Orlando Magic: The Magic surprised people last year when they made the finals, and I believe the they're poised to make another push. Losing Hedo Turkoglu was a bummer, but the team made up for it by bringing in Brandon Bass, Matt Barnes, "comeback kid" Jason Williams, Ryan Anderson, and of course Vince Carter. Carter's best years are behind him, but he can still create his own shots and demands a double team. The powerhouse D-12 will only be more dominant, and Jameer Nelson is fully healthy again. The East is getting stronger against their counterpart and certainly the Magic are at the top of the food chain.
Atlanta Hawks: I believe the Hawks are one of the bigger underdogs in the East. Led by Mike Woodson, the Hawks won 47 games last year, and made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. I love the additions of Joe Smith and Jamal Crawford, who can play the 1 or 2 position, as well as drafting a nice backup point guard in Jeff Teague. The Hawks have one of the better front-courts in the East, and it's a big reason why I'm loving them in 2009-2010.
Miami Heat: There's a reason why the Heat are limited to 2nd round picks, and Jamario Moon-less. Pat Riley is preparing to offer Dwayne Wade the big bucks come July 1st, 2010, and praying the superstar will stay in Miami. The Heat signed Quinten Richardson, but I am a little concerned about their not-so-busy summer. The core of the Heat is definitely solid, and there's no doubt a playoff appearance is in the future. Nonetheless, the ball is in Dwayne Wade's court...and 2010 is just around the corner. Brace yourself for a anxious summer, Heat fans.
Washington Wizards: The Wizards have a chance to be the most improved team in 2009-2010. But when dealing with the Wizards, it's all about the health of "The Big 3", Jamison, Butler, and Arenas. I like the additions of Mike Miller and Randy Foye, who will be a nice backup if Arenas goes down again. But at the end of the day, injuries will make or break the Wizards.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats were oh-so-close to making the playoffs last year, and I think it'll be the same way next season. The Emeka Okafor-Tyson Chandler trade confuses me, and it leaves Gerald Wallace as the only remaining Bobcat since it originated (talk about rebuilding). I expect Wallace to be a vocal leader this year, and take a "this is my team" approach. I like the Gerald Henderson draft, but keeping in mind the recent busts of Duke Alumni. The Bobcats continue to make strides of improvement, but it'll be tough to keep pace with the rest of the competitive Eastern Conference.