Grading The East

Our NBA guy, Jeff Engelhardt is taking on top of the Association's off-season moves. Today, the Eastern Conference. Tomorrow, the Western Conference. Saturday, the world.

The Eastern Conference has been criticized the last few seasons for being inferior to the powerful West. But teams like the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics proved the criticism was unsupported.

The West is the best, no doubt about it. But the East's elite can play with the best, and thanks to summer acquisitions, there is a whole lot more reason to believe the championship stay with the East.

Atlanta Hawks
They resigned Josh Smith which was huge. They lost Josh Childress which hurt. The additions of Maurice Evans, Randolph Morris and Flip Murray are nice safety pieces, but I think they missed to take a huge step forward. This team is close to being really good, but they needed action in the draft. Grade: C+

Boston Celtics
One big loss with the defensive-minded James Posey headed to the Hornets. But draft picks J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker should develop nicely. They bring in two guys, Darius Miles and Patrick O' Bryant, looking to ressurect broken careers in a bad way. If their bench of Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Kentucky Kid Rajon Rondo continue to improve, they will be fine. Grade: B-

Charlotte Bobcats
What is there to say? I love DJ Augustin, but he is similar to Raymond Felton. They resigned Emeka Okafor and Ryan Hollins, which is good. They bring on Alexis Ajinca who could go either way. If this team wants to see the playoffs, they need to stop drafting conservatively. Better luck next year. Grade: D+

Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose is a great pickup no doubt, and getting Luol Deng back was key. They got rid of two problem players in JamesOn Curry and Chris Duhon, but they still have little size. They needed to be more aggressive in pursuing a trade for Shawn Marion that was being discussed. Good draft, but Del Negro as coach? Grade: C+

Cleveland Cavaliers
Three really solid picks and getting Mo Williams makes this team deeper and a little better. Is Williams LeBron's Pippen? No, but he will help tremendously. Lorenzen Wright comes on board and they resign Booby Gibson. There is not a whole lot of bad to say about their off-season. Grade: B+

Detroit Pistons
I always loved this team's style, but this was a terrible off-season. They lose a great shot blocker in Theo Ratliff and a solid bench player in Jarvis Hayes. They add Kwame Brown? Will Bynum? I mean come on guys. The draft wasn't much better with mediocre picks at best. The Pistons are busting out the white flag. Grade: F

Indiana Pacers
It was a good job to get TJ Ford and Brandon Rush. Jarrett Jack is a good player, but what about the post? They lose Jermaine O' Neal and get Josh McRoberts and Rasho Nesterovic? I mean, I guess if you want scrappy players, which is nothing but crappy with an "s" its OK. I like the backcourt though. Grade: C-

Miami Heat
Bow down to the kings of the East. Michael Beasley was the best player in the draft, Mario Chalmers is a great pick and now Dwayne Wade won a gold medal and The Matrix is there for a full season. Sure there are questions on defense, but whatever, this team is scoring all night long. Grade: A

Milwaukee Bucks
This is my team so I am biased, but they added a superstar. They gave up Mo Williams which hurts, but hello Richard Jefferson, we have been waiting. The Bucks also added Joe Alexander, who could be a great spark from the bench but that's about all I see there. Luc Richard Mbah-A-Moute has mad skills on defense. Grade: B+

New Jersey Nets
You would think losing Richard Jefferson and Marcus Williams would mean terrible off-season. Not so much. They add Brook Lopez, Chris Douglas Roberts, Ryan Anderson, Yi Jianlian. This team has A LOT of youth and it is extremely exciting. But they need time to grow. Great off-season. Grade: A-

New York Knicks
Whoops, they forgot to get better. Danilo Gallinari could be good or maybe not, but thats not the point. They add Chris Duhon, Anthony Roberson and Patrick Ewing Jr. (that's cute). They lose a promising player in Renaldo Balkman. They did get a great coach though so that saves them from being too terrible. Grade: D+

Orlando Magic
I love the Courtney Lee pick and Mickael Pietrus will help with depth. They lose two nice players in Carlos Arroyo and Keyon Dooling, but they will live. They pretty much stayed the same, but that's fine since they need to focus on gelling this great, young team together. Grade: B

Philadelphia 76ers
This is how you run an off-season. Elton Brand, Royal Ivey, Kareem Rush, Theo Ratliff and Donyell Marshall all join the team, sweet deal to say the least. Andre Igoudala and Louis Williams come back and they lose absolutely no one of significance. Well done Philly, well done. Grade: A+

Toronto Raptors
This one is a little tough. They get Mr. Injury Jermaine O'Neal, who could really help Bosh when healthy, but they lose TJ Ford and Carlos Delfino. I guess Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker need to step up. It could have been better, but it wasn't terrible. They float in mediocrity. Grade: C+

Washington Wizards
This one is simple to sum up. JaVale McGee....and Agent Zero blowing out his knee. You do the math.
Grade: F