make a move to get someone to fill-in for George. Beasley is the best fit available.

  4. nbafan says:

    I think the top 3 teams in the east may be Bulls, Cavs, and Wizards/Heat..

  5. Chris says:

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Washington
    4. Toronto
    5. Charlotte
    6. Miami
    7. New York
    8. Brooklyn
    9. Atlanta
    10. Detroit
    11. Orlando
    12. Boston
    13. Philadelphia
    14. Indiana
    15. Milwaukee

    (Past number 8, it’s a bit unpredictable.I would rather Miami at 7, so we can have a Cleveland-Miami series.)

  6. what the Bull(s) says:

    this season the pacers should TANK !!!

  7. David says:

    You see why the Spurs did not give Manu permission to play this summer. Too much risk for injury. I know the Pacers are kicking themselves in the but for letting Granger go.

  8. Chris says:

    Michael Beasley???? *drops mic*

  9. Paulo says:

    The Pacers should hire Ron Artest (Metta World Peace), who wants to win a title to Indianápolis, to play at the 3 spot (in Paul George’s place).

  10. vern says:

    All you people now jumping on the Cav’s bandwagon, need to atleast let them play a game. On paper means nothing when it comes to NBA teams. Personality conflicts have ruined more teams than bad play.

  11. salah says:

    The Raptors are the most underrated team ever!! I think raptors would go 3 or 4 in the east!!

  12. BeerJunkie says:

    My predictions…

    1. Cavs
    2. Wizards
    3. Bulls
    4. Heat
    5. Raptors
    6. Hornets
    7. Knicks
    8. Pacers/Hawks

    • Bo Dallas says:

      man, Hawks will fare higher than 8th seed for sure, with Horford’s return plus Sefolosha’s defensive contribution…

      and you’re counting out Nets? Knicks will stink for another year

  13. Pacersdynasty arch nemesis says:

    RIP Pacersdynasty this is a sad day :(

  14. Jason Clark says:

    This a great time for the Pacers to look at bringing in Rajon Rondo. Yes the Pacers will not be as good without George, but he can definitely move an offense in the right direction. HIbbert can then get 25 and 15 a night. West can get 20 ppg. Rondo makes the game easier for others. Having him will slow down the game, but it will give them a better chance in a very formidable East.

  15. dmh says:

    Best wishes to PG!!! First of all… Get well soon.

    The way this offseason has gone, it is going to test the true coaching abilities of Frank Vogel and Eric Spoelstra. I think that the true coaching abilities of Eric Spoelstra were grossly over-inflated by the mere presence of Lebron. I think that Frank Vogel could have done more with his bench and his younger players. The rest of the east got better as well for the most part making the overall job harder in the east.

    Losing Stephenson was a big enough blow. This blow of the PG injury makes a person wonder where the offense is really going to come from. West will need to regain the youth that made him an allstar with N.O…. Hibbert has been working out with some Laker greats in the offseason and if it transfers over the pacers should be ok. Stuckey is an interesting addition that will partially help George Hill with ball handling. If Stuckey can regain the form that made the pistons think that he was the heir to Chauncey Billups, that will help the pacers cushion the blow. Either way, making up for Stephenson and PG will have to be a collective effort.

    Lebron signing leapfrogged the cavs to at least 4th in the east. Barring other “inevitable moves” the cavs probably will be better than that depending on the shape of the moves….. (inevitable moves take the form of Love) The heat are still playoff worthy as is but, Deng is no Lebron. The wizards took care of business when it came to Pierce. Pierce is that gunner that will instill the maturity that a champion needs. I don’t know if it was enough to put the Wizards over the top but, it keeps the Wizards up there while giving Wall and Beal a former champion to learn from further for that “next step.” Granted yes, Ariza has a ring too but not as a focal point and he was not an allstar. Pierce was…. Toronto held on even if their draft pick is “two years from being two years away.” New York made some unilateral moves which may or may not pan out (think longrun knicks fans). Brooklyn lost Pierce and have two coming off injuries. Detroit is an interesting dark horse that ultimately will improve but, I anticipate seeing stories of SVG fines and suspensions more than wins this year. Charlotte got their 2nd star with Stephenson and should be greatly improved from last year. Lastly, the Bulls may have a new and improved (knock on wood) DRose back as well as adding McBuckets, Gasol, and the euro guy while amnestying Boozer.

