I was reading a chat transcript on ESPN today and someone questioned if it would be the Magic or Celtics challenging the Heat for the next few years. The reply (not shockingly), was neither, that it would be the Bulls. So instead of working I was thinking about how we look for the next few years. Thinking of our own division, it became apparent we have no competition on the horizon for possibly many years. How often does a team have the best player at 4 of the 5 positions within their division? Only 1 is even debatable. Based the positions off of ESPN's depth chart. Obviously a huge factor in the NBA is production relative to salary, that is not a factor in this post. I'm just looking at likely production over the next 4 years. Not "Value".
PG - Moving on, as D Collison is shockingly a clear #2 until Jennings returns.
SG - All we need is someone better than Stuckey and we could have ran the table.
SF - Deng. Going into the season I would have preferred Granger but Deng has exceeded expectations. Still very young, and improving his game. Next best is probably Magette so it is clearly a 2 man race between Deng & Granger.
PF - Boozer. This is almost as bad a rout as at PG. Jamison isn't terrible but Boozer is clearly better than him and over the next few years the drop off will not be nearly as sudden for Boozer as it will be for Jamison.
C - Noah. Unlike PG/PF others may see this differently than me. Noah actually wins the 'less injury prone' comparison against his top competitor in Bogut. Noah's finger worries me a lot less than the various issue Bogut has gone through. This is probably the only position there is some quality amongst the teams in that nobody is terrible. Hibbert/Hickson/Monroe provide the division reasonable representation in the division.
As the 4 positions I feel we have the best player are all locked up to long term contracts (or will be in Rose's case), and the lack of solid young players for the other teams in the division it seems we wont have any competition for awhile. These teams better nail their lottery picks to give us some competition.
My headline was for all-star team, which I guess should include a bench. But there aren't 7 worthy players so I'll just go with starters. Boston is the only other team where you could make the same argument but they clearly don't have reason to believe it will last past this season. By next year they will already be trailing in 2 of the positions to the Knicks alone. Could explain why we both have 12 game leads in our divsion.
If only winning the divsion were the goal. At least we are ensured of having the weakest possible schedule each year to help with the seeding.