clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eastern conference power rankings: The East is soft, man

Somehow, the Cavaliers are still on top in the East.

Boston Celtics Introduce Kyrie Irving Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Note: These power rankings of the Eastern Conference will run weekly once actual basketball is happening. For now, consider them a little more sparse.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 53.5

2016-17 Record: 51-31

After the offseason the Cavaliers just had, it felt odd to put them at the top of the list. But then you’re reminded: they still have LeBron James, and nobody else does. The Celtics have added top end talent, but they sacrificed depth and defense to get there. Everyone else mostly retained their own players and blew it up. Koby Altman was handed a tough job, but for now, the Cavaliers remain at the top spot.

2. Boston Celtics | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 55

2016-17 Record: 53-29

Well, I guess we can all stop making fun of Danny Ainge for not pulling the trigger. He added Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to an Eastern Conference finalist while only bringing back four (!!!) players from that team. Brad Stevens has an odd roster to work with, but it could be potent once he figures it out.

3. Toronto Raptors | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 48.5

2016-17 Record: 51-31

The Raptors had a chance to blow it up, let Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka leave and retool around DeMar DeRozan. They didn’t do that, and spent big to keep the gang together. Meanwhile, they added a quality starter at small forward in C.J. Miles who should help juice the spacing. If LeBron leaves next summer, this is a team with a genuine shot to go to the Finals.

4. Washington Wizards | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 48.5

2016-17 Record: 49-33

The Wizards ran it back, which is both good and bad. The good: their core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter is locked up for the long term. The bad? Their bench sucks.

5. Milwaukee Bucks | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 47.5

2016-17 Record: 42-40

Folks have big dreams for the Bucks this season with a win total of 47.5, but this is a squad that tends to zig and zag. If they stay healthy, they should be quite good. Can they stay healthy?

6. Miami Heat | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 43.5

2016-17 Record: 41-41

The Heat were another team that went all in on a roster that probably isn’t winning titles any time soon after they lost the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes. Their second-half surge was one of the best stories of the season last year. We’ll see if the good vibes continue.

7. Charlotte Hornets | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 42.5

2016-17 Record: 36-46

Adding Dwight Howard to get things turned around has been a inconsistent elixir, but he solves a lot of problems for the Hornets. And he looks right in his new jersey, which is about 40 percent of my analytical process.

8. Philadelphia 76ers | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 41.5

2016-17 Record: 28-54

Lots of folks have this team making the playoffs, an honor bestowed by default given how putrid the Eastern Conference is. They certainly look sexy with Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons making their NBA debuts and a (conceptually) healthy Joel Embiid returning as well. I’m gonna have to see it for a bit before I’m in on this squad.

9. Detroit Pistons | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 38.5

2016-17 Record: 37-45

If the Pistons just didn’t suit up a team this year, would anybody notice outside of the Detroit metropolitan area? Blegh.

10. New York Knicks | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 30.5

2016-17 Record: 31-51

The Knicks are a beautiful mess, but they still have a developing (if unhappy) Kristaps Porzingis in the fold, something none of the teams below them can even hope to match. The Melo situation looms, but it’s looking more and more like the team’s going to start camp with him on the roster (whenever I say this on the record, a deal normally happens within 5-10 minutes, so you’re welcome).

11. Indiana Pacers | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 31.5

2016-17 Record: 42-40

The Pacers traded Paul George for young spare parts instead of Kevin Love and then immediately signed or traded for 27 or so win-now veterans. Let’s say they don’t have a clear idea of just how competitive they’re trying to be right now.

12. Atlanta Hawks | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 25.5

2016-17 Record: 43-39

The Hawks over is one of my favorite bets, and Mike Budenholzer’s system is kind of MacGyver-esque. Just a few rubber bands and chewing gum cranks out 25 wins on its own, and he’ll just need his top end players to play their role. They won’t be good, but they won’t be fun to play.

13. Orlando Magic | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 33.5

2016-17 Record: 29-53

If the Pistons Magic just didn’t suit up a team this year, would anybody notice outside of the Detroit Orlando metropolitan area? Blegh.

14. Brooklyn Nets | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 26.5

2016-17 Record: 20-62

The Nets are a very, very bad team whose reputation is buoyed by a really solid coach and a front office that finally knows what it’s doing. But don’t get it twisted: There’s not a ton of reasons they should be competing for 30 wins this season.

15. Chicago Bulls | Vegas Win Total Over/Under: 22.5

2016-17 Record: 41-41

Kris Dunn might be their starting point guard. Kris Dunn might be their starting point guard. Kris Dunn might be their starting point guard. Kris Dunn might be their starting point guard. Kris Dunn might be their starting point guard. Kris Dunn might be thei-