LA Confidential: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - Eastern Conference (Atlantic Division)

  • By Jron Magcale, Day 1, 2026


ATLANTIC DIVISION

Baltimore Bullets (King-O-Matic Projection: 54 Wins; 2nd in the East)

The Good: "Run it Back!" That is the common theme for the Bullets after being ousted by their rival Kings. What's good about this team is they are still a powerhouse in the East. The core of Isaiah Clarkson, Reggie Goodwin, Marcus Ivory, Dontay Sowder and of course the young Brandon Kelly is ready to contend and is likely be back in the conference finals when all is said and done, a rematch of Bullets vs Kings conference Finals is feasible at this stage. Also Tyson Kuberka was signed and at 37 still a solid option at the PG position, if he starts then you have a pretty experienced starting 5 that can be a problem for most teams.

The Bad: Potentially this is their last open window as most of their stars are in the tailend of their peaks Kuberka is 37, Sowder is 34 and Ivory is 33 while Clarkson is just 30 he may still have 2-3 years of solid basketball in him. That is something that the Bullets management knows and with them being so close in the East last season, it's basically make or break year now.

The Ugly: The blow up is inevitable. There are signs that after this season this team will re-tool, re-structure or re-build. GM Bedouin has been vocal that if they have won last season they would've blown up this offseason but since they didn't their window of blow up is possibly this offseason. A route similar to what the Dragons did after winning it all is what may happen after this season.

Boston Crusaders (King-O-Matic Projection: 35 Wins; 12th in the East)

The Good: They are setup good for their planned rebuild, having 14 1st rounds from 2027 to 2030. This team's treasure chest is their greatest asset. They can go on however they want to. They have top players in their lineup that can be built around, having Kahlil Hooker, Zayveon West and Tyrese Porter is a good base, whether they build around that trio or not, they have solid options with the treasure chest and top marketable players.

The Bad: They will struggle this season, new GM Calvin cleaned house literally dealing their franchise player in exchange of multiple draft picks to use as foundation for their rebuild. If they don't click early then we are looking a record worse than 35 wins, so their season is variable on what they want to do moving forward.

The Ugly: Kahlil Hooker may ask out after 1 year in Boston. He was brought and most likely agreed upon the sign and trade knowing him and Devon Harrell will at least try to salvage Boston's season this year and take the leap next season. But I guess the unsettling future of Harrell in Boston was the key factor why he was dealt. That leaves Hooker the only legitimate star in Boston, he will have a big year statistically maybe even an All-Star appearance but having used to winning he may ask out if they don't win much games this season.

New York Renegades (King-O-Matic Projection: 32 Wins; 14th in the East)

The Good: New York finally have a legit star to replace Jerome Bradley in Devon Harrell in a blockbuster trade with Boston. Harrell will be a strong addition in New York and will be partnering with the solid frontcourt of Treyvon Miller and Omari Kamga, I can only imagine their pick and roll scenarios moving forward. This is a good base for the Renegades moving forward having a franchise caliber star in Harell will definitely be the goods for NY.

The Bad: They will still struggle as they just don't have the necessary supporting cast yet, their young players isn't fully developed and a lot has to be carried by Harrell. Miller hasn't proven he can be an alpha, Kamga needs to develop more in certain areas of his game, Marcus Dunn needs to show and prove that he can be that #2 scorer next to Harrell. This is likely the development and getting to know each other phase for the Renegades as cohesion will also be a factor.

The Ugly: The risk of getting Harrell is that he is in a contract year, basically he has the power after this season to jet out of NY if he wants to. The fact that the Renegades basically gambled their future to get Harrell will be so much at risk if Harrell decides to go elsewhere after this season. Given that this season will be a development year for NY, they have to prove to him that they are the place for him, as we saw in the Boston saga, he wanted to win. If that is what he seeks this season then it can get ugly if NY can't get some wins more than Boston.

Philadelphia Warriors (King-O-Matic Projection: 47 Wins; 5th in the East)

The Good: Well the Warriors re-loaded with talent, current champion castaways Aaron Honeycutt and Antoine Hall is now in Philly, Lamar Claxton and Reggie Dawkins are back at a discounted price while Alonzo Weaver is well a damn unicorn. The reigning MVP has a very nice supporting cast this season that may very well challenge for homecourt. Very exciting times in Philly but the fact of the matter is the East got stronger and it will be a challenge from start to finish, but having Weaver is a good insurance for the team to flourish.

The Bad: The bad is they still don't have a PG (not that they didn't win a chip with one) and still have a rather shallow depth all things considered. They will rely heavily on their starting 5 and hope that the PG rotation of Marques Thomas, Darryl Caldbeck and Chris Jensen is enough to carry the load. Being in the tougher and stronger Eastern Conference, depth matters.

The Ugly: Well 4 out of their 5 potential starters are 30 years old or older so their window is rather smaller compared to others. Dawkins is 34, Claxton is 33, both Hall and Thomas are 31 and Honeycutt is 30 while Weaver is just 24 in a few seasons the team may need to surround him with talent in his age-range to fit his timeline more. Warriors did win a championship already but enable to be back in that upper echelon again they need contingency for the future.

Toronto Huskies (King-O-Matic Projection: 53 Wins; 3rd in the East)

The Good: The Huskies is still a legit top 3 team in the East. Having their core intact (minus Brandon Terry) is something that they have as advantage. their cohesion maybe at or near max level especially for their core of Quavius Williamson, Vionte Houston, Darius Barry and even Trayvon Gibbs. They will challenge homecourt that is for sure. This team is still capable of being uber-competitive and it will be interesting how their season pans out.

The Bad: They have no starting caliber PG now that Terry is gone. It was a move that the Huskies needed to make and that is understandable. They needed to make sure they will have money and cap flexibility as both Williamson and Houston are in their contract year both will demand and deserves the max for their tenure and likely be offered once the extension door opens. So, the team is left with DeMarcus Jones and Jairon Terrell at PG which isn't ideal at the moment but the team doesn't have any other options now. They will look for Q's playmaking to lessen the load of their PGs but it may be an issue that will linger throughout the season.

The Ugly: The team may need to decide on what to do with their future. They will have 3 Max players next season (assuming both Q and Houston gets extended) that is $72M add that Gibbs will also be out of contract and may demand money in the free agency that will be anywhere from $12-$18M/year base that will potentially push their cap to almost $90M which will give them less leg room to sign an impact player at PG (assuming that will be the most pressing needs). Regardless there are a lot of decisions to be made from here on out for the Huskies.