    Early guess of the east would have to be 1. Bulls (Can Rose stay healthy?) 2.Cavs (gonna take a few games to get going) 3. Wizards (SE Winner) 4. Toronto (Atlantic winner) 5. Charlotte 6. Atlanta ( I kind of like their quiet moves plus last year Horford was injured) 7. Miami 8. Brooklyn (beneficiary of a weak Atlantic division but, going to start slow with key guys coming back from injury). The next 3 are the Pacers, Knicks, and the darkhorse pistons who need to make some movers and shakers type moves mid-season regardless. I can easily see any one of the next 3 take Miami or Brooklyn over if things go wrong. I understand that Pat Riley was just trying to salvage free agency after losing Lebron but, the roster needs more work than that to stay on top of the east. Eric Spoelstra will have to show a lot more than what he has as there is no Lebron on the roster to come even close to single handedly dragging the heat to the finals. Frank Vogel will have to develop his bench a lot more than last year. This season will be a true coaching test for last year’s east top dogs. Both teams have vets to help but, losing a star hurts. They may surprise me but they also could collapse. My gut says it will be somewhere in the middle.

    I am sure that spurs fans are licking their chops anticipating who comes out of the east.

  16. jRock says:

    Chris Copeland starts at the 3?

  17. Spurs Fan says:

    ! Go Spurs Go !

  18. AusCeltic says:

    Don’t want to trivialize the injury but I wonder if the Pacers are regretting trading Danny Granger yet?

  19. Ors says:

    I hate when 2+ all stars get together. It’s depressive move…”I can’t do it by myself, let’s get 2 more star players”. To me it is like all-star team. When James teamed up with Wade and Bosh – i just hated it, now I hate that every James fan want more all-stars by his side. Do you think it’s fair? When Lakers wanted CP3, NBA showed red light. But now it’s normal. I don’t think that Cavs can get to the finals. Irving and others never played in playoffs. Not even Love. + theres to many issues between players. Don’t forget, Miami lost finals to Mavs with champion Wade and playoff player Bosh.
    And now more important: Griffin broke his leg also, missed first season and came back HUGE. Hope PG will come back even better.

  20. Kevin Williamson says:

    PG’s injury certainly does shake up the East, not to mention the future of USA Basketball. It will have devastating effects there: http://straighthoops.com/the_aftermath.html

  21. Bo Dallas says:

    New EC power rankings

    1. Bulls
    2. Cavaliers
    3. Hawks
    4. Raptors
    5. Wizards
    6. Hornets
    7. Nets
    8. Heat

    Pacers still may contend for playoffs… All they have to do is to BOLIEVE! :)

  22. Tom Broad says:

    Its a real shame about PG24, but as a pacers fan and a win now attitude why don’t we amnesty him, trade hibbert and west and tank the season and re-build.

  23. olbl says:

    nice photo with a parasyte… hey paul george, you start to hang out with that “familly” ? ok ok man, i see

  24. ATLien says:

    Pacers should consider how the 2015 lottery will look…. I been hearing the nba is about to get a big man overhaul in the next two drafts…take ya Ls and do yo research for the best pick possible…

  25. faistblaque says:

    The pacers were not going to win a NBA championship in 2015, WITH Paul George.
    They couldn’t win the East in 2013 or 2014 with him.
    Three teams in the East had moved ahead of the Pacers, before his injury.
    Cleveland, Chicago and Washington are all improved.
    The big dogs in the East for the last few years, the Heat and the Pacers are now mere members of the pack.

    The Pacers have become a team of faceless “could of been’s”, considering in a span of a year they lost George, Stephenson, Turner and Granger.
    I find it difficult separating C. J. Miles from C. J. Watson from Rasual Butler.

    The Pacers 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kawhi Leonard would look good in a Pacers uni right about NOW..

  26. Jay Franklin says:

    hate to say it, but when the cavs lock up love in less than a month.The bulls or a banged up team in west will not stop the cavs and certainly not the pacers, even if george was healthy. Lebron ( I still don’t like him), love, Irving. No one can stop that match up, top 3 big guy, best player in world, plus top 3 point guard. If varejao and waiters are healthy and playing well late season, bulls don’t stand a chance.

