With the major free-agent deals history teams are basically set. Deng/Gordon are dealing with the reality there is no money left out there for another team to swoop in with a great long-term deal. Somehow, as of now unknown, Deng and Gordon will remain with the Bulls. Where does this leave us for the 2008-9 season?
D Rose likely, at 19 years old ,will not turn everything around by himself his season. We should be better because we couldn't be worse than last year. Our challenge is the East, though not yet a beast, is improved. It is not going to be easy to make the playoffs. Of course I want us to win the East. The following is my guess. How do you think the standing will end up?
- Boston - unless the big three are injured they will be tough to beat
- Philadelphia - they finished 7th last year. I see them only better with Brand. Brand - Dalembert are a pretty potent inside presence. Combine this with A Miller, Iggy, T Young and Lou Williams they have a potent team. Philly could challenge for the top spot if Boston has injuries.
- Cleveland - I had trouble deciding with Detroit. It is hard to go against James and until I see Detroit deteriorate I have trouble going against them. James wins out.
Detroit - see above
- Washington - finished 5th w/o Arenas and had significant injuries. I am not convinced Arenas is going to return to 100% so I keep them at the 5th spot.
- Toronto - They should be better with ONeal. How much better is related to ONeal's health which remains a concern.
- Orlando - I want ot put them higher but have a feeling that Lewis will not be as good 2008-9 as he was proving he was worth all that money last year.
- Chicago - because I am biased and I want us to make the playoffs. Realistically Atlanta, Indiana, Miami, Milwaukee should be better and making the playoffs will be a challenge.
- Milwaukee - Skiles/Jefferson and the motivation to improve from last years horrible 26 - 56. They will be better
- Atlanta - Bibby, Josh Smith and all will be back and there is no reason they shouldn't be better, except I think they will be worse. Josh Smith is not happy with Woodson. There is bad karma hanging around this team.
- Miami - I fear I may be underestimating the Heat Beasley, Wade and Marion are scary. Riley will try to add some pieces, I just don't think they have enough to make the playoffs.
- Charlotte - they are determined to make the playoffs next year but I think a team with MJ as GM is a team with problems. Brown wants to rebound from the Knick fiasco; the return of Sean May, Morrison and the addition of Augustine should help. Wallace and Richardson are flashy, good but flawed. I could be wrong., but this doesn't feel like a playoff team to me.
- Indiana - I like the addition of TJ Ford and Hibbert but they don't have enough to compete.
- Knicks - my most hated team also cannot be worse than last year but they continue to surprise me
New Jersey - I am not a big Ji fan (sorry Option27) and they are clearly positioning themselves for two years from now. VC will be traded by the Feb deadline.
I am ready to be torn apart.