Sports Out West

NBA power rankings: Eastern Conference top teams

Photo Credit:Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The Eastern Conference was the central hub for NBA offseason news. Most of the shock came from Cleveland, Ohio, but there was still plenty of excitement elsewhere. And lastly, get well soon, Paul George.

The biggest shocker for NBA fans? The Eastern Conference is still the “least” conference. Like last week’s Western Conference’s power rankings, these are the five best teams in the east.


The honorable mentions:

New York Knicks

Brooklyn Nets

Atlanta Hawks


5. Charlotte Hornets

The newly renamed Hornets (again) lost only Josh McRoberts to the offseason. Their additions, to a playoff team, were exceptional. First, the biggest haul was Lance Stephenson. Stephenson was the best dribbler and penetrator for the Indiana Pacers and should be a great utility guard for the Hornets. The additions of Marvin Williams and Brian Roberts should provide for good bench depth and necessary shooters for a team that lacked outside threats. The core of Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson should prove to be enough for a top playoff seed.


4. Toronto Raptors

The four and three seeds for these rankings are interchangeable depending on user opinion. The argument against the Raptors is the lack of depth. After the big threats of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the firepower tails off. The combination of Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas is not threatening enough to warrant any double-teams. The powerful backcourt and good outside shooting, as well as team synergy (no big losses in the offseason) should equal another playoff appearance for the Raptors.


3. Washington Wizards

This is the Eastern Conference’s scariest wildcard team and rightfully so. The lethal backcourt, alone, is enough reason to avoid a trip to Washington D.C. The team is beautifully balanced with veterans and emerging stars and the front office even let Trevor Ariza go without a max contract. It’s a new-look Wizards and they’re positioned to be a threat to any team in the league. No team in the Eastern Conference boasts the kind of veteran and youth depth the Wizards will employ. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce (with Otto Porter Jr.), Nene Hilario, and Marcin Gortat is a hell of a starting five.


2. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls played great basketball last season without Derrick Rose, so that argument is invalid. Now, Rose is healthy again and the team replaced Carlos Boozer with Pau Gasol. If the league had nightmares about Joakim Noah‘s passing ability and versatility, Gasol should be an offensive nightmare. Noah’s stellar defensive game with the offensive prowess of Gasol and Rose is deadly and should allow for the Bulls to easily cruise to the playoffs. This is an all-star team in Chicago and entertaining to boot.


1. Cleveland Cavaliers

What beats an all-star team? A dream team. The dust isn’t settled yet, but the move of Kevin Love to the Cavaliers should be the cherry on top of the LeBron James‘ cake. A starting core of Love, James, and Kyrie Irving is a ridiculously young and powerful trio. This team has the makings of a successful championship contender for years to come. Nothing more to see or say here.


Photo Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games,,,, and SBNation.
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  • LOBCITY632

    The wizards lost Ariza and got Pierce. As much as Pierce brings experience to the team, he can’t replace Ariza and they will undoubtedly be at the most the same team they were last year. And what surprises me the most… WHERE ARE THE MIAMI HEAT!?! The Heat lost Lebron, but they are still (some how) one of the best teams in the East bringing in some more reliant role players in Granger and McRoberts as well as another star with Deng and still having Wade and Bosh.

  • RileyJCruz

    lool raptors bench looks deep. Its even more solid now with james johnson and lou williams.

  • BBtracer

    I agree that the Raptors are all about depth, which is how they won so many games last year. They have resigned their bench and added some small pieces to patch up some holes on offense/defense which should make them an improved team from last season. I worry that Chicago will only have Derrick Rose for a short time yet again as his explosive style of play is what gets him injured. Boozer being replaced by Gasol only really works if Rose is around. If Rose gets injured I think they need someone inside to carry the offense and Boozer is better at that than Gasol. Finally, I think Cleveland is a big fat question mark who could finish at the top, but could also not have chemistry/coaching/depth and finish middle of the pack.

  • miamibeat


  • Knicks Fanatic

    Hard to take someone seriously when they fail to list the Miami Heat in their power rankings.

  • dguy2hawks

    How could you talk about the Raptors lacking depth but not say the same things about the Cavs. The Cavs have to play defense too

  • dguy2hawks

    I think the Hawks are better than the Bobcats. Read my fanpost

  • mcm1

    Raptors lack depth? Don’t know much about em but their bench seems pretty solid

    • Dammit81

      Agreed! Last way I describe the Raptors is lack of depth.