East1. Miami Heat
They will find their rhythm as they progress throughout the season. Their front court with the likes of Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas can spread the floor and get offensive rebounds as well as any front court in the NBA. Obviously no other team can bring attention to LeBron James or Dwyane Wade as they both possess enough awareness to find the open man if there is some sort of double team.
2. Boston Celtics
They may cruise through the season and give their starters time off or they may get injured again (one or the other), but that will be no matter as their bench is as strong as ever. Like the Bobcats last year, this team can throw at you some of the best big man of the last decade from their bench. They also have playmaking versatility with Nate Robinson. Not to mention Glen Davis, who has also improved greatly in the offseason.
3. Orlando Magic
They flipped around some of their role players in the offseason to make themselves slightly improved. The real deal for them this offseason, however, was resigning J.J. Redick. Expect Vince Carter and Brandon Bass to play better as they build more chemistry with this lineup. Guys like Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson will be better players when designated to the role of only shooting 3 pointers.
4. Milwaukee Bucks
They made some nice additions this offseason after a strong finish to last season. Corey Maggette gives this team a true inside scorer to pair with Andrew Bogut. This allows them to keep a very deep bench which is also improved with the addition of Keyon Dooling and Drew Gooden. If Brandon Jennings can limit his role to distributer then this team should have no problem living up to expectations.
5. Chicago Bulls
Like the Heat, they should find their rhythm as the season progresses and Thibedau figures out the right rotations. Boozer finally gives this team a low post presence. However, his lack of post defense does not pair well with Joakim Noah who struggles in that area as well. A lack of shooters in the starting lineup and role players on the bench are two more reasons to worry. This team goes as far as Derrick Rose carries it.
6. Atlanta Hawks
They still have a solid core, but failed to address their bench issues in the offseason. Jordan Crawford could be useful as he has tremendous athleticism and can score in a variety of ways. Many have been awaiting the breakout season of Josh Smith, who's shown tremendous potential but has failed to take his game to the elite level. Chemistry issues that were present in last year's embarrassing sweep against Orlando could be the downfall of this team. Expect big things from this team if Larry Drew can create a better team atmosphere.
7. Indiana Pacers
They added a lot of talent in the offseason. Darren Collison's court awareness will allow the shooters on this team to get open looks. Tyler Hansbrough gives this team a forward that plays tough inside and pairs nicely with formal rival Josh McRoberts. Pair these guys with Roy Hibbert and you have yourself a legit NBA front court. This team now has the talent to succeed, now it's up to Jim O'Brien to mesh this talent into a functioning team by year's end to return this team back to mediocrity.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
Their front court issues look to be too great for this team to overcome after losing Samuel Dalembert. If Elton Brand continues to struggle, perhaps they will look to Marreese Speights or Craig Brackins to take more minutes away from him. Jrue Holiday has shown all-star potential, but his youth may prevent him from reaching that potential this year. While they have many shooters off the bench, this team doesn't have any shooters that can also play defense. Turner could be that guy, but he will have to adjust his style to the outside for that to happen.
9. Charlotte Bobcats
This is an old team that didn't make any offseason additions to improve themselves. Larry Brown will keep this team competitive, but they will need D.J. Augustin and Tyrus Thomas to improve for them to reach the next level. Also, with Larry Brown and head cases like Stephen Jackson come the inevitable chemistry issues that plagued the Sixers with Iverson in the middle part of the decade.
10. New Jersey Nets