Reggie Miller breaks down the Eastern Conference

TNT NBA analyst (and former Pacer) Reggie Miller broke down the Eastern Conference in a conference call that the network held to promote the launch of the season.

Boston Celtics: “James Posey (leaving the Celtics and) going to the (New Orleans) Hornets (as a free agent) is my only question mark with the Celtics. Who is going to be the guy coming off the bench to supply all that energy, that defense and take the big shots for the team?”

Philadelphia 76ers: (Head coach) Mo Cheeks got (free agent) Elton Brand and they re-signed Andre Iguodala. Now they have a player (Brand) in the closing moments who you can throw the ball down (to), command a double team, get fouled, make free throws and can make big plays.”

Toronto Raptors: “(The Raptors have) the twin towers in Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal. The only question mark is ‘how many games will Jermaine be healthy for?’”

New Jersey Nets: “(The Nets) have a brand new team. Gone are Jason Kidd (Mavericks) and Richard Jefferson (Bucks). Is Vince (Carter) finally going to be able to lead (the Nets) on his own?”

New York Knicks: “(New head coach) Mike D’Antoni isn’t afraid to run. There is drama with Stephon (Marbury), is he going to start or come off the bench? How are Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph going to fit into this system?”

Cleveland Cavaliers: “My MVP pick this year is LeBron James. I think he is ready to take the next step. Watching the Olympics this summer, you can see the maturation process of LeBron. Picking up Mo Williams (from the Bucks) was huge.”

Detroit Pistons: “The act that (new head coach) Michael Curry has to follow after (former Pistons head coaches) Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown and Flip Saunders is tough. Is it going to be too much pressure? If Rasheed Wallace shows up, then the Pistons could make a seventh trip back to the (Eastern) Conference Finals.”

Milwaukee Bucks: “(The Bucks) went out and got (new head coach) Scott Skiles and traded for Richard Jefferson (from the Nets) and Andrew Bogut signs a big deal. They are one of my sleeper teams in the East (Conference) to make the playoffs.”

Indiana Pacers: “The Pacers are one of my sleeper teams in the East (Conference) to make the playoffs. They’ve got a brand new team with nine new faces. I think it was a breakout year for Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger is an up-and-coming young player.”

Chicago Bulls: “(The big question) is if Derrick Rose is ready to lead (the team) as the number one pick (in the 2008 NBA draft). All eyes are going to be on first-year (head) coach Vinny Del Negro.”

Orlando Magic: “(The Magic) are my second best team in the East (Conference). ‘Superman’ (Dwight Howard) is ready to lead. They’ve got Tony Battie coming back and he is going to take a lot of pressure off of Dwight down low.”

Atlanta Hawks: “Was the (2008) playoff run a fluke taking the Celtics to seven games (in the first round)? Josh Childress went to Greece (as a free agent) and there are already grumblings that Mike Woodson and Josh Smith are at odds with one another.”

Charlotte Bobcats: “I heard (new Bobcats head coach) Larry Brown wants to trade everyone except Jared Dudley. So things are right on cue for Charlotte and Larry Brown.”

Washington Wizards: “(Injured) Brendan Haywood is out three to five months. Gilbert (Arenas) could be back as early as December or January. They are saying that Antawn Jamison could be ready at the start of the year but they’ve got too many starters out. I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs.”

Miami Heat: “The Erik Spoelstra era begins in Miami. Michael Beasley, who everyone thought should have been the number one pick (in the 2008 NBA Draft), will have all eyes on him. If they get a healthy Dwyane Wade, we saw what dividends that paid for the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing.”

I agree with most of what Miller says here. Here are my playoff picks for the East:

1. Boston
2. Philadelphia
3. Detroit
4. Orlando
5. Miami
6. Cleveland
7. Toronto
8. Milwaukee
9. Chicago
10. Washington

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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