ESPN Insider Tom Haberstroh ranked the Nets second behind the Miami Heat in his Eastern Conference Power Rankings for July. According to Haberstroh:
With the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston and Jason Terry, this might be the deepest team in the league. A lot of ink (err, bandwidth) has been spilled on the aging core, but let’s not forget that their two best players — Deron Williams and Brook Lopez — are in their primes.
The Kirilenko addition should do wonders to keep Pierce and Garnett fresh for the playoffs, which will be huge with their lofty goals for next season. There’s a very real possibility that the Nets show their age and fail to make strides in 2013-14, but they’ve cooled those concerns with a monster bench.
The Nets (on paper) may arguably be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but I think it’s little premature to give them a #2 ranking. The Indiana Pacers grew leaps and bounds in the playoffs without Danny Granger and a legitimate bench. In the offseason, the Pacers have not only retained a key piece in David West for another three years, they’ve also added players (C.J. Watson, Chris Copeland, Luis Scola) to bolster their bench. Considering its offseason additions, the run to the Eastern Conference Finals, Granger’s return and the emergence of big man Roy Hibbert and Paul George, Indiana should be held in higher regard. The Chicago Bulls are also a team not to sneeze at. Even without the services of Derrick Rose, Chicago gave the Heat and Nets fits during the regular season and postseason. Now that Rose is healthy, along with the offseason addition of sharp shooter Mike Dunleavy Jr., the Bulls figure to be better than they were a season ago and are just as talented as the Nets and Pacers to contend with the Heat for supremacy in the East. My Eastern Conference Power Ranking:
Would you agree?