:
Sorry, no results were found for

No Account Yet?

2015-16 NBA Season Preview: The Eastern Conference Watchability Rankings!

The teams you should watch (and spend your 'sick leaves' on)
by Omar Glenn D. Belo | Oct 27, 2015

‘Tis the season to go nuts on basketball again. The 2015-2016 National Basketball Association (NBA) season officially opens tomorrow, October 28 (Philippine time). That being said, we know how excited you are to watch the best hoopsters in the planet after months of basketball purgatory. You’re brimming with hope for your favorite team or player killing it this year. You're probably so hyped up you’ve read plenty of predictions and primers for the new season.

Well, FHM has its own preview, and we're certain you haven't seen anything like it.

If you’re looking for hardcore stats breakdowns, this is not the place. Instead, what you’re about to read is a service to fellow basketball nuts who have to go work in the morning, or when the NBA games are beaming live on the TV.

Image via Goldenstateof mind.com

Every NBA week offers multiple games to choose from. This is your guide for the teams you should or shouldn’t spend time (or "sick leaves") on. We rigorously examined every NBA team, and rank them accordingly based on their watchability.

The ranking order is based on the following:

Substance: If a team is contending for the playoffs, their games are more significant but not necessarily more fun to watch. Still, it’s better than spending at least 48 minutes on a game with nothing on the line.

Style: Teams who play basketball like well-oiled machines score more style points. If it’s all dribbling and isolations, clearly you’d best steer clear from the TV. 

Star power: Some teams have more talented stars than others. We also count on-court comedic antics here as part of the equation. Because some players are stars of their own, not by the skills they showcase but by the entertainment value they bring.

Each team is given a maximum of 10 points per criteria, for a total of 30 points.

Now, if a match-up between two teams score more than 55 points, you should be glued to your chair and get your phone ready to record something special (also, make sure to come up with a believable alibi since it’ll definitely cost you your morning, at the very least).

However, if the cumulative score is less than 10, don’t even bother checking the score and highlights online.

Are you ready fellow basketball addicts? Below is FHM's NBA Watchability Ranking, arranged from highest to lowest, for the Eastern Conference.

Continue reading below ↓


15. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Image via NBA.com

Substance: A lineup that has Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker, and Nic Batum for starters should be steady. Problem is, one of their main defensive cogs in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the season. They've been a dominant force during the preaseason, but we all know that the regular season is a different monster of its own. With a shallow bench, the Hornets better pray for good health if they hope to sneak into the playoffs. Given the injury history of Big Al, Walker, and Batum, their chances of doing that is a Hail Mary pass. Or in non-American football terms, malabo ‘yan tsong.
Score:
3 points

Style: The Hornets play a deliberate, slogging pace that either ends up on Big Al on the left block or a midrange jumper from their guards or wings. With Jeremy Lin in tow, you can also expect plenty of drives—to the right side of the basket. That’s predictable. And predictable is bland. They also seem to be committed on firing more three-point bombs this season (they were dead last, a season ago), so let’s see how it’ll go. But without MKG hounding ball handlers, and the passing lanes, there just isn’t much to see here.
Score: 2 points

Image via NBA.com

Star power: Big Al will lord the paint and school some bigs on the post. Kemba will break ankles. But unless Frank Kaminsky breaks out dancing or another Lin video goes viral, there’s just not a lot of value watching this team play.

Score: 3 points

Total score: 8/30


14. BROOKLYN NETS

Image via NBA.com

Substance: Check their roster. Who do you recognize? Brook Lopez, sure. Thad Young, too. Joe Johnson, remember him? And former top pick Andrea Bargnani. Yes, he’s still in the NBA. Let that sink in for a moment. Hard to judge the fight in a lineup featuring a center who doesn’t grab boards, a tweener for PF, aging star/s, and…who else is in that roster again? Wait, don’t bother. Watch Kris TV instead. Or better yet, just go to work early. Make yourself productive.
Score: 2 points

