*Editor's Note: This was supposed to run preseason.*
Seth: Now here's where things get REALLY interesting. I've got the Indiana Pacers locking down the fourth seed in the East. I feel like putting them here is a diss to this team but that's not the case. I like the Pacers. I mean I don't actually like to watch them play basketball, but I like them as human beings and for their technical prowess and ability to win games.
The additions of Luis Scola (best mid-range game, worst greasy hair) and C.J. Watson (best backup point guard not named Jarrett Jack) beef up the bench and most importantly to the depth chart is the alleged return of Danny Granger. I realize that many of our readers are too young to remember Danny Granger, but he was once a very good player and allegedly still is.
Of course, even more important is the continued blossoming of Paul George's flower and the expansion of Roy Hibbert's game and muscle mass.
I like the Pacers chances come playoff time and can see them going all the way if things really click. But they are the anti-Clippers in that they will muddle through the regular season without making too many waves which will be enough to finish fourth.
Kevin: Ouch, I actually have the Pacers higher because I think they drastically improved their team over the offseason and fixed all their little holes. We can get to that later.
With the fourth seed, I have Brooklyn's finest. The Nets.
My biggest questions with this team is how is Deron Williams and Jason Kidd going to work together and is Jason Kidd going to actually going to be the coach? Because I think the real coach is going to be a combination of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett with Deron Williams thinking about texting Marc Stein about wanting to be traded, but very afraid that Mikhail Prokhorov has his phone tapped.
The main reason I do think the Nets end up here is because Pierce and Garnett are going to have their minutes watched throughout the year Tim Duncan style, talking 25-28 minutes a night, no playing on the second of the back-to-back, a week of here and there with a mild strain of some muscle that just got invented. Come playoff time though they are going to be rested and be a bit more dangerous.
I'm just really intrigued by how all these new pieces are going to come together. I think there will be a small growing together portion and then a settling in period, but I really can't see them any higher than the Heat, Pacers or Bulls.
Drew: Kevin and I are on the same wavelength with these last three picks. I also have - dramatic pause - the Nets of Brooklyn as the the bottom of the top.
They clearly upgraded this summer with the addition of KG, Pierce and Jason Terry, but I'm lukewarm until I see results with the team. The steal was really Andrei Kirilienko, though, and every time I think about that I hate myself for putting the team below Chicago and Indiana.
Kevin also has a great point that the oldies on the team should have their minutes monitored through the season, making it likely they'll drop a few more games they'd otherwise win.
Knicks-Nets should be an interesting first-round playoff series if my crystal ball is right on these last two picks, though.
Kevin: It would be the new "Subway Series." Only 6.2 miles separate the two venues, 21 minutes with no traffic.
Seth: No traffic in New York? You believe in unicorns, I bet.
Kevin: No, but I believe in sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster!