The Eastern Conference will be weak this year due to the fact that most of the talent in the conference moved over to the West. Here are my early picks for this year’s Eastern Conference playoffs:
1 Seed – Cleveland Cavaliers:
Lebron James is a one man super team along with their plethora of good role players and great three point shooters such as J.R Smith and Kyle Korver. Also, with former All-Star Kevin Love, they have a great core of guys to lead them to their fourth straight finals appearance.
2 Seed – Washington Wizards:
John Wall emerged as a top point guard in the NBA last season. If Bradley Beal can stay healthy the entire year this Wizards team is a force to be reckoned with and could give King James a real challenge.
3 Seed – Boston Celtics:
The Celtics were the top seed last year but with the loss of Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson they are going to lose a lot of their post scoring and rebounding. Even with the addition of All-Star Gordon Hayward, I think this team will drop in the standings this year.
4 Seed – Miami Heat:
After a not so impressive first half of the season the Heat were the hottest team after the break. With the sudden revamp of Goran Dragic’s game and the outbreak season from Waiters the Heat are a solid team in this weak Eastern Conference.
5 Seed – Milwaukee Bucks:
Antetokounmpo has the potential to be the best player in the league. He is an athletic freak standing at 6’11 while averaging 22.9 PPG, 5.4 APG, and 8.8 RPG. He can lead this Bucks team to a five seed or higher depending on the health of Parker and how Brogdon and Maker have developed this off-season.
6 Seed – Toronto Raptors:
Two years ago the Raptors were in the conversation to take down the King of Akron and claim the Throne of the East. But it seems that their team health, three point shooting, and lack of defense limited this team to barely making it out of the first round against the Bucks last season. If Lowry and DeRozan can stay healthy and the Raptors can address their lack of defense they may be higher than a six seed.
7 Seed – Philadelphia 76ers:
The Sixers haven’t made a playoff run since the 2011-2012 season. They have a young arsenal of players such as Fultz, Embiid, Simmons, and Okafor alongside veteran scoring outlets like Redick and Johnson. This team can make a run at the playoffs. They won’t make a deep playoff run because of the youth on this team but they will move up the board in the coming years.
8 Seed – Charlotte Hornets:
The Hornets have a solid group around All-Star Kemba Walker and former All-Star Dwight Howard. They have a good enough core of young players in Bacon, Monk, and Kaminsky to make a run at the eight seed.