Welcome back to what will be the final article(s) I will write before the 2019-2020 NBA season begins! It’s been a fun time, reading, digesting, researching, etc., all of the news, stats, depth charts that have come out over the past few months and from last season to be able to get a plan of action, if you will on how the upcoming season will predict to look. This Is exactly what will be included in the this article and the next one to follow – Team ranks for both the East and the West. This article will ONLY cover the Eastern Conference, as I wanted to give a little analysis with each spot, and why I chose where I have them in my ranks. So, making this a 2-part article. Look for the Western Conference to come out in a few days hopefully (the West is so stacked, lots to like and tbh, Im still working on the ranks for them).
Without further ado, here are my Eastern Conference Team Ranks for the 2019-2020 NBA Season:
1.) Philadelphia 76ers– Can’t wait to see all the Bucks truthers come out for me on this one, but hey, this is where I am at. I have a plethora (okay, maybe just a couple, but they are MAJOR) of reasons why I am going with the Sixers here. Number one, they have DEPTH on their bench. Number two, they have an over-all more solid team this year, than they did last year. Now, why do you say that Sean? It is because they went out, signed Al Horford. OK, who cares? Horford was one of THE main reasons the Celtics even got as far as they did last season. Another huge get for them, Josh Richardson, in the Butler deal. Richardson solidifies two things, a great ROLE player who doesn’t exactly “demand” the ball in this offense in which has so many great players already, and he is a GREAT defender. Not that Jimmy wasn’t a great defender, but let’s get real, he was a demander. For these reasons alone, and the fact they have Embiid, Tobias, and Simmons, I have them at #1 and competing for a championship this season.
2.) Milwaukee Bucks– I am not exactly “down-grading” the Bucks this season, I love this team still. However, I think the Sixers, on paper, and talent-wise throughout the full roster, are BETTER. Now, The Bucks will be the contenders again that they were last season, BUT I feel that the back-end of this roster doesn’t produce enough. They have a nice bench, guys like Connaughton, Sterling Brown, Robin Lopez, Wes Matthews, and George Hill all are great depth players, but there aren’t exactly any “STARS” here. This keeps the heavy-lifting on the main stars of Giannis, Middleton, Brook, and maybe Bledsoe (lolz). Still seem them being a 2-seed, but give me Philly this season.
3.) Indiana Pacers– One of the better developed teams here I believe from the off-season and last year. They went out and traded for a few new players who can really vamp up this offense in Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and TJ Warren. Added more defensive guard depth with TJ McConnell. I see this team being VERY good this year once they get the chemistry worked out and the rotations down. McMillian will have no problem doing this, that is the case. Once Oladipo is healthy (hopefully stays this way) in later Nov, early Dec., look for this team to really excel this season and compete in the East. I love this team make-up, I love how the roster looks, and I love how it could work. Sabonis now at the 4, and staggering at the 5, Myles Turner will get to do what he like to do in being that stretch 5, and Brogdon I believe is a much better offensive upgrade compared to Darren Collison, who retired after last season.
4.) Boston Celtics– By now folks are saying, “where are the Raptors?” well, we will get to them, I promise. However, I feel like this roster is far too deep, at not just the guard spot, but the forward spot, and so many guys who can play 2-3 different spots that Stevens will have this team optimally playing at their best. They moved on from a few veteran guys in Kyrie and Horford to make the youth movement, and I am totally here for it. Grabbing a stud in Kemba in the process, also a scoring center in Enes Kanter, although he can’t play a lick of defense, but he will help the offense immensely. Tons of guards who will contribute nightly on this squad in Jayson Tatum (can play 3-4 also), Jaylen Brown, Marcus smart, and Carsen Edwards to name a few. The Center spot is more than likely still up in the air, and depending on who they utilize Enes, will be something to monitor has they also have Theis AND Robert Williams in the mix here. Again, I don’t feel this is a championship-caliber team, however I feel with the strong coaching, and the make-up of this roster being able to rotate out so many guys, they will be good still.
5.) Toronto Raptors– Here you go, you savage Rap fans. I am sorry to say, but I feel the Raptors do take a step back this season. What do we know? Kawhi was one of the main pieces that allowed them to have the playoff run they did last season leading into an NBA Finals Championship. That is now over. He is gone. Another thing, there are far too many question marks with the veterans on this team. Meaning there are a couple that are more than likely on the trading block in guys such as Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, even Kyle Lowry, who we thought might go before DDR? I just don’t feel this team will be “as good” as last season. I feel that they have some nice young talent in guys like Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, Chris Boucher, and maybe even Normal Powell gets a chance to make a splash, but again, I feel like the 5-seed is fair, to say the least.
6.) Miami Heat– Another team I feel that can make a good run in the playoffs and will not be a team that these 1-3 seed want to see in the playoffs either. Spolestra went out and got some talent, man. The Heat already had talent to begin with. They made a nice run last season and almost sniped the 8th seed from the Pistons. I feel this team could be a bit better this season and come in as my 6th seed. They parted ways with a real thorn in their side in Hassan Whiteside, this unleashing the beast that is Bam Adebayo, they went out and signed Jimmy Buckets (LOVE THIS FIT FOR HIM), and they drafted a stud in Tyler Herro. This team can get far on their first 7-8 players, but I feel that the depth in the end will not be enough for them as well, and not enough star-power to over-come a team like the Celtics even. Really liked what they did in the offseason, and can see them only getting better from here.
