At the beginning of the season I made predictions of where I thought the NBA teams would end up. I thought it would be fun to compare those predictions to where the NBA teams actually rank since the All-Star Break is upon us. This article will focus solely on the Eastern Conference with the Western Conference coming up shortly.
Philadelphia 76ers (Actual Ranking = #15; My Prediction = #15): I cannot say I am surprised I got this one correct so far. It is the 76ers we are talking about. Although, they have shown they can compete in quite a few games so far this season so maybe hope is not lost completely.
Brooklyn Nets (Actual Ranking = #14; My Prediction = #10): This prediction is a little bit off from the actual ranking. I knew the Nets were not going to be the greatest of teams but obviously I did not predict that they would be this atrocious. Too bad all of their draft picks are gone and they cannot improve through the draft as the Oklahoma City Thunder have done.
Milwaukee Bucks (Actual Ranking = #13; My Prediction = #6): I am way off on this one. I was fooled as many of the professional writers were. The Bucks surprised last season, made improvements (or so we thought), like signing Greg Monroe. That was suppose to put them over their achievements from last season. They fell off dramatically.
New York Knicks (Actual Ranking = #12; My Prediction = #14): I had faith in the Knicks coming into the season. I liked the underrated moves that they made and I knew they were going to be an improving team. I just thought that they did not improve enough to beat out some of the other teams, but I was wrong. They beat my projection so far by two.
Orlando Magic (Actual Ranking = #11; My Prediction = #13): Yet another team that beat my projection by two. Just like the Knicks, I knew this team was an up-and-coming team with all of their young stars. They just did better than what I projected.
Washington Wizards (Actual Ranking = #10; My Prediction = #5): This is another bad one and I am not happy about it. Whoops. Injuries have derailed their season a lot. John Wall has straight up dominated the season so far for the Wizards, but has got help from pretty much no one. That is what is killing them and that is why they dropped from #5 in the East last year to #10 this year.
Detroit Pistons (Actual Ranking = #9; My Prediction = #11): Seriously? That is three teams that have beat my predictions by two. Are you trying to make me look bad!?!? Kidding of course. Pistons have exceeded my expectations obviously as Andre Drummond dominated the first half of the season grabbing what seemed like every single rebound possible. Reggie Jackson has shown that he can start in the league. Caldwell-Pope is performing. This team is a good one.
Charlotte Hornets (Actual Ranking = #8; My Prediction = #12): Kemba Walker has been having a tremendous season and he is THE biggest reason why they are sitting at #8. Trading for Nicolas Batum was smart as Kidd-Gilchrist has missed most of the season due to an injury that he eventually returned from. Unfortunately for him, he injured himself again a few games later. What bad luck.
Chicago Bulls (Actual Ranking = #7; My Prediction #2): The injury gods were not kind to the Chicago Bulls just like every other single. I do not think there is a single person on that team that is not hurt or battling ailments. Butler is out, Mirotic is out, Taj (who has played in every single game) succumbed to the injury bug, Rose has missed some games, Pau has missed few but been hurt for many, Noah is out (etc.). At one point they were #2 in the conference but then the injuries hit…
Indiana Pacers (Actual Ranking = #6; My Prediction #8): Sick game this is. Another team that beat my predictions by two. Seriously though, I watched a lot of NBA TV during the offseason and a lot of people did not believe that the Pacers were going to be in the playoffs. I did. They were predicted to be right outside the playoffs, looking from the outside in. So far, they are in the playoffs. Paul George is playing like the All-Star he is.
Miami Heat (Actual Ranking = #5; My Prediction = #7): Another one. I had to look at my paper because this is messing with me (the teams beating my projection by two) and it is not over yet. The Miami Heat are second in opponents field goal percentage, behind only the San Antonio Spurs. Great accomplishment! Their problem though, is scoring. They score 96.0 points a game and let up 96.3 putting their differential at -0.3. They play good defense but cannot put points on the board.
Atlanta Hawks (Actual Ranking = #4; My Prediction = #3): I knew the Atlanta Hawks will still be high up in the Eastern Conference but I did not think they would again be #1. They had a magical run last season but I did not see it happening again and it is not. Hawks are #4 in the Eastern Conference but rumors of trades are floating around for their big names like Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Al Horford. Who knows what will happen.
Boston Celtics (Actual Ranking = #3; My Prediction = #9): Thought of as a rebuilding team last season, they surprised the league on their way to a 7th seed in the playoffs. They put up a pretty good fight against the Cavaliers but were swept. I predicted them being around where they were last season. Boy was I wrong. This team is a huge surprise to me.
Toronto Raptors (Actual Ranking = #2; My Prediction = #4): Lowry and DeRozan are leading this team and it is fun to watch. DeRozan is really coming into it this season. The Raptors are really starting to dominate the East on their way to becoming second only three wins behind first.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Actual Ranking = #1; My Prediction = #1): Just like how I was not surprised I got the 76ers right, I am not surprised I got the Cavaliers right. As long as LeBron is on the team, the Cavaliers will be one of the top teams in the East. Having Kyrie and Kevin back healthy helps too. Their is always room for improvement though. Especially when a championship is what you are chasing.