NBA Playoff Predictions for the Upcoming Season
Before we get immersed in that Zika virus down in Rio, I wanted to make some early NBA playoff predictions on the teams that will succeed next season in making it to the playoffs.
Some of these aren’t very surprising, but I really think there’s going to be a few surprises at the 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds this year, probably more indicative of what is to come in the future for a few teams that seem to be rising fast.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Boston Celtics
- Toronto Raptors
- Inidanapolis Pacers
- Charlotte Hornets
- Atlanta Hawks
- New York Knicks
- Milwaukee Bucks
No surprise that Cleveland would top the East’s list. I can’t imagine any of these teams coming up and over Cleveland to take it from them. When you have LeBron, you have the advantage. Boston almost got the 3rd seed last year in a weird tie breaker that sent them to the 5th seed. Boston added veteran Al Horford this offseason and pretty much remained the same.
Toronto and Indiana should be no big surprise, either. Toronto kept its stars and the Pacers will be full force with George, Teague and Al Jefferson.
Charlotte looks like they could finally be putting it all together behind superstar, Kemba Walker. There’s a lot of talent on that team and they added a rim protector with Roy Hibbert, although my dad calls him “Baby Hands”. Atlanta lost a few pieces and then gained a few pieces. I’m not a big Dwight Howard fan and if you’d like to know why just Google ‘Atlanta Hawks Roster’ and look at the picture that shows up in the side scroll at the top of the page. I’ll keep Atlanta there because they have talent, I also expect big things from Deandre’ Bembry in the future.
I’m a New York fan and this is the first NBA team that’s hit the floor for the Knicks in a while. They certainly have the talent to win some games this year and I expect them to win at least 50% of their games. And at the 8th seed are the Bucks. I think they could do better, they have a decent roster and at times played well last year, but ultimately they are young — although the addition of Greg Monroe is appealing to me and I might even watch a few games this year.
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Portland Trailblazers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Utah Jazz
I almost put San Antonio over Golden State, but ultimately decided that Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are more alien than they are human. Golden State lost some depth this off season and I don’t expect them to win 73 games again. San Antonio lost veteran leadership in Timmy, but gained leadership by adding Pau Gasol. I think these two teams could be a coin flip for number one, but Popovich has let a lot of guys rest heading towards the playoffs and Golden State is younger and that could be the difference down the stretch.
This should hopefully be the Los Angeles Clippers’ year to head into the playoffs with a full head of steam and no injuries. Maybe this year, star forward Blake Griffin can keep his hands to himself. Portland surprised everyone last year. I thought Terry Stotts should have gotten coach of the year last year, except for that pesky Steve Kerr character just south of him. Portland added a little depth this offseason and I feel like Damian Lillard could be in MVP conversations. Memphis and OKC could go either way, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see OKC even higher than the 5th spot. The West is going to be tight again.
My 7th seed goes to the Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Townes is monster who has massive upside and the team is gathering some good pieces around him. Every year I pick a team to watch besides the Knicks and this season it will be the Timberwolves. Maybe the 7 is too enthusiastic for this next season, but I see this team getting a lot better and having an excellent future.
I’m rounding out the West with Utah. I saw them play a few times last year and they were actually more impressive than not. I think they’ve got some good young talent on that team.
There are 4 teams between the two divisions that I left out. In the East, I left out Detroit. Andre Drummond is an extraterrestrial, but the rest of the team is young and inexperienced. Plus, Reggie Jackson seems to infuriate me at the end of every game. So maybe I just don’t want them in the playoffs so I don’t turn into the Mad Hatter.
I also left out Miami because they dumped their future into Hassan Whiteside and I didn’t agree with it. They also signed Dion Waiters, who is getting paid barley league minimum to miss a bunch of step backs. He signed a two-year deal, so hopefully he can figure things out in Miami quickly.
In the West I left out Dallas and Houston. I left out Dallas because they have an aging Dirk and all the Warriors’ bench players and Houston because I have no idea who is on that team besides “The Beard.” I know I could look it up on Google and I’m right here on my computer, but if I have to look up who your starting 5 is, my guess is that you won’t make the playoffs.
So, go ahead. Tell me how wrong I am. Or maybe you agree. At the very least tell me this made you just a little excited for next NBA season. I’m not much of a betting kind of guy, but nothing here is safe bet that’s for sure.
I’ll take prop bets. Over-under on Dion Waiters’ step back’s next season? Anyone?
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