Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 10

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. . Previous: . Orlando Magic. 9. team. 38

The Scott Skiles Effect is working in the Central Florida, as the young Orlando Magic have a winning record through their first 22 games of 2015-16 (12-10). Is this a playoff team? Potentially, as I do like the explosiveness of the young corps.

What I do know is that this year’s Orlando Magic team is not going to lose over 50 games again under their new head coach. That should put them closer to .500 with a favorable chance of contending for an Eastern Conference Playoff spot in 2016.

8. team. 18. . . Previous: . Boston Celtics

I love the overall physicality of this year’s Boston Celtics. Brad Stevens is getting the most out of his players most nights and it is a tough task to play the Celtics. They may not have that high of a ceiling, but they have a particularly high floor. To me, that means that they should make the playoffs again in 2016.

I keep thinking that GM Danny Ainge will make a trade to acquire a star caliber player from a bad team to elevate their playoff push. They have the pieces to make that happen. In the meantime, this is still a fun team to watch play and I expect them to play in late April at least.

7. team. 110. . . Previous: . Miami Heat

The Miami Heat tend to fluctuate in my perception of the club. Some weeks they look like a serious contender for an Eastern Conference Finals bid. Other weeks they look like they could get swept in the first round.

The defensive intensity is there in South Beach in 2015-16, but the offensive rhythm seems a bit off. Is there enough space for centers Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh to operate? Will point guard Goran Dragic get them to the next level offensively? Miami should make the playoffs, but how far they will go is very much up in the air at this point.

Next: Tier II: Eastern Conference Finals Ceiling