Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 3

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24. . . Previous: . Chicago Bulls. 3. team

The Bulls are still a solid team under new HC Fred Hoiberg. He’s handled the aftermath of the Tom Thibodeau Era in the Windy City well and has his team in the thick things in a very top-heavy Central Division.

Hoiberg has the Bulls as a defense first team in 2015-16, 8th in points allowed (97.8) and 4th in efficiency (99.0). If Chicago can finally stay healthy, this is a team certainly capable of playing for and winning an NBA Championship. The 2016 ECF could stand as their toughest test to date.

. . Previous: . Indiana Pacers. 2. team. 100

I knew Paul George was a great player, but I didn’t expect him to come back and play at an MVP level after his gruesome leg injury suffered two summers ago. He was the NBA Player of the Week in the Eastern Conference and his Pacers are again looking ECF caliber.

This team is again outstanding defensively for HC Frank Vogel, as the Pacers are 2nd in defensive efficiency (97.7) and 4th in points allowed per game (95.3). It’s early, but I think this Pacers team can get back to the ECF for the third time in four years. Can they beat LeBron James? That is the biggest question they’ll face once they get there.

More from Atlanta Hawks

. . Previous: . Cleveland Cavaliers. 1. team. 156

Cleveland is rolling merrily right along even without two key guards on the offensive side of the ball for them. The Cavaliers are 3rd in offensive efficiency (107.5) even without PG Kyrie Irving and SG Iman Shumpert. LeBron James is letting Kevin Love run the offense and Cleveland is still looking like the team to beat in the East.

Next: Atlanta Hawks Fall at Home to Raptors, 96-86

The team chemistry seems better than it did last year and barring a big injury to either James or Love, the Cavaliers should finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference in 2016. All eyes for the Cavs are on winning the city’s first professional championship since 1964.