I rarely pay attention to preseason rankings, but seeing as it's the middle of August without much happening in Pistonsville, I'm going to make an exception. So, Marty Burns of Sports Illustrated, what say you about the East?
Bold! You bumped Detroit out of your top 3! Boston obviously belongs there and Cleveland did get better by getting Mo Williams. I'm not entirely sure what Orlando did to make the jump, but sure, it's your list, I'll play along ...
Okay, I see what you did there. You must be an Elton Brand fan, but, um, aren't you forgetting someone?
Yeah, that's not who I was talking about ...
Seriously? Sixth? Explain yourself, man!
Logic says they should be ranked higher, since they suffered no significant losses (other than coach Flip Saunders) from a team that won 59 games last season. But even president Joe Dumars seemed to think this present group had run its course at the end of last season and needed some new blood. Kwame Brown isn't likely to light a fire under anybody. And how will all those Pistons vets react to hearing their names in trade talks all summer? Unless Dumars has something else up his sleeve, the Pistons just seem like a team headed for a decline.
Dumars thinks some "new blood" might help the team make the jump from losing a contested Conference Finals to hoisting the Larry O'Brien -- it's not like he's worried this team will suddenly turn in a .500 record. The Raptors finished sixth in the East last year by going 41-41 -- do you really think a few veterans hearing their names mentioned in trade rumors will cost this team 18 games?
That's crazy talk. All of a sudden, I just remembered why I avoid these things. Let me save you five minutes: 7. Raptors; 8. Pacers; 9. Hawks; 10. Bobcats; 11. Heat; 12. Bucks; 13. Bulls; 14. Nets; 15. Knicks.