Alright, guys and gals; we have finally moved on from ranking the top 100 players in the NBA. Now that is out of the way, we will now move on to previewing the conferences. Today we start with the East. I’ll be ranking them worst to best with their projected record. Let’s get into it guys.
15 Atlanta Hawks: The only thing the Hawks have to look forward to this year is Dennis Schroder, and he just got arrested (20—62).
14 Chicago Bulls: They traded Jimmy Butler for a player with a torn ACL (Zach LaVine) and cut Dwyane Wade. It’s going to be a long year in the Windy city (23—59).
13 Brooklyn Nets: There’s nowhere to go but up for the Nets. They quietly made some nice addictions with D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, and DeMarre Carroll but are still not close to competing (25—57).
12 New York Knicks: After trading Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are in full rebuild mode and that begins with Kristaps Porzingis. He’ll have room to grow this year as the offense is finally centered on him (26—56).
11 Indiana Pacers: After moving on from Paul George, the Pacers are another team that is starting a rebuild. They do have some pieces in Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner but not much else other than that (30—52).
10 Orlando Magic: The Magic have a few nice players but it feels they have been stuck in natural for the past few years. Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Elfrid Payton are all solid players; but it feels like they are still a year away (33—49).
9 Philadelphia 76ers: It appears that “The Process” is finally going to start this year. Not only do Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons make their debut this year; but Joel Embiid is finally expected to play a full season in the NBA. After adding veterans JJ Redick and Amir Johnson, Phily will be in the hunt for the postseason (36—46).
8 Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets will be the newest team to try and revive Dwight Howard’s career. Considering they got him for dirt cheap and he has nowhere to go but up. With Kemba Walker coming off a career year and a solid core overall, Charlotte should make the playoffs (42—40).
7 Miami Heat: Miami was one of the best teams in the NBA after the All-Star break but just came up short when it came to making the playoffs. With most of the young core returning and Justice Winslow returning from injury, the Heat could be a sleeper team in the East (43—39).
6 Detroit Pistons: The Pistons may not have a true superstar but they do have one of the most complete starting 5s in the East. New addition Avery Bradley will add much needed to toughness to the team. Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond will continue to be good offensive players on this well balanced team (44—38).
5 Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks have one of the most versatile teams in all of basketball. They have multiple players who can play multiple positions and of course that starts with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Entering his 5th year in the league, The Greek Freak will be an MVP candidate this year. Once Milwaukee get Jabari Parker back too, they’ll be a dangerous team in the East (50—32).
4 Washington Wizards: Coming one win away from advancing to the East Finals, expectations are in Washington this year. While most of the team is returning (led by John Wall and Bradley Beal), the Wizards barley made any moves this offseason. Because of that, I don’t see how they leapfrog the next 3 teams (50—32).
3 Toronto Raptors: The Wizards and the Raptors had a very similar offseason. They resigned their players but didn’t add anyone major to the core. In this case, the Raptors resigned Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. With Ibaka now in Toronto for a full year, they will improve a bit from last year (52—30).
2 Boston Celtics: Despite finishing with the best record in the East last year, the Celtics had a major overall this summer. Out go Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder and in comes Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. While the Celtics definitely upgraded in talent and youth; they lost chemistry and experience. Because of that, I can’t put them number one yet. But their damn close (55—27).
1 Cleveland Cavaliers: They’ve been to 3 straight Finals and they’re still the best team in the East. The Cavs did move on from Kyrie Irving, but were able to pick up Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder in the process. With the two of them and the recent signing of Dwyane Wade, this is the deepest team LeBron James has ever been on. If Thomas can come back fully healthy, the Cavs will remain number one (57—25).
Written By: Steven Santoro (SVS_1993)