    • MrHegemony says:

      Varejao healthy and playing well late in the season is a pretty tall order. Not saying that the Cavs can’t do it – and with Love all but a sure thing now – because they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. The Bulls, however, have defense and twin towers now with Gasol and Noah, so they won’t be slouches either.

  27. thespectator says:

    I been calling it before pg24 injury and its even more evident that its gonna be the bulls vs cavs in the ECF and then cavs against the spurs for the finals…spurs in 5

  28. shotgun says:

    Breaking his leg in USA’s scrimmage won’t help Paul George get his ring. He’ll need to team up with THE KING Lebron James in Cleveland and break his leg there to…

    wha-

  29. pacersontop says:

    ugghhh Larry Bird, such a horrible team president. Getting bynum on the team, losing granger, just awful

  30. sam30 says:

    I, for one, feel like we should at least wait for the Cavaliers to play some games before we talk about how they’ve “recovered”. Yes, I know on paper they look really good. But all things in due time, yeah?

    Hope that PG comes back better than ever.

  31. zabooo says:

    They could use disabled player exeption on George and boost their bench. Obivously West must go back to his NOLA days, Hill must start playing like a point guard and Hibbert must regain his confidence. I think Luis Scola will help also. They lost a lot, but they have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, 6-8 seed reality

    • Really? says:

      They got two point guards from this off season. They could put Hill at the 2. He isn’t a true point guard, and he doesn’t have to play like one.

  32. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    can we get a phantom of his leg breaking ? since they’re shoving it down our throats so much

  33. Alan Hollway says:

    I am a spurs fan and I saw the Heat disintegrate in the finals against a superior team, but too many people are prepared to write off the Heat without Lebron and I am not one of them. The fact is that both Wade and Bosh played second fiddle in a big way and now they both can have a more dominanting role particularly Bosh and I think Wade will be a better player under such circumstances, remember he won the Heat a championship almost on his own against the Mavs. Most franchises would killed for the quality of Wade and Bosh and if Bosh steps up he can be a ready made replacement for James and for the Heat to content they only need to get the bench much deeper. As regards the Pacers its hard to seem them going anywhere other than down with the terrible injury to George and the loss of Stephenson their support cast is simply not up to it, they may have lost their opportunity. Still I see the threats still coming from the West with Thunder, Rockets, Mavs and Spurs still the most powerful.

    • Flexy says:

      Finally a realistic response. I am a Heat fan and watched the Spurs destroy them with the “best player in the world”. The fact is Lebron is a great player but his weakness is strong in your face D which KL displayed and shut him down. The fact is the Pacers were not going anywhere fast, PG has great potential and needs to rest up like Rose did and come back after the All Star break. Honestly I wouldn’t mind seeing PG in a Heat uniform, if he wants to define himself as a great he should beat LBJ in a Heat Jersey. And the statement you made is so very true, people are counting the Heat out as if they are a lost cause, the Cavs are worse than the Heat were, with limited to no Chemistry, its funny how the badwagon is full to its mouth right now with weak minded people. Just becasue Lebron went over to the Cavs doesn’t mean they are gettin some rings. KL is still a Spur, will again shut LBJ down, and regardless the Cavs are no match. This year will be a very interesting year indeed, West will be Spurs vs OKC in the WCF, for the East it is pretty much open season, but none of the teams in the east can contend with the best in the West, why you ask because unlike the East the West is all about teamwork, where for some reason the East believes that a 3 man show is the answer. last I checked their is a 12 man rotation that wins games hence why the Psurs will dominatae atleast another 2 more seasons.

    • ray says:

      Wade is not even half the wade of his early years the year before dallas he was out and they lost to the pistons. Wade was not a factor (positive that is) this finals and lebron was not the reason he has always been a question mark if he was healthy they would have beat the spurs lebron I think could see that miami could not give up on wade they made little effort to fix the lack of a big man or pg issue

  34. Jimmy says:

    I’m a bulls fan (hometown) and I do think they’ll be atop of the east next season and go further into the playoffs then the last 3 seasons, but don’t count out Miami. D-wade can shut anybody up if he feels the need and it’s not like he’s awful as f**k anyway because of the numbers he can still put up. I’m not a Miami fan period but D-Wade isn’t gonna fold. Cleveland, idk 2nd seed at best, if not then 3rd. And Washington is to be reckoned with as well but Ariza left so 😂😂 PG is gonna come back (whenever that may be) and tear s**t up but the Pacers are gonna be a playoff team I think 😂 if they struggled with George AND Lance on the team, idk what’s gonna happen this upcoming season.

