Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers obviously have the best player in the world, LeBron James. He’s been to the Finals in six consecutive years with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers recently traded away Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, who are ready to contribute this season. The Cavaliers also signed Jeff Green and Derrick Rose this off-season. The Cavaliers have an array of talent on both ends of the court especially the defensive end with Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, and LeBron James.
2. Boston Celtics
The Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving from the Cavaliers but also traded away two top defensive players in the off-season in Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. The Celtics were also able to sign Gordon Hayward and drafted Jayson Tatum. The Celtics will have no problem making the playoffs with their new lineup but will still have trouble overcoming the Cavaliers. They’ll need to step up defensively and be able to rebound the ball to push up the floor.
3. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards have two impressive guards with John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards were also able to re-sign Otto Porter Jr. in the off-season. Washington had an impressive run playing at home last season and I expect some of the same in the upcoming season.
4. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have a star in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is still only 22 years old and continues to get better each season. Malcolm Brogdon had an impressive rookie campaign and I expect a lot of the same this season. If Khris Middleton can stay healthy the Bucks will have a great chance to be a top team in the East. The Bucks have a lot of length and size on the defensive end to disrupt passing lanes.
5. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have their one-two punch returning, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Norman Powell proved that he can contribute at a high level last season. The Raptors also drafted OG Anunoby, who I think will be able to contribute in his upcoming rookie campaign. The Raptors will have no problem making a push in the playoffs in this weak Eastern Conference.
6. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have their core returning, Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets were also able to add Dwight Howard who, when he isn’t complaining about touches, can be a formidable big man. The Hornets got lucky in the draft with Malik Monk dropping to them at the 11th pick.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers have a young talented group of players for this 2017-18 playoff push. The 76ers drafted Markelle Fultz with the number one overall pick. Ben Simmons has yet to play in the NBA after suffering a season ending injury last season. The 76ers still have Twitter sensation Joel Embiid, who has improved his range on the floor. Philadelphia also made a splash in free-agency by signing J.J. Redick. The players are there to make the push into the playoffs for the first time in awhile.
8. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons lost Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency but they were able to acquire Avery Bradley from the Celtics. The Pistons also drafted Luke Kennard with the 12th pick in the draft. Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris will need to step up this season but Detroit won’t have any problems making the playoffs in this Eastern Conference.