The 2013 – 2014 NBA season looks to be another great year, arguably more competitive than the previous season due to the busy transactions involving free agents, trades, and NBA draft players looking to make their first impression in the league. A few of the worst teams from the preceding year have made key transactions which should place them in prime positioning for a playoff spot. The Boston Celtics are in a rebuilding phase and with the loss of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and coach Doc Rivers I’m sure Celtics fans are less than optimistic regarding their teams chances at making the post season, therefore the Celtics are out. I’m looking forward to Rajon Rhondo’s return from injury not to mention his offensive effectiveness under new NBA coach Frank Vogel, unfortunately the playoff train has left Boston, estimated return unknown.
The Milwaukee Bucks are another team that will definitely miss the plane destined for the playoffs in 2014, the team should remain grounded for quite a while, unable to board for at least the next two seasons. Why? Monte Ellis (hired gun #1) was traded to Dallas and Brandon Jennings (hired gun #2) is off to Detroit. The acquisition of O.J. Mayo is a great addition to the Bucks but where the hell is the teams inside presence? ZaZa Pachulia? Yea right, the Bucks are out, not enough scoring, defense should be just as inadequate.
The Bucks ranked 12th in the NBA in scoring during the 2012 – 2013 regular season, without Jennings and Ellis the Bucks are a -37 in ppg. O.J. Mayo and Carlos Delfino (the new scoring duo) combine to average about 26 points per game which leads me to believe the Bucks could have issues scoring especially in the paint. Based on the current roster the Bucks are out of playoff contention.
Teams in the hunt:
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 24 – 58
2012 -2013 Eastern Conference Rank: 13th
Key Acquisitions: Andrew Bynum
Kyrie Irving has emerged as one of the premiere point guards in the league and he’s number three on my list of the best point guards in the NBA right now. The acquisition of Andrew Bynum has completely transformed the image of this team. How bad were the Cavs? During the 2012 – 2013 NBA regular season, the Cavs ranked in the lower tier in rebounds and second to last place in field goal percentage per game (43.4 percent).
The addition of Bynum should drastically improve the teams scoring and defensive numbers which in return should result in wins. When he was at the top of his game and 100 percent healthy, Bynum was arguably one of the top three centers in the NBA. The Cavs now have a proven NBA Champion and an elite center who can score, rebound, and defend with balanced efficiency.
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 34 – 48
2012 -2013 Eastern Conference Rank: 10th
Key Acquisitions: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin
The Raptors were four games behind the Milwaukee Bucks last season and one of the teams in contention for the 8th seed in the 2013 Eastern Conference Playoffs. Rudy Gay is a potential All-star, he looks to be the franchise player for a team that has been looking for an identity since the Vince Carter era. The Raptors finished 16th in scoring during the 2012 – 2013 season which means they know how to put the ball in the basket. The addition of Tyler Hansbrough adds a level of toughness, interior defense, and rebounding – all of which the Raptors were in desperate need of a year prior. The Raptors still have a hole at the center position but I think the front-court of Rudy Gay, Demar DeRozan, and D.J. Augustin provides more than enough offense to provide problems for most opposing teams.
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 29 – 53
2012 -2013 Eastern Conference Rank: 11th
Key Acquisitions: Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups
If this revamped roster doesn’t make you piss your pants, I don’t know what will. The Pistons have signed Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, and veteran guard Chauncey Billups. This is an apparent push for a playoff position and you have to give general manager Joe Dumars credit for signing top talent Jennings and Smith and offloading underachiever Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons now have a formidable front-court proven to score, veteran guard Chauncey Billups returns to the place where he helped raise a NBA Championship banner in 2004, he brings playoff experience and the mentoring skills needed to enhance Jennings’s NBA knowledge and effectiveness on the court.
The Pistons ranked 11th among Eastern Conference teams in 2013, overall they were among the worst scoring teams in the league but you can expect their offensive woes to change. Jennings and Josh Smith will carry most of the scoring load, the duo should score a projected 30 points per game based from last seasons individual scoring averages. On paper the Pistons look just as good as the Hawks, Cavs. and Raptors – I expect them to make some serious noise in 2014.
Did your team make the list? If not, post a comment as to why you believe they will make the 2013 -2014 NBA Playoffs.