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The East Looks to be a Future NBA Beast

New York Knicks J.R. Smith reacts after hitting a 3-point shot in the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 19, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo

There is no doubt where the public believes the power is with NBA future odds as the Eastern Conference is led by power favorites Miami and Chicago with a host of select power dogs such as Orlando, Philadelphia, and Indiana. Add into the mix the “Linsanity” of the popular New York Knicks and the venerable veteran Boston Celtics and you have plenty of action in the East.

Perhaps the most intriguing story thus far in the East has been the Chicago Bulls as they have proven to be far more than a one man team of superstar Derrick Rose. Rose has been out most of February with injuries and yet the Bulls have maintained excellence and were in second place in the Eastern Conference standings within a game of the Miami Heat.

Chicago has proven to be a complete team that ranked 9th for scoring offense and 3rd for defense. Defense is what made them the top seed in the Eastern Conference last year and what could propel them again to the top spot. The Bulls have also proven to be a highly effective road team which is of critical importance come playoff time. Rose returned to the lineup on February 20th so the Bulls figure to be even better down the stretch.

Miami has been solid if not spectacular as LeBron James has been averaging 27.6 points and 6.8 assists per game to propel the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Miami’s offense was 2nd in the NBA for scoring while the defense was middle of the road at 14th.

The West is another matter as handicappers are showing with their action on the NBA future odds that there is little faith in those teams. The traditional power and public name brand team Los Angeles Lakers are looking more and more like a dysfunctional mess. The Lakers are beginning to implode as stories of a front office being run by the party animal sons of owner Jerry Buss have begun to surface. Add to that the rumors of a potential trade of Pau Gasol and new coach Mike Brown taking over for Hall of Famer Phil Jackson and you have a very bad situation brewing. The Oklahoma City Thunder are still young and unproven in the post season and the San Antonio Spurs are an odd mix of young and old. Defending champion Dallas is still in the mix and they could end up as a team to watch before this shortened NBA season is over.

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RG3 impresses at the combine

Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III. (UPI Photo/Ian Halperin)

The buzz keeps building. Robert Griffin III measured at 6′ and 2 and 3/8″ and then blew away the field with a 4.38 time in the 40. It’s not quite as fast as the rumored 40-imes for Micheal Vick, but it still confirms RG3′s amazing athletic ability. (Official time later reported to be 4.41 – still fast!)

He’s also impressing everyone in his interviews as well, which isn’t a surprise.

The key question now is what will it take for the Browns to get him.

Bill Simmons puts Anderson Varejao on his NBA All-Star Team

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Anderson Varejao was snubbed for the NBA All-Star Team this year despite his impressive season, but Bill Simmons argues that Varejao would be a starter on his team.

As for that fifth spot: I love the way Varejao is playing this season … and if you enjoy guys who put up 11 points and 12 rebounds every night, grab every big rebound in traffic, take monster charges again and again and shut down opposing big guys, you should, too. Isn’t the whole point of the All-Star Game to pick players who are playing as well as they can possibly play? I never watch Chris Bosh and say, “Whoa, Chris Bosh! He’s something! He’s really turned it on!” Why do I have to pick Bosh as a starter again? And also, why should THREE Miami Heat players be starting on the All-Star team? You don’t find this a little kooky? Are they the ’96 Bulls or something? Please. Besides, Varejao has been more of an impact player this year — he’s the best at what he does, and that’s saying something. You win with what he does.

Varejao is fourth in the league in rebounding.

Yet if you follow Cavs fans on Twitter, there’s still a vocal group who argues that Varejao is overrated. I remember one guy saying that Samardo Samuels and Ryan Hollins were better players.

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