Style: The Nets play good team basketball—like a poor man’s Memphis Grizzlies style that their coach Lionel Hollins implemented with Lopez and Young as the post anchors—to get in the playoffs last season. Unfortunately, Lopez hasn’t proven himself health-wise to hold steady for a full season. Young and the length of the team’s energetic wingmen can cause some damage on the defensive end. So, at least you get to see some fastbreak opportunities. But that’s the only silver lining in this black cloud.
Score: 4 points

Continue reading below ↓

Star power: Lopez, one of the East’s top centers, is the main attraction for this team. When he’s on, there are not a lot of bigs out there who can stop him. An “Iso-Joe” revival is unlikely, but it can happen. Skinny ballers, though, will learn a lot from watching how Young plays and stands out on the court given his lean frame.
Score: 4 points

Total score: 10/30

13. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS


Substance:
If you think the Nets don’t look like a playoff team in the East, then the Sixers don’t look like an NBA team at all based on the names on their lineup. But what coach Brett Brown’s team has proven in past NBA seasons is that they don’t give up easy. They always battle, even if the fight is futile.
Score: 2.5 points

Style: What goes well with a young, athletic team that likes to push the pace is that it’s fun to watch at times. Figuring out how to incorporate a throwback big like this year’s second overall draft pick Jahlil Okafor in the mix is intriguing. And Nerlens Noel is a defensive mammoth on the rise. Then again, their half-court sets often end up in bricks from long- or mid-range last year. Here’s hoping Okafor changes things a bit.
Score:  5 points

Star power: There are only two names that stand out here, Okafor and Noel. Yet we’d rather see Noel try to block every shot he can, or Okafor dupe vets on the low block, for at least a quarter than suffer through an entire Hornets-Nets game.
Score: 3 points

Total score: 10.5/30


12. DETROIT PISTONS

Image via Detroitbadboys.com

Substance: Detroit looks like a playoff basketball team on paper. Replacing lane-clogger Greg Monroe with stretch fours like Ersan Ilyasova (once he remembers he’s good at basketball), and Marcus Morris to complement Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson’s deadly pick-and-roll game only solidifies that. Young wings like Stan Johnson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can also spread the floor and hit outside shots. There’s also the impending battle for the point guard position between the sidelined Brandon Jennings and Motor City’s latest 80 million dollar man, Reggie Jackson.
Score: 6 points

Style: Coach Stan Van Gundy’s system relies heavily on the pick-and-roll game that’s made even deadlier with capable shooters waiting for outlet passes. But much of their success depends on consistent shooting, especially from proven ball handlers like Jackson and Brandon Jennings. Andre Drummond will be sent to the stripe a lot—and will brick plenty of freebies.
Score: 5 points

Continue reading below ↓

Star power: Jackson and Jennings believe themselves to be stars for consideration here. But the only individual you should clear your schedule for is Drummond. He will have his alley-oops and swats that could break the Internet. He’ll record 20-20 here and there like it’s no biggie. Still, it’s as irregular as his free throw shooting clip. Score: 5 points

Total Score: 16/30


11.
INDIANA PACERS

Image via Inkofindy.com 

Substance: The only thing you have to know about the Pacers is that Paul George is back, and that makes a whole lot of difference. He’s an all-world talent, and he’s showing signs of that during the preseason. Coach Frank Vogel can outsmart a lot of coaches in the league. And if he can make small ball with PG-13 moving at the PF position, and Monta Ellis’ lethal driving game click, then this is a contender—for the Eastern Conference semifinals at best.
Score: 6 points

Style: David West and Roy Hibbert are gone. Meaning, the new-look Pacers are looking to run more, and pressure ball handlers and passing lanes hard. The length of their lineup, from George Hill at the point to Ian Mahinmi in the paint, will make for many exciting fastbreak opportunities. Plus, you have a great mix of athleticism and shooting that can light up scoreboards any time.
Score: 5 points

Star power: Ellis will have his heat check moments. CJ Miles can get supernova hot from deep. And PG-13 will have a lot of MVP-worthy games. Just cross your fingers that his leg holds up well to all the defensive schemes coming his way.
Score: 8 points

