15 Atlanta Hawks: (16–66) To me, the Hawks are clearly going to be the worst team in the NBA this season. Trae Young is the only player to watch from the team this year.
14 Brooklyn Nets: (25–57) The Nets have developed some nice talent in D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Caris LeVert; but they still have zero star power.
13 Charlotte Hornets: (26–56) Outside of Kemba Walker, there’s nothing really going on with the Hornets. They have a lot of overpaid veterans and not enough young talent. It’s the worst spot for a franchise to be in and Kemba’s days could be numbered.
12 Cleveland Cavaliers: (29–53) The Cavs are without LeBron James once again and they are going to be bad once again. They are in a better spot than the last time he left with Kevin Love and Colin Sexton in the fold. But they are still not going to make the playoffs.
11 New York Knicks: (31–51) With Kristaps Porzingis being out until late December, it’s going to be another long year for the Knicks. They have a few bright spots in Kevin Knox and Enes Kanter, but this team lives and dies with “The Unicorn”.
10 Orlando Magic: (32–50) The Magic are not a well-balanced team as they have a lot of players in the front-court and not enough in the back-court. Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic are good players but not franchise changers. Hopefully, Aaron Gordon and Mo Bamba can turn into that.
9 Chicago Bulls: (37–45) The Chicago Bulls have quietly formed one of the best young cores in basketball. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen all return while Jabari Parker and Wendell Carter Jr. are new additions. In a weak East, the Bulls could sneak into the 8th spot and make the playoffs.
8 Detroit Pistons: (41–41) The Pistons are one of the hardest teams to predict. If you are an optimist, then the Pistons have an excellent new coach in Dwane Casey and Blake Griffin will be playing his first full season with the team. If you’re the pessimist, then you look at the lack of depth and wonder if Griffin and Andre Drummond can operate together. I’m a positive person so I say they get in.
7 Miami Heat: (42–40) In what will be Dwyane Wade’s final season, the Heat will make the playoffs once again. With no real moves done in the off-season, they are hoping players like Josh Richardson and Justice Winslow continue to develop. Most importantly, Hassan Whiteside needs to have a bounce-back season.
6 Washington Wizards: (48–34) The Wizards should be a top 3 team in the East with their amount of talent led by John Wall and Bradley Beal. But this team has MAJOR locker room issues and they just brought in Dwight Howard. Washington would be great in 2K19 but not in real life.
5 Milwaukee Bucks: (50–32) Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in the East and he may win the damn MVP. The Bucks also quietly a great off-season by bringing in new coach Mike Budenholzer as well as veterans Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova. Milwaukee will be a tough out this year.
4 Indiana Pacers: (52–30) Indiana was one of the surprise teams last season and they are going to be good again this year. Victor Oladipo is coming off an All-Star year and Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner are terrific young players. Tyreke Evans will be a 6th Man of the Year candidate as the Pacers aim to get to the East Finals.
3 Philadelphia 76ers: (56–26) They said to trust the process and the process is finally paying off. The 76ers are absolutely loaded with young talent led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. They also some solid veterans in JJ Redick and now Wilson Chandler. But for the 76ers to leap-frog the Raptors and Celtics; it all comes down to weather Markelle Fultz lives up to the number one pick or if he’s a bust.
2 Toronto Raptors: (58–24) The Raptors took a HUGE gamble this year by trading for Kawhi Leonard. Best case situation is that Kawhi returns to MVP form, the Raptors finally break through in the playoffs, advance to the NBA Finals, and Kawhi resigns. While I think the Raptors are better and Kawhi will return to form, they still aren’t better than the number one team.
1 Boston Celtics: (63–19) Call me a homer if you want but the Celtics are clearly the best team in the East and favorite to get to the NBA Finals. Not only are they the deepest team in the NBA, but they may have the best starting 5 in basketball. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are rising superstars while Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward return from injury. The East is the Celtics’ to lose this year and for many years to come.
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Steve Santoro (SVS_1993)