Each of the NBA’s Eastern Conference teams has now played at least 16 games. And entering Tuesday’s action, only two of them are currently above .500.
The two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat (14-3), and last season’s Eastern Conference finalists, the Indiana Pacers (16-2) are the only teams in the East that boast records above .500.
The Atlantic Division is so bad right now, all of its teams are below .500, and the Toronto Raptors (6-10) have the division’s best winning percentage at .375.
Let’s do a quick review of the Eastern Conference teams other than the Pacers and Heat that were supposed to be good this season: the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.
Chicago has lost its starting point guard and former MVP, Derrick Rose, for the season with a knee injury. That will only compound the team’s problems. The Bulls had chemistry issues on the court and were stagnant on offense with Rose, so things will only get worse from here. The Bulls are currently 7-9 and are eight games behind the Pacers for first place in the Central division.
The Bulls have been a perennial playoff team in recent years and might make it again this season, but they can’t be counted on to be a contender.
The Knicks and Nets, at 3-13 and 5-12, respectively, have been abysmal, embarrassing, disappointing and are without any quick fixes. Both teams have multiple former Olympians, All-Stars and NBA champions. But they have dug themselves serious holes to crawl back out of.
The Knicks are currently on a nine-game losing streak and are tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the worst record in the NBA.
The Nets have lost 10 of their last 13 games and look old, slow and completely lost. They are missing key players with injuries, including starting point guard, Deron Williams, starting center, Brook Lopez and Jason Terry
This season, the Eastern Conference Finals looks like a foregone conclusion, a repeat of last season’s matchup between the Pacers and the heat.
There is a wash of bad teams playing in the East. Most of them will be battling all season just to get to .500, waiting for the season to end and hoping for a good position in next year’s loaded draft.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com