Total score: 19/30


10. ORLANDO MAGIC

Image via Sport.net

Substance: There are plenty of young studs in the Magic roster, led by Victor Oladipo and “Vucci Mane” Nic Vucevic. (That nickname alone is a killer among monikers, but Sauce Castillo still takes the crown). Sophomore Aaron Gordon has been flexing and dominating the summer league and preseason, hopefully his highlight reel play will also translate this regular season. Coach Scott Skiles will ask for nothing less but all out intensity and effort from his athletic lineup. Shooting is not a problem with Channing Frye and Evan Fournier around. This is a team considered to be a dark-horse in the East.
Score: 6 points

Style: You like dunks, threes, acrobatic layups, and fast paced action? Orlando has the tools to do all that. Oladipo and Elfrid Payton will make dribbling hell for opponents. Defending the paint? Good question. Keep it up.
Score: 6 points

Continue reading below ↓

Star power: We already mentioned Oladipo and Vucci lighting it up in preseason highlights, yes? There’s one name that could take the league, or the Internet, by storm. Watch for the battle between Skiles trying to contain himself with Mario Hezonja’s antics on the court: 

Score: 7 points

Total score: 19/30


9. NEW YORK KNICKS

Image via ESPN.com

Substance: Do yourself a favor and look up the Knicks lineup last year. Now, imagine a fully healthy Carmelo Anthony surrounded by serviceable players like Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn, and rookie Kristaps Porzingis. That has some potential, especially in a potent Triangle Offense. You have spacing, shooting, and toughness, and that’s always a good recipe for NBA success.
Score: 6 points

Style: The Triangle encourages ball movement and spacing, where sublime scorers like Melo can find great opportunities to shine. It’s an established system that’s underrated in the pace-and-space small ball NBA world we find ourselves today. The working parts to make the Triangle hum again are here. It’s intriguing to see it rise from the ashes this year.
Score: 7 points

Star power: Melo is one of the league’s purest scorers. When healthy and motivated, he could and should be in MVP consideration. Also, that Porzingis kid is something special. You won’t see it this season, maybe some glimpses, but you should definitely be on the watch for his development. And for Robin Lopez beating up mascots, that’s fun stuff.
Score: 7 points

Total Score: 20/30


TIE-6. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Image via Bballbreakdown.com

Substance: They will no longer surprise anyone in the East this year, after a breakout party last season. They added low-post scoring in Greg Monroe, instantly filling a hole in their game, making them lethal in the relatively weak East. They could also implode, especially when the Ws are hard to come by and Michael Carter-Williams still insists he’s a shooter. But we’re leaning more towards the former, because Coach Jason Kidd will find a way for this unconventional team to excel.
Score: 7 points

Style: The Bucks’ length and athleticism wreak havoc on defense. The only thing that ruins their style is the clanky shooting—with only Khris Middleton as their reliable long range threat. Still, when you can get from one end of the court to the other in at least four dribbles at a blitzing pace, that is must-watch TV. Yes, we’re talking about that lanky Greek dude.
Score:  7 points

Continue reading below ↓

Star power: The guy most capable of taking over the Internet with one highlight is Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Coach Kidd says he will play all positions this year. More minutes, more usage, more highlights. You also have John Henson swatting shots on the defensive end, and Jabari Parker looking to re-establish himself as a star after an injury-derailed rookie season. Fear the Dear, yo.
Score: 7 points

Total score: 21/30


TIE-6. TORONTO RAPTORS

Image via Rantsports.com

Substance: The Raptors just got sneaky strong in the offseason—adding savvy vets DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola, and Cory Joseph. But the real story of the preseason for the Raps is a slimmed down Kyle Lowry lighting up scoreboards and just straight #killin. They never lacked in motivation, never ones to back down. They’re looking to improve again this year, and have addressed some spacing and defensive issues with their additions.
Score: 8 points

Style: Lowry and DeMar DeRozan is one of the deadliest backcourts in the league, and a nightmare duo to keep away from the paint. Carroll snipes from beyond. Jonas Valanciunas is a bully down low. And now with a fortified bench, these Raps can run and gun, or play slow and menacing in a flick of a switch. It could be boring, but it’s downright effective.
Score: 6 points

