The 12 Days of Bullsmas. Day 8: A Peak at the East

Posted: December 20, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Basketball, NBA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

For this day we’re going to look at 8 Eastern Conference teams (excluding the Bulls, full preview on them later) and do a quick synopsis of what they will look like heading into the 2011-2012 season.

8. Milwaukee Bucks

You know I completely forgot this crazy bastard is in the division.

The arrival of Cap’n Jack signals some improvement for the Bucks, as they completely slipped last year and failed to make the playoffs after a few fans figured they would challenge the Bulls for the division. 2010 was a funky year, LeBron left a power vacuum in the Central and it was the Bulls that seized it as Jennings and Bogut both regressed, albeit for completely different reasons. There was a period after Jennings scored 55 points as a rookie that some in Chicago wondered if Derrick would ever be able to command a game like that.

It just goes to show you that you need to judge players against each other over the long haul and not take snapshots too seriously. The Bucks will be improved, but how much is a question. Stephen Jackson is the X Factor, if he somehow manages to not kill Scott Skiles, they should be fine, perhaps even climb to the 5-6 seed. Bogut is coming back healthy and Jennings should fit well in a redefined roll that scales back his shooting. They are a dangerous little team, but that’s only if they don’t self implode.

7. Indiana Pacers

A corn hit him on the head…google tyler hansbrough chicken little and you’ll get it.

These tough little bastards made a name for themselves by grinding out a tough series against the Bulls in round 1 of last years playoffs and then playing the most intense preseason basketball game ever in recorded history last Friday. Bleedy McGrindy will look to lead the children of the corn to a 5th seed and a second round exit. Greg Hibbert made improvements last year, showing that big men take awhile to develop. I don’t quite know what he developed into, but it’s something that can score from 7 ft. in and hit the occasional jumper.

If you haven’t noticed, I hate this team. They are very annoying and are bringing back Freddie Mercury look-a-like Jeff Foster and his band of thugs. What pisses me off the most is that I should hate Foster’s face, but I can’t speak ill of anything concerning Queen, especially not Freddie Mercury. I have an issue with Jeff Foster, he’s a cheap player, and I know every team needs one, but they shouldn’t look like the best singer in music history.

I’ll kill him if he ever grows a mustache.

6. Philadelphia 76ers

They hate each other, it’s a high school thing.

The 76ers need to figure out what to do with Evan Turner. It’s clear that he’s gifted and he’s tall, but they just don’t know where to stick him. The Sixers also have Andre Iguodala, which kinda complicates things. They have some versatility, but they don’t seem to have all the right pieces in the right places. The Sixers will probably be relegated to a 7-8 seed for awhile, the Knicks are getting better and it’ll be a season or two before the Celtics fall off the map.

They are for now a tough out in the playoffs. Their fortunes ride on the future of Evan Turner, which does not look that bright. I like Evan, he does some good charity work, he sponsors a basketball team for kids that aren’t in the best of situations based out of Westchester, but he looks confused right now. I hope he figures it out.

5. New York Knicks

Best Jewish baller ever.

They got Tyson Chandler, and they are going to be a pain in the ass to deal with, but the Knicks aren’t quite there yet. Yes they have two sublime talents in Stoudemire and Anthony, but they are overlapping talents. They do much of the same things and have the same deficiencies, which is odd. Defense in the NBA is a team concept, and it starts with the coach. Mr. Pringles doesn’t teach it so the Knicks won’t play it. Landry Fields is a good young player, and was a surprise last year, but I don’t think they have enough to be a serious contender for the throne. I can see them in the semi’s for another year or two before the hot seat is too much for D’Antoni.

I just can’t see them playing enough defense to get over the Heat, you need to defend against that team because you don’t want to play at Miami’s tempo. Bad, bad, bad idea. I think they will give the Bulls a lot of trouble, but I also know that D’Antoni teams struggle against good defenses, and that’s what the Bulls have. Good team, but they are missing something and it’s keeping them from being great. They will be hyped on account of being from New York, but don’t buy it, defense wins in the playoffs.

4. Orlando Magic

You’re not quite sure if it’s Stan Van Gundy or not. Wait, is it? Damn, I forgot if this is a joke picture or a real picture.

This will probably be completely different by the time the trade deadline rolls around. Dwight Howard controls the fate of this team. I have my issues with Dwight, but he is a great talent that will win you games in the regular season. Provided that he survives in Orlando the entire year, they have the 4 locked up, with Boston probably getting the 5. They will compete with NY for the 3, or perhaps even the Bulls, should they slip that far (a slip is coming, don’t panic, but they will not be winning 60 games this year).

I don’t like the make up of this team, the leader is a clown and the role players belong on a playground or in an And 1 video. They’ll win 40-50 games if Dwight stays, but it won’t look pretty and Van Gundy is probably getting fired.

3. Atlanta Hawks

This is the least homo-erotic picture I could find of Al Horford. You have no idea what I went through.

If they would ever play as a team instead of individuals they would win the whole damn thing. I hate iso ball, and it’s the Hawks trademark at this point. How do you have Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford coming off the bench and Kirk Hinrich and not get out of the second round, like, ever? You can’t play isolation basketball in the playoffs and expect to win. The “My Turn” offense is extremely ineffective and if that’s what you want to do, you better have two badass basketball players running it. The Hawks are good, but their selfish play keeps them from being great.

The Hawks will do the usual, then they’ll miss Crawford in the playoffs and then they’ll lose in the second round. Again. They might luck into a high seed, but I doubt it. It’ll be a funky year, but I don’t think it’ll be that weird.

2. Boston Celtics

Yeah yeah, old joke, I got it.

They’re done as title contenders. Rajon Rondo will be the centerpiece around which the Celtics fortunes will depend on, and then the Celts will find out that he isn’t a centerpiece. They likely already know this, which is why they shopped dude around, but for now, they will make due with him running the point.

He isn’t a bad point guard, quite the opposite, he’s a very good PG. You need to be extraordinary at this spot to make noise however, and with the truncated season the C’s will take a huge step back this year. The Knicks are going to win that division, I think. The Celtics still have a weird core intact, but they are selling pieces and trying to get young in a hurry. I don’t blame them.

1. Miami Heat

They are going to be such a pain in my ass…

I’m actually ok with LeBron winning a ring now, in a weird sort of way. I know a lot of you aren’t, and believe me, I was with you all of last season. I realized something, however. His legacy is never going to be what it could have been. I was mad at him all of last year. He was finally a challenger to the throne of Mike, and while I love EmJeff, a little competition never hurt anyone. I enjoy greatness, I love seeing great players do their thing. So when the King turned into a prince, I was pissed that he didn’t care about his basketball legacy. The phone was ringing and he chose not to answer it.

Whatever, it’s how he is. The killer doesn’t live inside him, we’ve seen it in a few playoff series and the most recent NBA Finals games. He’s a deferential guy who kinda knows how to close, but only because his the biggest/strongest/fastest guy in the league, not because he has an iron will that will not let him setter for the taste of defeat.

That lineup is a bitch to deal with, and they have to be the favorites to win it all this year. I think they will, and I’ll be rooting against them. I understand more about LeBron now, and it’s fine. He’s not who we thought he was, so I’ll stop holding him to that standard.

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