Charlotte Hornets

July 16, 2014

NBA East: A look at Eastern Conference contenders’ lineups

Capsules on the projected top 10 NBA Eastern Conference teams and their off-season activity.

A look at the potential top teams in the NBA East who will likely be battling for a playoff spot. Players in bold are new additions to the team.


Landing LeBron James and the first pick in the draft is no small feat. In clearing cap space for James, the Cavaliers did have to shed role players, but they replaced them with sharpshooting former teammates of James: Mike Miller and James Jones.

Starting lineup:

PG: Kyrie Irving

SG: Andrew Wiggins

SF: LeBron James

PF: Tristan Thompson

C: Anderson Varejao

Key reserves: PF Anthony Bennett, SG Dion Waiters

Key losses: SF Luol Deng, C Spencer Hawes, PG Jarrett Jack


Chicago’s biggest upgrade will be getting back a healthy Derrick Rose, who has had two straight injury-filled seasons. The addition of Pau Gasol alongside Joakim Noah gives Chicago two of the best-passing big men in the league, and Doug McDermott helps address last season’s shooting woes.

Starting lineup:

PG: Derrick Rose

SG: Jimmy Butler

SF: Mike Dunleavy

PF: Pau Gasol

C: Joakim Noah

Key reserves: PF Taj Gibson, PG Kirk Hinrich

Key losses: PG D.J. Augustin, PF Carlos Boozer


After Trevor Ariza landed in Houston, Washington replaced him with Paul Pierce. While he’s not in his prime, Pierce was very good defensively in the playoffs and can still knock down 3-point shots.

Starting lineup:

PG: John Wall

SG: Bradley Beal

SF: Paul Pierce

PF: Nene

C: Marcin Gortat

Key reserves: PF Kris Humphries, SF Martell Webster

Key losses: SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker


Toronto is essentially bringing back the same team as last season, only getting a slight upgrade from John Salmons to Lou Williams and adding two high-upside international prospects: Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira.

Starting lineup:

PG: Kyle Lowry

SG: Terrence Ross

SF: DeMar DeRozan

PF: Amir Johnson

C: Jonas Valanciunas

Key reserves: PF Patrick Patterson, PG Greivis Vasquez

Key losses: SF John Salmons


Although it lost the best player on the planet, Miami did gain Luol Deng’s defensive intensity and Josh McRoberts’ creative passing.

Starting lineup:

PG: Mario Chalmers

SG: Dwyane Wade

SF: Luol Deng

PF: Josh McRoberts

C: Chris Bosh

Key reserves: C Chris Andersen, SF Danny Granger

Key losses: SF LeBron James, PF Rashard Lewis, SG Ray Allen (UFA)


After losing Josh McRoberts to Miami and Utah matching the Hornets’ offer sheet for Gordon Hayward, the Hornets recovered in free agency with Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams and Brian Roberts. Top draft choice Noah Vonleh is young and will take time to develop.

PG: Kemba Walker

SG: Lance Stephenson/Gerald Henderson

SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

PF: Marvin Williams/Cody Zeller

C: Al Jefferson

Key reserves: SG Gary Neal, SG P.J. Hairston, SF Jeff Taylor

Key losses: PF Josh McRoberts, PG Luke Ridnour, SF Anthony Tolliver


The top seed in the East last year has yet to make any significant additions. With Lance Stephenson signing in Charlotte and Evan Turner an unrestricted free agent, the Pacers would take a step back with C.J. Miles as starting shooting guard.

Starting lineup

PG: George Hill

SG: C.J. Miles

SF: Paul George

PF: David West

C: Roy Hibbert

Key reserves: PF Luis Scola, PG C.J. Watson

Key losses: SG Lance Stephenson, SG Evan Turner (UFA)


The Hawks weren’t able to lure any big-name players, but they’ll get an All-Star back with the return of Al Horford from a torn pectoral muscle. Atlanta also signed quality role players Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore.

Starting lineup:

PG: Jeff Teague

SG: Kyle Korver

SF: DeMarre Carroll

PF: Paul Millsap

C: Al Horford

Key reserves: SG Thabo Sefolosha, PF Adreian Payne

Key losses: SG Lou Williams, PF Elton Brand (UFA), PG Shelvin Mack (UFA)

New York

New York got an upgrade at point guard (Jose Calderon over Raymond Felton) at the cost of their rim protector, Tyson Chandler. The team is also going from veteran coach Mike Woodson to first-time coach Derek Fisher.

Starting lineup:

PG: Jose Calderon

SG: Iman Shumpert

SF: Carmelo Anthony

PF: Andrea Bargnani

C: Amare Stoudemire

Key reserves: SG Tim Hardaway Jr., SG J.R. Smith

Key losses: C Tyson Chandler, PG Raymond Felton, SF Metta World Peace (UFA)


Losing Paul Pierce hurts, but the Nets add size with the return of Brook Lopez, who missed most of two of the past three seasons with foot and ankle injuries. When healthy, he plays at an All-Star level.

Starting lineup:

PG: Deron Williams

SG: Joe Johnson

SF: Andrei Kirilenko

PF: Kevin Garnett

C: Brook Lopez

Key reserves: PG Jarrett Jack, SF Mirza Teletovic

Key losses: PF Andray Blatche (UFA), PG Shaun Livingston, SF Paul Pierce

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