It’s that time of the year again where sports media sites put out their projections for the upcoming NBA season. To no surprise, ESPN released a terrible list where they ranked the top eight teams in both the Eastern and Western Conference.
These rankings are terrible but also straight-up laughable at the same time. There are so many things wrong with this list, but the first thing that stands out is that both Toronto and Philly are ranked ahead of Boston. You know, the two teams Boston beat in the playoffs without Gordon Hayward.
Toronto hasn’t gotten better this offseason. If anything, they got worse losing both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. Philly made some big moves to get rid of Al Horford and Josh Richardson, but they’re not in a much better position now than they were a year ago. Boston hasn’t made a huge splash in free agency, but they answered team needs and filled out their roster. Right now, Boston is better than both Toronto and Philly.
Next, the Nets are ranked way too low. I don’t think they’ll win anything in Brooklyn, but I do believe they’ll be a top-4 team in the East. It might be a bit before Kevin Durant hits his stride again, so Brooklyn could have a slow start to the year, but I think they’ll finish higher than sixth in the East.
The Nuggets should be ranked higher than #5. Denver is better than both Houston and Utah, and we all know they can make it past the Clippers. Denver is getting slept on once again, and that’s a bad thing for the NBA. They lost Jerami Grant, Torrey Craig, and Mason Plumlee to free agency, but also added R.J. Hampton, JaMychal Green, and converted Bol Bol’s two-way contract to a standard contract. Denver will continue to be one of the NBA’s most slept on and underrated teams.
One thing I like to see is Atlanta and Phoenix each being ranked at #8. I think both teams will make some noise this season and make a playoff run. Each team made incredible moves this offseason and will look to shock some fans this upcoming season.
Going back to the Celtics, I think they’re the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. They lost Hayward, but the team will be better off without him. Plus, Danny Ainge made key additions to the team through the draft and free agency that’ll help make up for his loss. Boston is still one of the East’s top teams; they just need to prove that they’re better than Milwaukee, which will be hard to do.
Hey ESPN, keep sleeping on the Celtics. I love rankings like these because it shows how much these sites underestimate Boston and the talent they have on their team. It’s nothing but added motivation to the team, so for that, I say thank you, ESPN.
Photo: Mary Schwalm/Associated Press