The Sixer Sense Season Preview: The Eastern Conference


May 6, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday (11) celebrates making a basket during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls during game four in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sixers defeated the Bulls 89-82. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

As NBA training camps are about to open up across the entire league, here at The Sixer Sense we decided to give you a series of articles previewing the upcoming season. Today, I will preview the Eastern Conference standings for the upcoming season and you will see where I rank your town, your team, your Philadelphia 76ers at. So let’s get started with a rundown from the first seed to the eighth seed.

First seed: The Miami Heat will once again be the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and as they should since they are the defending NBA Champs. Miami still returns the Big 3 in LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Expect Wade and Bosh to be fresh when the season starts but LeBron might be a little sluggish since he played this summer for Team USA in the Olympics.

The Heat also had some major additions in offseason to their team with the signings of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Both will be a big help to the Heat in the three point game. The Heat will once again make it to the NBA Finals.

Second seed: Now you might be wondering who I am picking for this spot. Well the number two seed in the Eastern Conference will be your town, your team, your Philadelphia 76ers. I am not trying to sound bias is anyway but I feel that coming into this upcoming season they are the second best team in the East. The Sixers made a big blockbuster deal in the offseason by trading away Andre Iguodala in a four team trade to acquire superstar center Andrew Bynum. The Sixers also got in the deal SF/SG Jason Richardson who will bring a veteran’s approach to the game. This team has now become complete and actually has the players that can put the ball in the hoop.

They also added shooters Dorell Wright and Nick Young to help with their scoring since sixth man Lou Williams decided to go to the Atlanta Hawks. The Sixers will compete against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Third seed: The Indiana Pacers will claim this spot because this is a very a good team. They took the Miami Heat last season in the playoffs to six games and they are bringing back the same team.

The Pacers will be in contention for the Eastern Conference Finals this upcoming season.

Fourth seed: This might come as a shock but I see the Boston Celtics claiming this spot. I think the old age has finally hit this team and the loss of Ray Allen hurts this team just as much.  With the loss of Ray Allen the C’s added guard Jason Terry to the roster and signed guard Dionte Christmas from their summer league team. Boston also had a great draft this past summer by selecting two big men in Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo. Both who I expect to get a lot of playing time this year.

The Celtics will go through stretches this season of good and bad basketball but with a coach like Doc Rivers, they will never be out of a game.

Fifth seed: Without the likes of Derrick Rose possibly for an entire season, I see the Chicago Bulls taking a major drop to the fifth seed. This team will have trouble scoring the basketball without Rose in the lineup but their defense will keep them in games. We saw last year in the playoffs, without Derrick Rose this Bulls’ team becomes one dimensional. The Bulls will lean on Luol Deng for support and scoring until Rose comes back.

The Bulls will struggle but they still have pieces on this team to get something going and if they get Rose back then they could contend for the third seed against the Pacers.

Sixth seed: This spot goes to the team in New York, no I’m not talking about the Brooklyn Nets, but I am talking about the Knicks. It’s time for Carmelo Anthony to put or shutup this upcoming season. This season will show if he wants to win or not! He actually has some good pieces around him that they picked up in the offseason with the signings of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Marcus Camby. One of these days the Knicks will have to put together a good season, it could be this year.

Seventh seed: Now this spot goes to the other team in New York, the new upstart Brooklyn Nets. This team brings some offensive firepower with Deron Williams, Marshon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez, and newly acquired SG Joe Johnson. If this team can gel together early then coming to the Barclays Center will be a tough venue to play in every night on a daily basis.

Eighth seed: This spot will come down to three teams in my opinion. The Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, and Washington Wizards. I think the Bucks could be the last team in the playoffs because of the firepower of their backcourt (Ellis and Jennings). But then I could see the Hawks getting in because they still have Josh Smith and the addition of Lou Williams but have lost the scoring of Joe Johnson. Then finally my dark horse the Washington Wizards because of John Wall and his playmaking ability but he will be sidelined for a few weeks due to an injury.

Well these are my picks on how the Eastern Conference will shape up, but if you think otherwise comment below with your prospective standings.

Jovan Alford is a staff writer for The Sixer Sense, a writer for Buzz On Broad covering the Philadelphia 76ers and Local College Basketball,  a writer for Philly Sports Nut, and is a writer for Rant Sports covering the A-10 Conference for College Basketball.

Follow me on twitter @Jovan10 for Sixers, College Basketball, NFL, MLB, and all sports updates.