Paolo's Blog
ON PAPER, I think this is how it looks:

1. Chicago Bulls - no low-post threat but GREAT chemistry and discipline. Their young pups have had several years under their belts and the playoff exposure will surely have taught them a tremendous lot. I think it might be cheaper to trade for the likes of Jermaine ONeal or Pau Gasol than to give half the team for Kobe. But Kobe is still Kobe, so you still have to consider.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers - LBJ-MVP.  This is his year. Last year he has actually had a meaningful season and that says a lot about him and the whole team.  It's not his fault that the Cavs brass didn't really do much this offseason.  But there is still time.  LBJ is wise to sign just a 3-year deal.  he doesn't want to be Garnett.
3. Boston Celtics - Star Power. Speaking of Garnett, KG's intensity and Ray Allen's savvy will nullify whatever chemistry problems they are expected to face early in the season. I think the problem resides with Pierce since he's been there the longest and all of a sudden, nobody talks about him.  I feel that he might be the most volatile.
4. Detroit Pistons - Do you really want to bet against Chauncey Billups? This is a veteran team and old dogs know how it is.  Rip, Tay, SHeed make them as loaded and as fearsome as they come. And they have, arguably, the most effective sixth man in basketball in Antonio McDyess.Chris Webber should be in the roster by the All-Star break.   That way, they can avoid injuries.  During the loss to the Cavs, I thought only 2 Piston came in to fight, Rip Hamilton and Webber. But now, Billups has his money, the light is more on him. They will deliver.  Something inside me even feels that Detroit should be number 1.
5. New Jersey Nets - Vince "No-Heart" Carter is blessed to be playing alongside Jason "All-Heart" Kidd and Richard "All-Speed" Jefferson. This all Jason Kidd and lawrence Frank. Carter might be spectacular but he has no heart.  He is harold Miner with a longer career.
6. Toronto Raptors- Bryan COlangelo. Look at what he did for the Dinos in just a year.  Bosh will mature more and TJ Ford will learn more. Grant Hill should have gone here.
7. Miami Heat - they might be old and crippled but they still have Dwyane Wade.   Shaq should start embracing who he is. He is a heavier Dale Davis.  He used to dominate. Last year, the Heat were at their best when Zo was on the court.  Zo might not be as talented offensively as Shaq but at this point in their careers, atleast Zo is still effective in one facet, defense. Well  Shaq is still a good interview, I guess.
8. Orlando Magic- Stud Howard now has a legitimate outside gun. You should have stayed another year, Grant. I placed them as the last playoff-bound team because they have the least question marks of the rest of the East.
9. Washington Wizards - should thank the likes of the Pacers, CLippers, etc. they can actually look dominant at times. Agent Zero is the ARod of Basketball. I really don't like this team.
10. New York Knicks - Note: Phil Jackson will be available soon. They need the weird, calming presence and demand for accountability that the Zen Master brings to the table.  This is still a very mercurial team. Very susceptible of beating itself. Not becaue it is young but because it is not an intelligent bunch.
11. Atlanta Hawks: Horford might be young but he looks like a stabilizing force that the Hawks need. But as long as Knight is at the helm and the ownership issue looms, this bird of prey won't be getting any kills.
12. Charlotte Bobcats- they really should be ranked higher. I really think so. Okafor, Felton, Richardson.  That is not a bad trio. Add in Wallace and you suddenly have an interesting team.  Where are you, Charles Oakley?
13. Milwaukee Bucks- I feel like they are a fluke, even if they really havent shown anything yet to be called a fluke.  But I don't know what their persona is. Are they a perimiter team? An inside-out team? A running team? They are nothing but cheese. 
14. Philadelpiha 76ers- They lack players but they are quarterbacked by one of the most intelligent point guards in the league, Andre Miller. That says a lot.  They just don't have any players. Igoudala might be on the rise but if he is your stud, then you know that you are not a very deep team. Last year, they could have tanked the season and positioned themselves better to snag Durant but they didn't. 
15. Indiana Pacers- You've had 4 months and all you can come up with is Diener? This team has no apparent plan, atleast none that visibly makes sense.  And I thought Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh were dynamite. If they have any amount of respect for Jermaine O'Neal, they should trade him.  Don't waste his talent.


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