Star power: If Lowry keeps up the preseason hype, he’ll be among the elites on the NBA TV must-watch list. DeRozan and Terrence Ross will take care of the skywalking highlights, don’t worry. Also, Scola’s under the kili-kili shots will be something you won’t want to miss. Lastly, They also have Mr. OVO, Drake, as their ambassador.
Score: 7 points

Total: 21/30


TIE-6. BOSTON CELTICS

Image via Bostonglobe.com

Substance: If coach Brad Stevens can make a playoff team out of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart, we have no doubt he can do the same with better players (David Lee and Amir Johnson, to name some) in the mix. These Cs are always game to give their all every game, with no knuckleheads moping for touches or minutes. Trust that they will do the same (or even better) this year.
Score: 7 points

Style: Coach Stevens is an end-game genius, with a deep bag of tricks for end-game plays. If his bulldogs in the backcourt and his plethora of serviceable bigs and shooters can keep games close, you can bet Boston will win those games. And you’d lose about 40-percent of the time. But still, at least these Celtics know how to make games exciting down to the end. Also, good luck with that ball pressure Bradley, Smart, and Terry Rozier will unleash.
Score: 7 points

Continue reading below ↓

Star power: Thomas is a microwave. He heats up in an instant. He burns opponents with hesitation moves and fakes that you have to watch and re-watch to appreciate. Also, don’t sleep on Lee and Johnson. With the right minutes and usage, you can expect plenty of sneaky good passing with those men on the court.
Score: 7 points

Total score: 21/30


5. MIAMI HEAT

Image via Rukkus.com

Substance: Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Hassan Whiteside—this starting five should send shivers down any opposing team’s spine. Coach Erik Spoelstra also has some steady players on the bench looking to, ehem, heat things up—Gerald Green, Josh McRoberts, Mario Chalmers to name a few. The only thing that can stop them from getting deep in the playoffs is the health of Wade, Deng, or Bosh. And you just never know if Whiteside is in the right mindset every game.
Score: 8 points

Style: Spoelstra has won championships with his blitzing defense and offensive schemes. He had a certain LeBron James then sure, but he has new pieces in play now. Bosh and Whiteside will make a very intimidating frontcourt that can space the floor and still dominate the paint. Dragic and Wade can alternate piercing the lane for plenty of highlight-worthy plays. The Heat is on, for sure, this season.
Score: 7 points

Star power: If you haven’t noticed yet, this is a star-studded team. The biggest question mark here is Whiteside—he’ll either be on sports shows for smashing slams or for blocking 10-plus shots, or become a Shaqtin’ A Fool MVP for taking people down in the stands. And you know former Slam Dunk champ Green can still flood your social media feed with some goodies, right?
Score: 8 points

Total score: 23/30


4. WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Image via Cbssports.com

Substance: It’s hard to name five guards in the league who can keep up with John Wall’s speed. That alone creates plenty of opportunities for his teammates like Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat to thrive. Plus, they feature improved shooting from Otto Porter, Jr and Kris Humphries (Yes, the big guy can now shoot threes), look for the Wizards to go deep in the postseason.
Score: 8 points

Style: Coach Randy Wittman has learned to love the threes, and his team’s style of play has improved a lot because of it. With a faster pace and lethal shooting, this team is a joy to watch, especially when Wall is leading the break, and dizzying opponents with his signature 360-degree layups.
Score: 8 points

Continue reading below ↓

Star power: Wall will drop butts on the floor. Beal has the ability to shoot the roof off the building. And Gortat interviews, watch for those, too. Also, Porter will not be caught napping on the defense the same way he broke the Internet last year. Instead, he might nutmeg people the same way he did one preseason game.
Score: 8 points

Total score: 24/30


3. CHICAGO BULLS

Image via Sportsbookreview.com

Substance: This is a team that has all the tools to come out of the East, in terms of talent and experience. It’s loaded from the starters to the bench with warriors who can drive, score on the block, shoot from deep, and most important, defend every position well. The trio of (a healthy) Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Pau Gasol is already a nightmare to guard. They will contend in the East, no doubt about that.
Total score: 9 points

