Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 17

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Washington Wizards. 12. team. 142. . . Previous:

Washington has still not righted the ship this season. The Wizards along with the Bucks have been the two biggest disappointments in the Eastern Conference through the first quarter of 2015-16. Is it the young corps, the bad coaching of Randy Wittman, the swift change of philosophies, or a combination of all three?

It’s a regression no one expected. Many thought Washington would still hang around playoff contention but are clearly in the bottom third of the East this season after being a Top 5 team in the conference a year before. John Wall is still a great point guard, but the rest of the team has collectively taken a leap back in 2015.

New York Knicks. 11. team. 27. . . Previous:

The Knicks are interesting as they are not terrible with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis playing well for them. This team is still probably a year away, but I wouldn’t say that they aren’t unwatchable. Actually the contrary. Porzingis is the most exciting rookie in the Association.

I feel like this team needs one more offseason’s worth of acquisitions to get back into contention. In the meantime, the Zinger and ‘Melo show will pack Madison Square Garden nightly and the Knicks will draw crowds where ever they go on the road. They’re an exciting, but not a playoff contending team.

10. team. 64. . . Previous: . Detroit Pistons

So Andre Drummond can make half court shots but not free throws? The Pistons are very much in the mix in the Eastern Conference at 15-12. Outside of maybe four or five teams, they are just as good as most of the teams vying for Eastern Conference Playoff berths. Detroit has the longest playoff drought in the East currently.

They are physical enough and have enough shooting to contend. However, it is always a challenge to take a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in a while and get them back in. Stan Van Gundy will have to guide this talented team into the April. Barring any major setbacks, Detroit has staying power in the Eastern Conference Playoffs race.

Next: Tier III: Probable First Round Exit