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NBA Standings Prediction: Eastern Conference

The NBA season is in its opening week. Here are my predictions for the eastern conference standings. Let’s see if we agree.

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Eastern Conference Playoff Locks

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. New York Knicks
  6. Miami Heat

There are two teams who were in the top six last season who I have falling down the standings. The Brooklyn Nets were the six seed in the playoffs last year but a lot of their wins came with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the roster. It’s predictable that they will not be a top six team in the conference this season.

The other team that I have falling out of the top six is the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers are a top six team according to their talent but the chemistry may really be off this year. James Harden does not want to be there. He has asked to be traded and 76ers general manager Daryl Morey has said he will not trade him for less value than he believes Harden is worth. This will drag on for a long period of time causing the 76ers to play below expectations, in my opinion.

Eastern Conference Play-In Teams

7. Philadelphia 76ers

8. Orlando Magic

9. Indiana Pacers

10. Brooklyn Nets

I have two teams in my play-in predictions who did not play in the play-in tournament last year. The Orlando Magic have a young team that is ready to take the next step. I can see Paolo Banchero taking a jump up in his second year from 20 points a game to 25. Franz Wagner may go from 18 points to 22 a game. The increase in production from their two best players should cause an increase in wins.

The Indiana Pacers made some great roster moves in the off-season. The additions of Bruce Brown and Obi Toppin will bring this team to the next level. I have Myles Turner winning the defensive player of the year award. Tyrese Haliburton was an all-star last season and may take the jump into an All-NBA level player.

Non-Playoff Teams

11. Chicago Bulls

12. Washington Wizards

13. Toronto Raptors

14. Detroit Pistons

15. Charlotte Hornets

The Chicago Bulls are the most stagnant franchise in the NBA. This year is where the Bulls will have to make some moves. I would not be shocked if Zach Lavine and DeMar DeRozen are on the trade block at some point during the season.

I have similar feelings about the Toronto Raptors. Toronto has a rookie head coach and no longer has Fred VanVleet. VanVleet is now with the Houston Rockets.  This is the year where the Raptors will have to make some moves. I would not be shocked if Pascal Siakam and/or OG Anunoby are on the trade block during the season.

Do you agree with my prediction for the eastern conference standings?

NBA Standings Prediction: Western Conference

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