Another week, another helping of arbitrary numbers to fight over. The Hawks have been dominant, the Cavs have not. The Knicks are.... well the Knicks are the Knicks. The Sixers are defending, which seems to be easier for teams that do not have Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Thaddeus Young any longer. The Pistons dumped Josh Smith and are undefeated since, because of course. Lets dive in.
1.) Atlanta Hawks (22-8, 8-2 Last 10)
The Hawks are currently maybe the hottest team in the East, and will be hosting the Cavs tomorrow. Jeff Teague is a little banged up, but the otherworldly shooting of Kyle Korver has made that a non-factor.
2.) Chicago Bulls (21-9, 9-1)
If it isn't the Hawks, it's the Bulls. Winners of 6 straight, Derrick Rose is starting to play in back to backs and Nikola Mirotic is getting comfortable contributing at an NBA level night in and night out.
3.) Toronto Raptors (24-7, 8-2)
4.) Washington Wizards (21-8, 8-2)
The Raptors and Wizards have a similar problem, in that they haven't really played any damn body. They both recently just beat the Clippers, but Washington? They have had the easiest schedule in the league, sporting a cool 3 victories over team with a winning record.
5.) Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12, 5-5)
Of the five East teams with a winning record, the Cavs are currently playing the worst. Compounding their 11 new players and brand new coach, they have lost Anderson Varejao for the season, lost Kyrie Irving for a handful of games and have played one of the harder schedules in the league to date. They need to tweak the roster a bit, and to develop chemistry similar to the teams above them that have been together for years, but have 52 games to do so.
6.) Milwaukee Bucks (15-16, 4-6)
Jason Kidd is really building his reputation as a coach this year. The Bucks are well prepared and play hard night in and night out. The loss of Jabari Parker really hurts them.
7.) Brooklyn Nets (13-16, 5-5)
8.) Miami Heat (14-17, 4-6)
One is willing to dismantle the whole thing, the other is dealing with injuries and fighting to stay near .500. THE EAST!
9.) Orlando Magic (12-21, 3-7)
10.) Indiana Pacers (11-20, 4-6)
11.) Charlotte Hornets (10-21, 4-6)
12.) Boston Celtics (10-21, 3-7)
Boston has opened up the tank with the Rajon Rondo trade, and Charlotte is kind of not terrible lately.
13.) Detroit Pistons (7-23, 4-6)
2 and 0 since the removal of Josh Smith, AND ONLY SEVEN GAMES BACK IN THE LOST COLUMN FOR THE NO. 8SEED. WOOOO EAST!
14.) Philadelphia 76ers (4-25, 3-7)
15.) New York Knicks (5-28, 1-9)
Carmelo Anthony has a bum knee, and is slogging through a tire fire of a 2014. He's playing well enough, but everything else about the Knicks is a disaster. They've lost 8 straight, and who knows when they'll win again. They're bad on both ends, to the point that it's almost impressive. FARTDOG veterans Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, and Pablo Prigioni have made sure new point guard Jose Calderon lived up to the FARTDOG standard of the legendary Raymond Felton. The Knicks are are abject disaster, but they DO have their pick this year!
So we trudge on, with five winning records, and a ton of mediocrity. The Bucks and Magic might be the sixth and seventh playoff seeds this year, as long as their cores continue to bond and they don't lose anyone else. Hell, the Pistons could probably make it given that Brooklyn and Miami are so unpredictable. The East is fun. By fun of course I mean bad, but good news! The Cavs get a little (lot) more lee-way to figure themselves out before the playoffs. Only five more months.