  35. NBAIQ says:

    My prayer’s out to PG24! I hope to see him out there after next season.

    History lesson: James Worthy broke his leg in a 1983 game and he came back even better. He eventually became the 1988 NBA Finals MVP!

    • Fastbreak says:

      Good point! However, Worthy’s injury was arguably more devstating because it had occurred 2 weeks before the start of the 1983 playoffs. No time to recover from that blow.

  36. Whom says:

    Wow. Just… wow. Danny Granger stepping in and becoming even a fraction of what he was, then going ahead in subsequent seasons with George post-injury… what could have been. This is just fuel to the fire of how Bird and management made the ultimate in atrocious decisions by trading Granger. The impact of that trade will linger for years now, like a vengeful spirit punishing them for their haste in giving away the player that had carried them for so long. Imo, this signifies the end of the current era of Pacer glory. It’s in similar fashion to Orlando (my team) in how management destroyed our team and fate seemed to punish us for it.

    • wade says:

      I agree totally with you. Granger held this team together when we were building what we had the last two seasons. He got pushed out for a future that he himself made posible. What a shame the leaders of the Pacers cant ask the public their feelings on such a big move. Cause WE WERE RIGHT THEY WERE WRONG.

  37. Vesmir says:

    Like I said last week, Pacers should get Eric Bledsoe.

  38. ginebransd says:

    King James will still be the King in the East and that’s the Trutth no matter which team he goes to. He carried the Cavs to the finals without any other superstars around him. Now that he got Kyrie / Miller / Wiggins and later Love I don’t think your Bulls nor Heat will have a chance… Boooshhh!

  39. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    When the Cavs gets Kevin Love, then the standings in the east are going to change even more ….

    1- Cavs
    2- Bulls
    3 – Washington
    4- Toronto
    5- Brooklyn
    6- New York
    7- Miami
    8 – Atlanta

  40. kobeballhog2 says:

    Stop talking about the bulls until we actually see drose last more than 10 games during the regular season. Another thing stop talking about kobe. Kobe will never be m, he aint even on the top 10 greatest of all time. He is just a ballhog who rode shaqs immense force during shaqs prime. And wont even budge with his overpriced salary to help the lakers be a contender once again. And with no big time superstar wanted to play with kobe it just shows no one wants to team up with a ballhog.

  41. bull4life says:

    I would definitely say that the bulls will hold much of the power next season. Bird trading Granger was a domino effect, and Lebron will have alot of work ahead of him, that cavs organization is just too messed up.

  42. Gasol Believer says:

    Pacers 2015=Lakers 2014

    Pacers gone. And I also believe they might force to trade Hibbert, As of now, the beast of the East are the Bulls. They are monstrous offensively and defensively. It’s like an element perfectly formulated. If D-Rose and Gasol stay healthy, I think they are going to be the top seed.

  43. jumppong says:

    George will never be the same type of player again..

  44. randomguy says:

    Pacers should really just reshuffle the deck. By the time George is back, West will be old (I doubt he’ll play this year and most likely won’t be 100% next year). Hibbert is way overpaid for the lack of consistency he gives (for a 7’2″ player his rebounding is atrocious, and his offense comes and goes). Hill is not a true point guard and without Stephenson picking up the slack in the playmaking department the Pacers are going to suffer from even worse ball movement (which was already average at best last year). It is unfortunate, but I think it’s also an opportunity. They have the opportunity to rebuild instead of being pressured to win now. However, I really doubt they will. They will try and hang around like the Bulls did and wait for their superstar to return and waste a few seasons in the process. Follow the example of the Spurs: they lost Robinson and dropped from 59 wins to 20. People forget that is how the Spurs built up their initial dynasty, by drafting 1st after reaching the conference semis twice.

