Oh, the East is rising, what are we going to do about the one team that really improved itself, so far (the Sixers)? The New Jersey Nets picked in the lottery this year, but they have made some nice moves that may get them back in contention.
You look at the nucleus that they have built: great young point guard in Devin Harris (Marcus Willimas and CDR off the bench), bolstered front line with Yi and Brook Lopez (don't forget the energy Stromile Swift and Josh Boone could bring off the bench) and they just acquired Keyon Dooling (and did I mention VC?). While that sounds like a pretty solid squad, they have to prove it out on the court.
This team won 34 games last year and finished 10th in the Eastern conference. The Hawks made the playoffs winning only 37 games, but I think you might have to be at 500. next season (if we're lucky). To get to a winning percentage of 500., all these Nets have to do is win seven more games.
That is of course doable, but here's what they have to do: forget the doubters, work hard, the basics. This is not hard to do: this team is young, so all they need is a lot of practice and a strong, vocal coaching staff to get them over the hump.
They could be similar to the Hawks that took the Celtics serious for six games before being blown out of the building in the seventh.
Remember: this team will not be popping champagne and not sleeping for a week. They're young and if they don't live up to my expectations and squeak into the playoffs, well they get a lottery pick out of it. If they make the playoffs, then this young team gets some experience. Everyone wins!