Paul George and LeBron JamesThe 2013-2014 season is nearly upon us. Today will be Jay’s Eastern Conference Preview. Monday will be GG’s Western Conference preview. On Tuesday, we’ll have thoughts and predictions from Popblerd writers.

Here’s the Eastern Conference Preview:

The Riggin’ For Wiggins Bracket

15. Philadelphia 76’ers – How excited are you if you’re a Philly fan that your team gutted its roster for a 25% chance at getting supposed first pick in next year’s NBA draft, Andrew Wiggins. Highlights of the season will be game 1 when Allen Iverson will have his retirement ceremony (remember he retired, it clearly was not that he couldn’t find a job) and the last few weeks of the season when they could be serious challengers for worst record of all time.

14. Charlotte Bobcats – The soon to be Hornets have had 8 top 10 draft picks in 9 years and have never drafted an all-star. Every year their strategy seems to be ‘tank and get a high draft pick’ yet they suck at drafting. Well congrats Charlotte, the acquisition of Al Jefferson will probably boost your record just enough so that you won’t get the number one pick, guaranteeing you’ll screw up whatever pick you do get.

The We Suck But Not As Hard As The Last Bracket Bracket

#yolofro

13. Toronto Raptors – After trying to give away Andrea Bargnani last season, the Raptors managed to get two players who are even less effective in Tyler Hansbrough and Steve Novak. At least they have a bunch of inefficient ball stoppers.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers – If Andrew Bynum (sadly, without the #yolofro) misses significant time (guaranteed) then the Cavs’ hopes lie with Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving, who if you might remember aren’t exactly iron men themselves. They’ll look really good for the 20 games this season that at least two out of these three play together.

The Thank God We’re In The East, I Can’t Believe Our Crappy Team Actually Has A Swinger’s Chance Of Sneaking Into The Playoffs And Getting Swept In The First Round Bracket

11. Washington Wizards – They are a slightly better version of the Cavs with two good big men and a very good PG who are all injury prone and will have one stretch of the season that gets their hopes up before everyone gets injured at the same time. Of course, this will all happen once they get too many wins for a top 3 pick.

10. Orlando Magic – The winners of the Dwight Howard trade have a lot of nice young pieces. They’ll be bad this year, but if they can move Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo, they’ll have a nice young core and sixteen million to bring in some veteran talent.

9. Boston Celtics – If Rajon Rondo comes back by January and Boston doesn’t further blow up the team by trading him, the Celtics have a shot at sneaking in to that last playoff spot, giving Miami a 1st round bye for the 2nd year in a row.

The NBA Purgatory Bracket

8. Milwaukee Bucks – You can imagine that Bucks fans are saying this: “We got rid of Jennings, Ellis and Reddick? Well, at least we’ll get to have a real rebuilding period and maybe not get thrashed in the 1st round every year. Oh, we replaced them with Knight, Mayo and Ridnour? Can we just skip to Miami sweeping us in April or do we still have to sit through 82 games just to watch the most predictable 1st round series of all time?”

7. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks are just like the Bucks except the Hawks can win a game in the playoffs. If they might even win two playoff games.

6. Detroit Pistons – Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are more than enough to get a 6 seed in the east. Too bad their bench is horrible and just like the Bucks and Hawks, they have no shot at winning a round in the playoffs. Still, they are a much more exciting team than any they’ve fielded in years, so there’s that.

The Knicks Bracket

JR Smith5. The New York Knicks – Yes, the Knicks get their own bracket. The Knicks upgraded a roster that won 54 games last year. The problem is the Pacers, Bulls and Nets upgraded even more. That being said, the Knicks are the only team out of the top 4 who can win a round in the playoffs. By that, I mean they can beat the Nets. A significant injury to their opponent is the only way the Knicks are beating the top 3 teams. This team is number one in story lines. Just off the top of my head we have: Will Melo talk about free agency all season? Will Woodson choke in the playoffs again? How many crazy things will Metta and JR do this season? How many games will Bargnani and Amar’e miss? How many fade away 3s will JR take? Will Chandler ever get a backup? And will Felton ever stop an opposing PG?

The Contender Bracket

4. Brooklyn Nets – The Nets have 5 starters who have been on the all-star team within the last few years. The Nets also have 4 starters who are past their prime and a 1st year head coach. This is the hardest team to get a read on. If they click and are healthy, they can be real dangerous. They could also have the record for most former all-stars on the IR list.

3. Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose is back which means so are the Bulls. Maybe this means there will be enough offense that Tom Thibodeau can actually rest his starters once in a while during the season and maybe have some healthy ones for this year’s playoffs.

2. Miami Heat – Miami is the only team in the top 5 that didn’t get better. If you think Oden and/or Beasley is going to do anything, you’re out of your mind. Wade flopping on every offensive drive for the last decade will finally start to catch with him. They’ll be very good but no 3-peat this year.

1. Indiana Pacers – The Pacers took Miami to 7 games with a bench of Sam Young, Tyler Hansbrough and DJ Augustin. Just replacing them with Danny Granger, Luis Scola and C.J. Watson should be enough to get them over the hump without factoring in that George Hill, Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson all should improve this season.

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