My Predictions for 5th-1st in Eastern Conference Standings at the End of the Season

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Chicago Bulls
  4. Toronto Raptors
  5. Washington Wizards
  6. Milwaukee Bucks
  7. Boston Celtics
  8. Brooklyn Nets
  9. Indiana Pacers
  10. Miami Heat
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Detroit Pistons
  13. Orlando Magic
  14. Philadelphia 76ers
  15. New York Knicks

Those were the final standings last season for the Eastern Conference. I predicted what teams I thought would finish 15-6 and now it is time to predict what teams will finish 5th seed to 1st seed so let’s get started.

#5 Washington Wizards (#5 last year): The Washington Wizards are going to have to rely on improvement from the young players to get better as they did not improve through free agency. They added forwards Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson, but lost veteran forward, who carried them through the playoffs, Paul Pierce. Nene and Marcin Gortat are obviously not going to be the ones to improve. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are who the Washington Wizards are going to have break out the most this season to help John Wall. Bradley Beal is dangerous, but I know he can do more with his game and I’d like to see him unlock his potential. Porter, Anderson, and Dudley are going to have to make up for Paul Pierce’s departure. Pierce was arguably one of their best players in the post season without a doubt, hitting big shots to keep Washington alive in games. This season will not be the season that the Washington Wizards get over the hump. This offseason they might hit it big though…

#4 Toronto Raptors (#4 last season): The Toronto Raptors had a very good season last season. They finished with a record of 49-33, which gave them the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. Everything changed for them and they were swept by the Washington Wizards, 4-0. I still like Toronto’s chances. Kyle Lowry lost a bunch of weight this season which will make him faster on the court. Also, having Kyle Lowry on the team improves their chances of being a good team too. All the core guys are in place. Lowry (averaged 17.8ppg, 6.8rpg, 4.7apg, and 1.6spg), DeRozan (20.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.5apg, and 1.2spg), and Valanciunas (averaged 12.0ppg, 8.7rpg, and 1.2bpg). Their biggest loss was the lost of Amir Johnson but they signed Luis Scola and Bismack Biyombo for the power forward and center spots. Their biggest signing though was the lone non All-Star for the Atlanta Hawks last season, DeMarre Carroll. His stats do not jump out at you on the page but his defense was key in the Atlanta Hawks starting lineup and his departure will be felt for Atlanta. Carroll will help this team tremendously and pose a scary perimeter defense with DeRozan and Carroll out on the court together. This should be another great season for the North and there should not be an early exit either.

#3 Atlanta Hawks (#1 last season): The Hawks dominated their way to 60-22 and had 4 All-Star’s in the All-Star Game. DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap were both Hawks’ free agents and they could only choose one. They chose Paul Millsap. No matter who they chose, the departure of the other guy was going to be felt. They felt Millsap was the more important player to this team and they were probably right. That does not mean that it makes losing Carroll any easier. He was scoring almost 13 points per game, knocking down 3’s and guarding the opposing team’s best player. Sure he is 29, but he is a coveted 3-and-D player. Thabo Sefalosha can be a poor man’s version of Carroll but will not duplicate his value to the team. Bazemore is a good defender, but I would not wanting him shooting that many 3’s out there. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a very good 3 point shooter but he is more of a shooting guard than a small forward anyway. Also, his defense is no where near Carroll’s defense. The Hawks still will have a good season because they have guys like Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Dennis Schroder, but I just think they will not have a duplicate season like last season.

#2 Chicago Bulls (#3 last season): The Bulls, like the Wizards, have to rely on improvement from inside as they did not sign anyone this offseason. They fired Tom Thibodeau and hired Fred Hoiberg. They drafted Bobby Portis as well. Rose got hurt in the 1st day of practice but it was anything that was going to make him miss awhile. There’s alot of question marks for this team. Most of them have to do with health. Will Rose stay healthy? Gasol is 35, how will he hold up? How will Noah, Taj, and Dunleavy play after all of them had surgery. The Bulls always have tons of question marks but always finish towards the top. They will again this season. Especially with the emergence of Jimmy Butler being one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. I believe Hoiberg will rest his guys, which he should, unlike Thibodeau. The Bulls are still the biggest threats to the Cleveland Cavaliers and I would love to believe this is their year. It may take an adjustment period to get new to the new plays and schemes Hoiberg is implementing, but I expect this team to compete and perform as they do every season.

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers (#2 last season): LeBron James is still the best player in the world. Another season of these guys together is only going to help this team tremendously. There’s alot going on with the Tristan Thompson situation but this team is still really talented. They got deeper with the signing of former Cav who played with James in his first tenure, Mo Williams. He will presumbalby be the starter until Kyrie Irving returns from injury. Anderson Varejao, who missed all of last season, is returning from injury and provides depth with him and Timofey Mozgov on the roster. Kevin Love, who missed all of the playoffs, is returning to action. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith are still on the roster. This team is even more talented with all the players returning from injury and should finish #1 this season.


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