Now for the second straight year, I am here to bring you my predictions on how the Eastern Conference of the NBA will play out. The Eastern Conference was a tough conference to predict because there are so many teams on the same level. Feel free to comment your opinions in the comment section or tweet me @icapell98.
1. Bulls 57-25
The Bulls are by far the best team in the conference as of right now and I don’t see that changing, at least for the regular season. With a superb team chemistry, and great defender like Joakim Noah and now a starter who has won multiple championships, Pau Gasol, I would be surprised if any other team was the one seed.
2. Cavaliers 51-31
What can I say, with a big three of Lebron, Kyrie, and Love, the team is an instant contender for the title. However, their depth could cause an issue for them. Not only is there bench not deep, but, with the exception of Tristan Thompson, rather old and in the regular season with so many games, expect their bench to hold them back.
3. Heat 47-35
Off to an impressive start, the Heat have been led by someone who isn’t name Lebron. The man I’m talking about is Chris Bosh. If he keeps up the numbers he has produced the first 7 games, there is no doubt he will be an MVP candidate. Also, besides Lebron, the Heat were able to keep most of their players and then some. Shabazz still has to adapt, but he looks like a surefire player and Luol Deng should play a pivotal role in Miami’s offense.
4. Raptors 46-36
In a rather weak division, the Raptors are undoubtedly the best team. Led by all star DeMar DeRozen and Kyrie Lowry, the once laughable team is considering themselves one of the best teams in the NBA and with the way they are playing, can you blame them?
5. Wizards 45-37
With an emerging super star in John Wall, the Wizards are a certified playoff team. With help from players like Bradely Beal, Marcin Gortat and Nene, the Wizards have a very well rounded starting lineup that will put them competing for the division title.
6. Hornets 43-39
Only a couple years after the embarrassing season in which they posted the worst winning percentage in NBA history, Charlotte is back in the playoffs. Led by young bloods like MKG, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson this team can possibly make it to the second round. A lot of the credit goes to the coaching of Steve Crawford who I believe is the main reason for this turnaround.
7. Nets 41-41
As much as I HATE the Nets, I can’t deny that they have talented players on their team. Look for Deron Williams to step it up this year and play much better basketball than the first half of last season. Also, if Brook Lopez stays healthy (doubtful), look for the Nets to rise higher because their team starts and ends with their health.
8. Knicks 38-44
Two years ago, this team was a contender to win the east…. now not so much. But there is hope for the Knickerbockers as the now Phil Jackson run team, has Carmelo passing, Amare PLAYING, and the whole team (not just Shumpert) playing defense. Two keys to a good season is currently utilizing the triangle offense and making smart trades. The Knicks made it clear yesterday that they will trade JR Smith, now we just have to wait and see for who or if at all anyone
9. Hawks 38-44
For the first time in 8 seasons, the Hawks will not make the playoffs. The longest playoff streak in the east (7) will make no difference because besides Millsap, Horford and Teague, this team is subpar at best. Those three will have to have career highs if they want to do well.
10. Pistons 34-48
Now here is where the rankings gets hard. The Pistons, Pacers and Celtics are all at around the same level. But the Piston have a great coach with Stan Van Gundy who can help Drummond and Monroe develop, because he has already done that with D12.
11. Pacers 32-50
If Paul George comes back, then the Pacers will make the playoffs but knowing that that is very unlikely (and if he comes back he won’t be the same) the Pacers will suffer. Roy Hibbert, once considered elite, has been plummeting for awhile now and can’t help the Pacers, let alone himself. In addition, David West is hurt who played a key role in the postseason the past two years. The Pacers might take a plunge this year, but look for next year when that changes.
12. Celtics 32-50
With a great chance that Rajon Rondo will not be in a green uniform by the time June rolls around, the Celtics are in a rebuilding stage. But they do have some potential because of players like Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Marcus Smart.
13. Bucks 29-53
Hey, at least they aren’t the worst team anymore. Drafting Jabari Parker was a great decision and will play a prodigious part in their system. Led by Jason Kidd, the Bucks will get better, but no where near the playoffs.
14. Magic 24-58
While the team is terrible (and I mean embarrassingly bad), the team does have some good potential. Victor Oladipo is one of the best players to come out of last years draft and Tobias Harris has been posting up quality stats. Oh, who am I kidding this is going to be a long year for the Magic and their fans
15. 76ers 23-59
Now I present to you, the best team in NBA history at tanking. For the second straight year, they pick a tall guy who will be out for a copious amount of time. I keep saying next year will be better, but the 76ers will probably pick another injury prone big man to stall their rebuilding process from taking off.
Ian Capell @icapell98