Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 12/24/11

 

9. Boston Celtics

The Celtics had a poor off-season as well.  David West spurning them for the Pacers was a major blow, and Jeff Green’s tragic heart condition really takes away their depth. They failed to improve this off-season, and their big three is continuing to age.  Their championship window is soon closing.

8. New York Knicks

The Knicks made a smart move when they gave up on the Chris Paul pipedream and addressed a real need of theirs since they traded Patrick Ewing, acquiring a defensive center in Tyson Chandler. The Knicks look to be better defensively this season with the added depth in the frontcourt and the signing of defensive assistant coach Mike Woodson.  However, they are very weak at the guard position, and need consistent production from their young guys to help compliment Amar’e and Melo.

7. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers couldn’t have had a worse off-season in such a short time.  David Stern vetoing their trade for Chris Paul was a nightmare, leading to Lamar Odom being dealt to Dallas.  They enter the 2011-2012 season with less depth and talent than they had last year when they got swept by the Mavericks in the playoffs.  They need Kobe and Bynum to stay healthy if they are going to have any shot at contending.

6. Los Angeles Clippers

Obviously trading for Chris Paul was their major pick up of the off-season, but this team has a lot of depth now as well.  Signing Chauncey and Caron Butler gives them additional scoring threats in their offense to help compensate for the loss of Eric Gordon.  Don’t forget about last year’s Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan is ready for the full time starting role. LOB CITY.

5. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs looked to be the favorites out west last season until the Grizzlies knocked them out in the 1st round.  They got a steal in Kawhi Leonard, but Tony Parker will have to stay healthy and produce more with the loss of George Hill.

4. Chicago Bulls

They had a good run last season as they were the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but fell short in the playoffs.  They upgraded big time at shooting guard in signing the experienced Rip Hamilton.  If Boozer and Noah manage to stay healthy, the sky is the limit for this team.

3. Dallas Mavericks

Gaining Lamar Odom and Vince Carter were big, but losing JJ Barea and Tyson Chandler was a little bigger.  They lost what helped propel them from a perennial playoff team, to an NBA finals championship, which was interior defense.  Hopefully Brandon Haywood stays healthy for them.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Their young guys have gained valuable playoff experience the past two seasons, and the competition in the Western Conference hasn’t been this weak in a long time.

1. Miami Heat

They are the obvious favorites as the big three now have regular season and playoff experience  together.  The addition of Battier should help strengthen the defense of their 2nd unit as well.  However, they did nothing to improve their interior defense, as the Eddy Curry signing only makes it worse.

-Blewis



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