All of the odds for various teams and how they will do have come out, and after looking at them all I decided to talk a bit about who is the most underrated and overrated teams by the general public heading into the season.
Please keep in mind, that this is merely in comparison with most oddsmakers.
Overrated: Boston Celtics
I don't really believe in the Celtics. Al Horford will make them better because Horford is a wonderful player who is miles better than other bigs on the Celtics roster.
HOWEVA, most oddsmakers and prediction folks have the Celtics as the 2nd team in the Eastern conference behind Cleveland, and by a fair margin. Which would suggest that the general populace believes that the Celtics are the only team that really has a meaningful chance to challenge LeBron.
While I do like the Celtics roster and they have a really good coach, I just don't see how they are separated from the rest of the pack.
The reality is that the for the last 2 years, everyone has loved the Celtics and their roster because it is just a collection of guys who play hard and the right way, being lead by a good coach. They even were drawing comparisons to the 2004 Pistons heading into this year (which, don't even get me started on how stupid that was).
The Celtics then proceeded to lose in the 1st round of the playoffs the last 2 years, and clearly just did not have enough creators on offense to score consistent points in crunch time. And remember as well, that (more often than not) their best crunch time scorer the last 2 years was Evan Turner, who is now in Portland.
The 2nd thing to keep in mind, is that Al Horford has been on the Hawks his whole career. The Hawks were actually a very good team the last 2 years, and both times they got swept by the Cavaliers. So in the end, the question is, are the Celtics now better than the Hawks last year? Which I would give a fairly emphatic “no”. Not to mention that those Hawks teams had similar issues in crunch time scoring that the Celtics had, so Horford certainly is not fixing that problem.
The Celtics will be better this year, they will be in the upper reaches of the mob that is the Eastern conference playoff race. But I just don't see them as any legitimate threat to LeBron and the Cavs.
Underrated: Charlotte Hornets
Many oddsmakers and predictors have the Hornets down in the lower reaches of the Eastern conference, and firmly out of the playoffs. Which means that they have somehow found themselves as the forgotten team in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets were actually a very solid team last year, Kemba Walker had a breakout year, Nic Batum is maybe not “max salary” good but he is was a great fit as a secondary ball handler and is a very good 2 way player, Marvin Williams truly found a niche as one of the better 2 way stretch 4s in basketball, and Cody Zeller thrived in the new pace and space offense as a center.
The gaping hole the Hornets had all of the last seasons was at SF, until they eventually traded for Courtney Lee and played Nic Batum there, somehow everyone seems to have forgotten about Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist, who has been a hugely important player on the team in his young career.
The Hornets will be putting out one of the more fearsome starting lineups in the Eastern Conference, with Walker/Batum/MKG/Williams/Zeller. Their bench will not be as big a strength for them as it was last year with the departure of Jeremy Lin, but they still have several good players to anchor it as a decent unit.
Essentially, the Hornets were a team last year that almost won 50 games and just barely lost in the first round of the playoffs, and they did it without possibly their 2nd or 3rd best player, and anyone who watches the Hornets with any regularity will tell you that the team is just better with him on the court.
The Hornets are not going to be real contenders or anything like that, but they will almost certainly not fall back into the basement. I have every expectation that they will be in the playoffs again and win ~47 games.
What do you think? Who are some teams that you think are being over or underrated?