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15 Questions, 15 Teams: The 2013-2014 NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Will the Heat make it a three-peat? How long will Jason Kidd keep his coaching job? These and 13 other questions in <em>FHM</em>'s NBA season preview for the Eastern Conference
by Paolo S. Mariano | Oct 29, 2013
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Three letters automatically turn males into zombies: N-B-A. From pubescent kids to stuck-up yuppies to pot-bellied DOMs, the NBA is the alpha and the omega. If women have their annual Channing Tatum movies, men have their yearly Blake Griffin dunks. Girlfriends play second fiddle to the TV sets when Miami and Chicago are playing. When the Association is on, it’s on like Stephen Curry’s stroke.

Another testosterone-filled season is upon us and of course, FHM is here to give you a fun preview to whet your insatiable appetite for all things NBA. Think of this like the calm before the storm or those tiny hair follicles before growing into a full James Harden beard.

We’re a gazillion percent sure that you have a lot of questions about the impending battles. Will San Antonio recover from last year’s painful loss? Who will be the first coach sacked? What inanities will JaVale McGee find himself in? Since we’re team players and we love to hand out nice assists, we filtered only the best questions and selected one for each team. As for the answers, let’s figure ‘em out together as the season goes.

Let’s kick things off with the beasts from the East.

If you want to read our preview of the West, you can click here.

1) Atlanta Hawks – Are the Hawks tanking or not?

The departure of hometown boy Josh Smith marked the end of an era of sorts in ATL. Now, Al Horford will be more pressured to carry the Hawks. But don’t be surprised if he gets the pink slip as well from GM Danny Ferry, who hasn’t been shy in dealing the Hawks’ stars and flaunting his Mt. Everest of a hairline. But the team’s direction is still quite uncertain at this point, that’s why we’re not sure if Atlanta is also joining Tankapalooza 2013.

Aside from Horford, who put up career-highs of 17.4 PPG and 10.2 RPG last season, there’s not much talent in the cupboard. Only budding star Jeff Teague and cheap off-season pick-up Paul Millsap are consistent scorers, with Kyle Korver more of a specialty guy. The injury to Lou Williams doesn’t help as well. With most of the Eastern crews improving, it’s likely that the Hawks will say goodbye to their post-season streak this year. As Usher has oh-so eloquently said, “Peace out, A-Town!”

2. Boston Celtics – How much will the C’s suck?

On a scale of 1 to 10 regarding how terrible the Celtics will be, we’re giving them a 1749875. Has there been a worse Boston team in history? Without main man Rajon Rondo, who has yet to give a timetable for his return, the team will have to rely on its rag-tag crew of not-so superstars headed by Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace, and The Player Formerly Known as Mr. Kim Kardashian.

But we’re very optimistic about new head coach Brad Stevens, who has done a masterful job leading erstwhile unheralded Butler into back-to-back NCAA Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011. He is a young brilliant tactician, who can spark a new, raw, and spunky energy in Boston. But yeah, overall, things aren’t looking bright for the Celtics. If there’s one season they really need the help of lady luck and the famous leprechaun, this is it. The reconciliation of Raymart Santiao and Claudine Barretto is even more plausible than Boston getting Banner No. 18 this year.

3. Brooklyn Nets – How will Jason Kidd adjust to his head coaching job?

One of the more intriguing storylines this season is Kidd becoming a head coach just weeks after hanging up his sneakers. Has there been a player who landed a mentoring job that fast? But the bigger question is: Can he command respect from his players? It will be a challenge for him to make his wards buy into his system. Unfortunately, he’s off to a rocky start, getting a technical in his preseason debut and getting charged with a DWI, earning him a two-game suspension. #Medyo Badboy
It will be interesting to see how he’ll manage the personalities of his six former and current All-Stars—the most among all the teams. Can he scold Kevin Garnett? Can he get in Deron Williams’ ear? Greatness on the court doesn’t easily carry over to the bench. Just ask Willis Reed, Bill Russell, and Isiah Thomas. Sorry Nets fans, but we’re guessing J-Kidd won’t have much success either. Coaching has just become too intricate and complicated with all of today’s advanced methods.

4. Charlotte Bobcats – Will Michael Jordan finally (and mercifully) resign?

You know your team won’t be doing well if the storyline revolves around your manager. Okay, granted, it’s Michael Jordan. But still, it seems every year, people are more interested about MJ than the Bobcats themselves. This season won’t be any different. Despite the acquisition of Al Jefferson and the impending breakout parties of Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, fans will still spend their time speculating whether His Airness will finally save himself from further embarrassment and resign as the squad’s top brass. Somewhere out there, Adam Morrison is crying.

Yes, Jordan has gotten a slew of potential-filled players in Walker, MKG, Gerald Henderson, and Jeffery Taylor. But overall, he has yet to build a cohesive unit that can at least play league average defense. Last season, the Cats allowed 102.7 PPG, second-worst among the field. Definitely, Jefferson isn’t the answer. It’s a little baffling that MJ can’t spot a player who can hike up the Bobcats’ D, considering he’s one of the best defensive guards in league history.    

5. Chicago Bulls – Can Derrick Rose return to his MVP form?

One of the most anticipated subplots of the season, aside from Mark Cuban’s annual tantrum, is the comeback of Rose. Remember him? The guy who routinely blew his past his man with his out-of-this-world explosiveness? The guy who carried an under-the-radar Bulls squad in 2010? The only guy to win the MVP plum aside from LBJ in the last five years? In case you’ve forgotten, he’s crazy good.

Check out some D-Rose highlights here.

D-Rose says he’s 100% healthy. Well, he should be. He rested his injury for 36,485 years! Even Lazarus recuperated faster from the dead! But in all seriousness, fully returning from an ACL setback ain’t easy. It will be interesting to observe if Rose will be as fearless as before. His return alone though has already made Chi-Town an early favorite. He hasn’t played an NBA game since April 28, 2012. He must be insanely pumped up to don the Bulls jersey anew. Even if it that also means seeing Carlos Boozer’s chest hair in the locker room every game day. 

NEXT: Ladies and gents, the Cavs are exciting once again.

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