Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 17

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Previous: . Miami Heat. 3. team. 110. .

The Miami Heat might stand as the best team in the Southeast. Even with Goran Dragic losing teeth, this team can smile pretty as they have the pieces in place to win the division and play for a conference championship this spring.

They could use some help off the bench, but the Heat have a handful of players that seem to work well together. As this team continues to grow together, they could stand as a team that could go the distance with either Cleveland or Chicago. Because of that, I think this week they feel like a contender in the East.

team. 24. . . Previous: . Chicago Bulls. 2

I think the Chicago Bulls have the deepest team in the East as 2015 comes to an end. They have so many great big men that head coach Fred Hoiberg has to get creative with minutes allocation. It’s a team with an already great defensive identity and may not run out of gas in the Eastern Semis this season.

At this point, the Chicago Bulls feel like the one team in the East that can best challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trip to the NBA Finals. The Hoiberg era in the Windy City has been well received so far and that should continue if the Bulls can stay healthy when it counts in April.

Next: Atlanta Hawks handle Philadelphia 76ers, 127-106

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

Cleveland will hold the top spot in the East until either they slipped considerably or another team emerges as a world-beater. With the East so tightly packed, I have to give the edge to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Why would I not?

Now that James and Kevin Love have developed good on court chemistry, I wonder how lethal this team could become once point guard Kyrie Irving is ready to go after his broken kneecap fully heals? If Cleveland’s big three can play in unison, this team could again get back to the NBA Finals, possibly beating either Golden State or San Antonio to end Cleveland’s title drought of 51 years.