NBA Betting: Eastern Conference Power Rankings

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, January 3, 2013 4:48 PM GMT

Much like the West is starting to look, the East is becoming a conference of haves and have-nots. More and more it looks like the Miami Heat will be the undisputed number one ranked team at seasons end.

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NBA power rankings update Eastern conference

While certain teams that looked as if they were going to contend, were merely smoke and mirrors. While I still believe the Miami Heat will eventually waltz in the NBA finals, there are certain scenarios that could happen between now and then that could keep that from happening. Let's take an updated look at the Eastern conference through one third of the season, and see if any teams are moving up or down their respective rankings.

1. Miami Heat (22-8 SU, 15-15 ATS, 1st in East standings) 

Even though they look disinterested on certain nights, the Miami Heat should still be considered the powerhouse of this conference. If LeBron James continues his play as of late, and Dwayne Wade ends his tireless charade of being the biggest drama queen in the NBA, the Miami Heat could very well win another NBA title this year. It's the little things with this team, like their defense, their charades, or their endless ability to get calls at home. These are just a few things that can and cannot help them the season, but unless the Knicks or the Celtics get things together anytime soon, or Derrick Rose makes an Adrian Peterson style return, the Miami Heat should win the Eastern conference.

2. New York Knicks (21-10 SU, 15-16 ATS, 2nd in East standings)

What we all feared at the beginning of the season when this team got together seems to be coming directly into fruition. The New York Knicks are starting to be banged up and they are starting to lose several key players for extended periods of time. Raymond Felton is out 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured pinky, and several other Knicks have had their respective boo-boos this season. While they should still be considered the second-best team in the East, that's not saying much. Yes, the Knicks have beaten the Heat a couple times this season, but the way the Heat are approaching this season, it doesn't surprise me. If New York cannot stay healthy (they just got back Amare Stoudemire) there are teams in the Eastern conference that could take over the two seed.

3. Atlanta Hawks (20-10 SU, 13-16 ATS, 3rd in East standings)

The Hawks are a bit of a mixed bag this season. They have several new and very good players, and they have been playing together with great chemistry over the last few weeks. With Al Horford and Josh Smith both getting around 20 points a game, this team has enough firepower behind those two stars to beat most any team in the East. One of their key attributes has been their defense, and if the Hawks continue to play well on both ends of the floor they could very well be the number two seed in the East by seasons end.

4. Chicago Bulls (17-13 SU, 10-20 ATS, 5th in East standings)

Chicago sits in an interesting point of the season. As my favorite quote from the movie Forrest Gump goes, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know which one you're going to get.” The Bulls could be inserted for life this season, and on any given night they could give you an exceptional effort, or they could lose to the Bobcats. In the shallow Eastern conference this season however, they are at least the fourth best team. Once Derrick Rose comes back, this team could make a push through the playoffs.

5. Indiana Pacers

6. Milwaukee Bucks

7. Brooklyn Nets

8. Boston Celtics

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