We have notes out of each division from the Eastern Conference this evening. Last year, the Southeast Division sent four teams to the playoffs, while the Atlantic and Central sent two apiece. This season, the Atlantic is in danger of dropping to just one playoff entry, as teams like Cleveland, Charlotte, and Atlanta figure to improve while Brooklyn and New York haven’t made clear upgrades this offseason. Here’s a rundown of the East:
- Taj Gibson insisted that he is comfortable with a bench role in Chicago from his personal Twitter account (H/T Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). The Bulls big was responding to a report that he was privately displeased at the prospect of remaining on the bench for a crowded Bulls frontcourt. Gibson was similarly diplomatic when a potential starting role was fueling rumors regarding Carlos Boozer‘s eventual amnesty.
- Jeff Taylor tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he is trying to be patient while training following his Achilles surgery this winter, but that his injury is healed and not a concern heading into camp. “It’s the first time I had anything more than a sprained ankle. It’s really hard to hold yourself back,” Taylor said. “I’ve always been that person who thought he could do things others doubted. But in a situation like this, you have to listen.” Hornets coach Steve Clifford had some doubts as to Taylor’s readiness for the season, but the third-year guard is confident that he will be able to compete immediately. “It’s not an injury anymore. It’s healed,” said Taylor. “It’s not weighing on my mind.”
- Jonah Ballow of NYKnicks.com writes that Knicks president Phil Jackson has given coach Derek Fisher plenty room to work so far, despite the temptation Jackson might feel to gravitate back toward the bench.