7.) Orlando Magic– Believe it or not, this team really found a groove last season and to be quite damn honestly, I thought they were going to make a heck of a run, but given the fact that they were matched up with the Raptors in their first round, was not good. I have them exactly where they fell last season as the 7thseed, and I feel that as a team they didn’t exactly make many moves per say, but they grew the talent they had. They did add Al-Farouq Aminu and I feel he gives them a great utility-type role that can play multiple spots and will be essential off the bench. Their bench is actually pretty dang good with guys like Terrence Ross, Aminu, and newly added Markele Fultz (which many are really hoping for a break-out), and even Wes Iwundu. Noted that Johnathan Isaac gained about 30 lbs. in the offseason, and looks to be taking charge of the ball more when it’s in his hands, so this is something to watch also.
8.) Atlanta Hawks– Honestly, could have went a few different routes for this 8th seed, but I really think the Hawks will be a fun team to watch, and not just that, I feel they win a couple close games that will put them over the edge to get into the playoffs. The hawks lacked depth last season, they were young (still are young), but now most of their sheer guys have 1-2 years of experience under their belts. I really look forward to seeing Trae Young in year 2, John Collins in year 3, and also Kevin Huerter in year 2 as well. Not to mention their draft picks of both De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will significantly play into their depth. Also, acquired two nice pieces in Jabari Parker and Allen Crabbe to help on the offensive side. They may not be able to stop a 5th grade girl’s intermural basketball team at scoring, but they should be able to out-score most.
9). Brooklyn Nets– I just can’t see this team competing for much, but next season when KD comes back, boy oh boy. They have talent, that is not the question, but they just don’t have enough right now with KD injured. Kyrie will be a top fantasy player this season, but the rest of the line-up is good, but not great. Guys like Caris Levert, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, and even Jarrett Allen are “good”, but not great. Levert is a stud though, I will say that. They did add some depth though with Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, and even Garrett Temple, but I just don’t see the star-power they need to make a big push until KD returns.
10.) Detroit Pistons– This team could be all over the place really. I couldn’t exactly gauge how much I liked them, but felt that they were kind of mehh at best. Mid-pack so to say, feel they can reel off some wins, but not enough to matter. Drummond will continue to be a fantasy god, Griffin has fallen off a bit and cannot stay healthy, Reggie Jackson will probably be traded, they are starting a guy named Tony Snell, and Bruce Brown may be half-decent for fantasy. That’s about all I got. They do have a decent roster though, picked up Markieff Morris, Thon Maker, and even Derrick Rose to round out the bench.
11.) New York Knicks- When it gets down here close to the bottom, it gets really bad. I honestly had the hardest struggle deciding between NYK, CHI, CHA, and CLE. They are all almost in the same positions, rebuild, youth movements etc. Although, I feel the Knicks have the best shot to gain some equity in their season with the guys that they have on roster. Grabbing guys like Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Marcus Morris for veteran depth, and drafting a stud scoring and defensive player in RJ Barrett, but again, will the chemistry work? They have a trio at the PG spot competing for the job in Dennis Smith Jr., Elf Payton, and even Frank Ntilillikina, in which all could be good PGs, and all should see time at the guard spot, but none are “great.” Bobby Portis will be a nice spell at the 4-5 also. So, this team is awful looking roster-wise, but just not sure they can string along a lot of wins.
12.) Chicago Bulls– Obviously, we all know the Bulls won’t be good again. However, they do have talent. They have Zach Lavine, Otto Porter Jr., and Lauri Markkanen. They also went out and got a veteran PG in Tomas Satoransky, and a veteran PF in Thad young. They have young talent in the form of Coby White, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Daniel Gafford. The team chemistry won’t be there, they will struggle to stay healthy, and more than likely 2-3 of their players will be traded (looking at Kris Dunn mainly). SO, with that said, there a few pieces that will be fantasy relevant, but not real-life basketball reality.
13.) Charlotte Hornets– Another team that is going to have to ride the coat-tails of some players you probably don’t know or even know played on this team. When you are relying on guys like Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, and Cody Zeller, it’s about time to blow it up. They did part ways with a few guys in Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, and they still have a few guys left that will absolutely be fantasy relevant in Terry Rozier, Dwayne Bacon, and Miles Bridges, but the rest of this line-up you can just shoot to the sun.
14.) Cleveland Cavaliers– This team is a dumpster fire. Not Washington Wizards dumpster fire, but damn near close. Too many hurt veterans, load management out the wazoo, and it’sjust not a good set up. Love can’t stay healthy, Tristan Thompson got the Kardashian curse still, Jordan Clarkson is blowing past one of your best young drafted guards in Kevin Porter Jr. Its ugly. There is no end in sight here, and this team is years away from doing anything meaningful again.
15.) Washington Wizards– Boy, this team is just bad. That is really all that I can say. I feel awful for Brad Beal. You see the meme from Pulp Fiction where John Travolta walks into the room and aimlessly turns in circles looking for human life? That is the Washington Wizards. Get Beal and Thomas Bryant in fantasy, also look at Justin Robinson and Admiral Schofield. That is all.
There you have it! The Mitch’s Eastern Conference Team Rankings. Hope you enjoyed! Can’t wait to hear the feedback on these. Western Conference coming out soon! Be on the lookout.