Here are my official Playoff predictions for the Eastern conference:
1. Chicago Bulls
Sorry, the Bulls are grinders with the best coach in the conference, they are going to get the top seed again this year. (Full disclosure I’m a Bulls fan, but this isn’t being a homer– when healthy, grinding for the top seed is what Thibs and the Bulls do).
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
In addition to the Bulls take no prisoners leave no game behind effort, the Cavs will actually be better off not trying for the top seed– they need to not overuse Lebron chasing playoff seeding when they can coast and end up here and healthier.
3. Washington Wizards
I literally just posted about them, so I will let that article speak for itself– best roster in the East that doesn’t have a former MVP on it.
4. Atlanta Hawks
Healthy Horford plus good coaching and a 3 point assault= the Hawk in the 4-5 series on NBA TV. A playoff tradition.
5. Charlotte Hornets
Like last year but with a hopefully healthy Big Al in the playoffs, plus more Lance.
6. Toronto Rapters
Virtually the same roster, for virtually the same result.
7. New York Knicks
I see Phil turning this around and Carmelo sneaking into the playoffs.
8. Brooklyn Nets
I think a few teams have improved, while the Nets have gotten a year older– but the rest of the teams below them aren’t necessarily trying to make the 8th seed, whereas the Nets don’t have the rights to their own picks until . . . ever? Yeah, pretty sure its ever, right? They have all the incentive in the world to get an 8 seed, whereas the Pistons or Bucks might see it in reach and just back off.
Lottery: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers
For the record– I not only think the Heat won’t make the playoffs, I expect them to be closer to the #1 overall draft pick than the #1 overall seed.
For the playoffs–
1-8: Bulls bump the aging Nets Easily
2-7: Cavs eliminate the Knicks despite three 50 point games from Carmelo
3-6: Wizards handle the Raptors.
4-5: No one watches this series on NBA TV, and the Hornets pull the “upset”
1-5: Bulls put the Hornets back in their place
2-3 Lebron shows that despite Washington having the better backcourt, the Cavs have the better team.
Bulls get by the Cavs in 7– sorry Lebron, 5 straight trips to the Finals is unheard of and the rest of the roster has basically zero playoff games attempted, much less run.
Next up, the Western conference!