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Examining the Eastern conference fear factor post trade deadline.

One can measure fear any number of ways. I naturally lean toward sophomoric. And since these trade deadline deals by contenders are suppose strike fear this season (and often this season alone), it is time to see where each team now stands on my scale of fear (SOF).

Level 1- Grow out finger nails for chewing.

Level 2- Make sure wife is not around to avoid "a scene."

Level 3- Buy second 12 pack of bear.

Level 4- Stock up on sheetrock for probable wall punching

Level 5- Gary Busey.

Level 6- Shave eye brows.

Level 7- LeBron James

Level 8- Place Kleenex in every room for uncontrollable crying.

Level 9- Have second pair of underwear just in case I wet myself.

Level 10- Actually crap my pants.

Orlando Magic

Previous fear level: 8

Moves: None

Current fear level: 8

Any team that forces (and in Woody's case, actually encourages) Jason Collins to play is at least a level six. Throw in the fact that one fringe role player for Orlando always enjoys having a career night and Vince Carter plays at the level that makes Toronto spout hate rarely seen in Canadians and you will increasingly find me next to buried in a pillow weeping. Oh and they have Dwight Howard.

Actually, this fear level should be much higher. I wrote this section on the toilet as a precautionary measure.

Boston Celtics

Previous fear level: 2

Moves: Nate Robinson in, Eddie House out.

Current fear level: 4

I do not understand this trade. To me, it just seems like the bench chest bump after a big Ray Allen three pointer got better hops. That is about it.

The negatives Nate Robinson brings seem to outweigh any positive. The positive being dunking ability and volume scoring. The negative being most other things. It is not like Eddy House was a savior, but I don't see Nate Robinson winning any series Boston was going to lose. A game? Maybe, but the move made me laugh more than it made me scared.

That being said Nate Robinson is a fourth quarter assassin against the Hawks and Eddie House had little brother syndrome with his brother-in-law Mike Bibby so yes, I went to Home Depot yesterday and stocked up on wall repair things.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Previous fear level: 7

Moves: Antawn Jamison in and Zydrunas Ilgauskas out (for now).

Current fear level: 7 (goes to an 8 if Big Z comes back).

As far as the Cavs go, Floppy hair McGee Anderson Varejao and LeBron James are the problems for the Hawks. Breaking it down, LBJ is like 90% of the problem and Anderson is a loud 10 percent. I see no reason why less minutes for Varejao and his defense and more minutes for old man Shaq helps Cleveland against Atlanta.

Now, they are still scary because they are much better, but I actually would like to see Jamison over Varejao ten times out of ten . Josh Smith is better than Jamison and Jamison does nothing to stop what Josh does well. Veriejao does. And if Cleveland wants to take shots away from LeBron and Shaq for 16 footers by Jamison so be it.

That all being said, if Big Z returns (moderate if) and Mike Brown can integrate everyone into an effective rotation (bigger if), the Cavs are going to the finals. They probably already are going to the finals anyway, but if those ifs are answered, it won't even be fun to watch them get there.


The Hawks did not have the willingness/assets to make a move, but to be honest, post deadline they are, at worse, no further back than before it. The optimist may even argue they are in better position. Of course, the pessimist would say they were only maybe the third best team to begin with so that is not very competitive thinking. I though feel good that with focused play and a decent amount of luck they can still give any team in the East a run come playoff time. That is really all I ever asked for this season. Just don't give the Hawks Charlotte in the first round. Charlotte might actually be a ten. No...wait, yep, they are definitely a nine.