  45. Game Ball says:

    @romaraes /JC What??? king who??? Before I thought kobe was not that great, But then again, lebron prove that he wasn’t at MJ or kobe level… Now it was all clear that your so called king was just a ring seeker, jumping ship to another, Kobe stays in Lakers other players come to him, Wade stays and players come to him , yes kobe was a ballhog, But he was the leader ,and true Dwade got no knee but he shares the light to your king so can would flourish, How about your king??? At least Both Kobe and Wade had it w/out lebron… how about your king??? w/out DWADE??? not 1 not 2 not3 rings…. NONE… Cleveland?? washington??? Bulls???? Funny

    • Carlo says:

      You’re saying Kobe and Wade won their title(s) all by themselves.

      Actually, considering what LBJ did in this last season almost without any help from the Heat’s roster, we could say he won almost by himself more than Kobe or Wade.

  46. Jonathan says:

    It don’t matter. Finals winner is coming outta the west anyways.

    • harrythehawk says:

      The Leastern Conference is still, well the Leastern Conference. The Hawks, Chicago, Cleveland and Wizards are looking good. But I agree, the West is still the best.

  47. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    In hindsight, if they never trade Danny, this will at least soften the blow. Moreover, I think their original roster might at least beat the heat last season.

    DG was the guy through all those awful years after the Artest incident. And he even accept a lesser role and let PG and Hibbert shine. I always though DG and west are the ones that could keep Stevenson level headed.

    Well, their roster was one of my favorite in Indiana history. Favourite one was Rik, Miller, Mckey and Jackson!

  48. KratosRage says:

    This was a blow especially to INDIANA. If PAUL GEORGE recovers from this horrific injury, the psychological effect will be there. Just take your time man, strengthen up and don’t force an early return. WEST, HILL and most especially HIBEBRT should fill the gap now PG is out this season. New additions CJ MILES and RODNEY STUCKEY should step up. INDIANA still one of the top teams in the EAST. Get well PG !!!

  49. jdub455 says:

    the heat and the cavs will meet in the eastern finals… and sorry to lebron fans but the heat will bury the cavs in that series… the champion next season will come from the west again…

    • jc says:

      The Heat did a decent job of retooling after LeBron left, but they are no more than first round fodder, even in the East. It’s really a toss up between Cleveland, Washington, and Chicago of who makes it out of the East.

    • romaraes says:

      Dude, what are you talking about? The Heat are lucky if they make the playoffs. Without King James they are nothing. The team to beat in the East is Chicago like it or not.

      • Vlad says:

        What i don t understand about you super star fans is how can you say such crazy stuff with such absolute confidence? Not even a GM talks about things like that with that much arrogance.

        Just stay with the simple discussions: where they spend their vacation, what they tweet, what they wear, what they drive and any other gossip.

        Let basketball to … basketball fans :)

    • No way says:

      There is less than zero chance of that happening. The Bulls will be in the eastern finals and I agree the Cavs will be buried in that series against the Bulls

    • D12 says:

      heat???

    • JustMe says:

      Dude, the bulls are going to destroy the heat and then the cavs. Just wait and you´ll see.

    • musicdja says:

      The Bulls Will have something to say about that match up with a healthy D Rose!

      • boston says:

        all you guys are talking about the cavs and chicago. well wat about brooklyn? they have joe johnson and Dwill and lopez. thats the new big 3. and they got garnett for defense and rebounding. new coach in lionel holins. and a new back up pg in jarret jack. i say the east will have all these teams in the playoffs. brooklyn washington cavs chicago miami charlotte toronto atlanta. the only team i think will not make it in my chosen 8 would be miami. if they dont make it then detroit will take that spot. but regardless its starting to seem that whatever team in the west goes to the finals wins it all

    • Vlad says:

      Totally agree..someone here wrote that miami will not get to the playoffs this season. Are you kidding me? A championship organization, with a championship coach, with Wade, Bosh, and now Granger and Deng, can’t make the 8th spot in the East?

      I say they will make it and most surely not from the 8th spot. They will probably have a lower seed than the Cavs, but that will mean nothing in a 7 game series between them. The Love trade might give them a chance, but not even that is enough this season i believe.