Style: With new coach Fred Hoiberg, the Bulls look to improve on their slogging offensive pace. And Hoiberg is already working on it, putting stretch shooter Nikola Mirotic in the starting lineup and moving Joakim Noah on the bench. It’s a move that improves spacing and pace, to the detriment of their team defense. Still, they can mix and match with a frontline that has defensive studs in Noah and Taj Gibson on the bench.
Score: 8 points

Star power: You have a former MVP in Derrick Rose who’s looking to return to superstar form. You have an offensive and defensive beast in Jimmy Butler looking to prove that he's worthy of the big contract he signed. And there’s a revitalized Pau Gasol who can still give you double-doubles every night. There might be some internal friction along the way, but look for them to burn through the league this year. Niko Suave (Mirotic) can also provide some heat check moments of his own.
Score: 8 points

Total score: 25/30


2. ATLANTA HAWKS

Image via atlallday.com

Substance: Last year’s top seed in the East lost a vital starter and a defensive key cog in DeMarre Carroll. Still, they got Tiago Splitter to bolster the frontcourt. They’re again underrated and overlooked, but Coach Mike Budenholzer’s cores of hardworking vets are intact. Thabo Sefolosha, when he’s not busy suing the New York Police, can mesh well with the pace-and-space play of Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Kyle Korver. Dennis Schroder is slowly becoming the German Jeff Teague, and the bench also got stronger with Splitter, Tim Hardaway Jr, and the always active Kent Bazemore.
Score:  9 points

Continue reading below ↓

Style: Coach Bud has the Hawks playing basketball like an orchestra. They don’t waste too much time or dribbles, they move the ball well, they play great defense, and capitalize on mistakes quick. You can call them the San Antonio Spurs of the East. If you’re a basketball purist, you’ll keep your eyes glued on the Hawks all season. Their new neon green-infused uniforms though, is another story.
Score: 10 points

Star power: This is not the team to look for jaw-dropping clips. Instead, you find efficiency. And sometimes efficiency is as sweet as a Korver trey that hits nothing but net (which happens most of the time). Remember, they got four of their starters to the All-Star game last year with smooth-flowing offense. Aspiring big men, watch how Horford and Millsap play. Plenty of lessons there, too.
Score: 7 points

Total score: 26/30


1. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS


Image via Cleveland.com 

Substance: The reigning East champs mowed through the opposition with a banged-up lineup last year. Now, they have the same core strengthened by new acquisitions Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson. The safest bet this season is for the Cavs to make the Finals again, but it all depends on the recovery from injuries of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Whatever happens, though, you can expect LeBron James to steady the troops and keep their eyes on the prize. And that is making good on his promise of bringing the long-awaited championship to Cleveland.
Score: 10 points

Style: It’s not always pretty with a team that’s centered on LeBron. Sometimes too much isolation plays take over coach David Blatt’s system. This year, though, they look to incorporate more side-to-side movement, especially when Irving and Love are back in full health. Look for the Cavs to struggle a bit in the regular season, but when they find that switch, they can be fantastic to watch.
Score: 8 points

Star power: LeBron is a highlight-spewing volcano. Love is the lava that powers that explosion with some nifty outlet passes and some unreal shooting of his own. Plus, you can always count on J.R. Smith to spice things up with either his hot shooting or ridiculous antics—or both. And when Irving is back to being Uncle Drew, oh my, shut the door, call your boss, say you’re sick, because you can’t leave home when the Cavs are humming.

Score: 9 points

Continue reading below ↓

Total score: 27/30


For the Western Conference edition of our preview, click here.

These characters deserve your button-mashing attention
Less minutes for LeBron. A body guard for Joel Embiid. And a happy and healthy Gordon Hayward
Their unique sound stems from an eclectic mix of histories and influences
Because not all hoodies are made equally, here's a look at the three main breeds
Snaps from Pia, Liza, Marian, Solenn, and Nadine top the list