Way Too Early Predictions of the NBA Playoff Bracket (Eastern Conference)
After looking at the top offseason additions for the Eastern Conference, we decided to countdown to the start of the NBA season (5 DAYS!!!) with some early predictions for the NBA playoff bracket, starting with the Eastern Conference….
Last Season: 15th
This Season: 15th
The Hawks may have taken a step in the right direction this offseason, but don’t expect to see that translate to their ‘W’ column this year.
Although Young is a potential star in the making, it would be a while before he starts impacting win rates for them. They will continue rebuilding for a few years for now…
Last Season: 2nd
This Season: 2nd
Despite losing Hayward to that horrific injury early in the season and Irving subsequently in the playoffs, the Celtics pulled off a deep run in the NBA Playoffs and were 1 win away from making the NBA Finals.
A full season with Hayward and a healthy Irving should do wonders for this young team.
They should be neck and neck with the Raptors for that top spot this season and it would be a match-up to watch in the Eastern Conference
Last Season: 12th
This Season: 13th
After years of misery without a draft pick, the Nets finally have a chance to build something on their own.
Don’t get me wrong, the management has done a phenomenal job undoing the mistakes from their past.
However, the current pool of talent is far too insufficient to compete, even in the weak East. It should be another tough season to watch in Brooklyn once again.
Last Season: 10th
This Season: 12th
Having the Greatest of All Time doesn’t mean anything if he is too old to play.
That’s the dilemma facing the Hornets with MJ as their owner.
With minimal additions to an already weak squad, the Hornets did themselves no favour this offseason.
Walker remains one of the wasted talents in the NBA, with All-Star potential but on a bad team.
Perhaps Michael should lace them up again…
Last Season: 13th
This Season: 10th
The team that had MJ in his glory days. Ever since the golden era, the Bulls crashed hard and never won an Eastern Conference finals ever since his retirement the 2nd time.
Having a full season of Lavine should help matters, but there’s a logjam in the front court that needs to be sorted out by the All Star break.
If they pull off a trade revolving around clearing the crowd in their bigs, they could see their standing rise.
However, playoff dreams are probably still too early at this point.
Last Season: 4th
This Season: 11th
How far they have fallen. Losing Lebron sucks, but the Cavaliers have a decent core to build upon this time around.
With young players and a trade piece in Love, the Cavaliers could set themselves up for the next decade.
Until then, they can hold the L for losing the greatest player of this generation and in their games.
Last Season: 9th
This Season: 8th
A consistent fringe playoff team, the Pistons may finally make the playoffs this year.
The front court of Griffin and Drummond should sustain a run for the playoffs this year, but I wouldn’t be expecting too much from that run.
Their depth would be the key to making the playoffs this year, which is good and kind of sad in a way.
Last Season: 5th
This Season: 5th
Last season’s surprise team should not surprise anyone this season. They are for real.
Oladipo has established himself as one of the top two-guard in the league as he carried the Pacers on his back into the playoffs.
Although it yielded minimal results, they should be in better position this season.
Evans was a terrific veteran signing, and his contributions could push their spot higher.
Last Season: 6th
This Season: 7th
Wade’s ‘Last Dance’ deserves a playoff appearance and the Heat should be able to pull it off one last time for The Flash and Father Prime.
Coming off the bench to provide a spark for the whole of last season, we should be expecting the same Wade this season as he digs deep into his bag of tricks to provide a season to remember.
But no, I wouldn’t put money on them winning anything major.
Last Season: 7th
This Season: 4th
Last season’s disappointment should see the Lebron-less East as an opportunity to prove their worth as a talented young core.
With the 4th best lineup in the East, the Bucks should aim for a top 4 finish and a deep playoff run this time around.
Expect a bounce back season for Brogdon and a huge spike in improvement for Maker, and the Bucks should have themselves a much better season compared to their last.
New York Knicks
Last Season: 11th
This Season: 9th
The Knicks… A team people love to hate.
Porzingis’ absence last season was dearly missed, and his return should spark something in this often lifeless team.
A solid starting line-up and a budding young player to watch in Knox, the Knicks could surprise people this season and could even go as far as to making the playoffs. (However, only in the Eastern Conference.)
Their ceiling will depend on the development of Ntilikina as a young point guard, who has the physical attributes and high potential.
Last Season: 14th
This Season: 14h
A subpar last season + a subpar offseason = a subpar season
Unless Bamba becomes Olajuwon, the Magic has had a few disappointing seasons to show for.
With bad signings and bad line-ups over the years, it seems like they have no idea what they are doing.
The first positive sign was finally letting Gordon hold the 4 position for good, but they wasted 2 years playing with the idea of Gordon at the perimeter.
It’s going to take a while before the Magic produces any magic.
Last Season: 3rd
This Season: 3rd
It’s still too early to call Fultz a bust, but his performance has been underwhelming compared to his peers at Philadelphia.
But because of these peers in Saric, Simmons and Embiid, the 76ers are in the position to be dominant in the Eastern Conference for a while.
Fultz will have time to develop and gel with this squad while they continue to grow and take aim at the top spot.
Simmons should have a much better sophomore year with 1 year under his belt, and that should propel the 76ers this season.
Last Season: 1st
This Season: 1st
Before the Leonard trade, the Raptors were seemingly losing its grasp in the Eastern Conference with the rise of the 76ers and Celtics.
However, the addition of Leonard changes the make-up of this team, even at the cost of their franchise player.
Leonard is capable of changing the tempo on both ends of the floor and add that to a strong defensive starting line-up, they are in a position to stay atop the Eastern Conference again this year.
It should also change their fortunes in the playoffs as well as his ability to close games should become the missing piece of the Raptors puzzle.
Last Season: 8th
This Season: 6th
While adding Howard isn’t what we call an improvement these days, it felt criminal to place a backcourt of Wall and Beal too low on this list.
Oubre Jr. is coming into his own with this backcourt, Porter and Morris, which should improve their previous year’s placing.
But we won’t be too surprised if they fall out of the playoff race completely because of the Howard effect.