West (Top 3-4 are interchangeable).
8. UTA , MIN and GSW
East (Other then MIA I think every position is a toss up)
8. MIL , ORL and TOR
The Nets will be improved but not as much as people think...I think the teams to watchout for in the East will be Milwaukee & Washington....
Memphis will be among the top 5 teams in the West,if none of their starters get hurt...The Kings will be the surprise team in the West..I really like the addition of Brooks,Cousins is on the verge of becoming an all star..And Robinson was a disappointment in the Summer League,but i believe as the season grows he's going to get better...I'll like to see them make a deal for a small forward..Or sign Kenyon Martin,they could use his toughness upfront...
detriot,phoniex and minesota would make it in the playoffs
Minesota I can see - but that is still the deeper conference for now.
Pistons no / Suns - hell no!
Warriors just miss, as do Nuggets. Surprise team: Wolves. Disappointing Team: Grizzlies
Surprise team Raptors. Pistons just miss, as do Bucks. Disappointing team: Magic or Hawks
While I think the Knicks will be good IF the said requirements are met, I think 2 is still a bit high. I could possibly seen them slipping into 3rd, but I think 4th is much more likely. But overall the power is definitely shifting in the East, the once powerhouses are starting to fall off, due to age & Dwight.
I think 2 might be a bit high for the Nets too...they will almost definitely be a playoff team but not 2nd, too early still.
I don't really see Grizzlies missing the playoffs...they're still pretty solid, not necessarily contenders but I think they're good for 4-6th place.
Pistons were 21-21 last 42 games after starting off poorly with a new point guard and coach without camp
1. Miami - No brainer
4. Nets (only if they play decent Defence - this team is a wild card - could finish anywhere from 2-6)
5. Chicago - Defence!
6. New York - Still have to figure a lot of stuff out.
7. Toronto - if they make it, 7 is just as likely as 8 so screw it.
8. Philidelphia - 7 and 8 are fairly interchangeable
Outside chance - Atlanta - Are Smith and Horford both still there at the end? If so then I can't argue against a good chance.
Orlando will not have Dwight so forget about it
Bucks - old habits die hard. Will make one last push in final weeks and finish 10th.
As a Pacers fan, I feel disrespected lol ;-)
No, but seriously... I don't think the Pacers had a sexy off-season, but they definitely didn't get worse. Ian Mahinmi, DJ Augustine, Gerald Green, Miles Plumblee and Orlando Johnson aren't too bad. Then they're bringing back all of their key players. Paul George is a season older. David West should be fully healthy from ACL surgery. Even Frank Vogel is growing as a head coach. Brian Shaw not getting a head coaching job and staying with the Pacers as Associate Head Coach is another positive.
1. Heat - Even if Dwyane Wade doesn't start off fast due to off-season knee surgery, the Heat should be okay. Ray Allen will be there to help, giving LeBron James even more space to operate.
2. Celtics - This team is deeper than last season and should be better. Avery Bradley can take his time returning from shoulder surgery since the two guard position now has depth.
3. Pacers - Read above.
4. Knicks - With a focus on defense and the leadership of Jason Kidd at the point, there are no excuses for this team to underachieve. I'm expecting a huge season from Carmelo Anthony.
5. Nets - It'll take time for these guys to get acclimated. Joe Johnson has been a ball dominant guard since he left the Suns... He'll have to adjust. Brook Lopez has to stay healthy.
6. 76ers - I'm not sure they really got better this off-season. They basically switched Lou Williams with Nick Young and Elton Brand with Kwame Brown. I still love this team defensively though.
7. Hawks - Joe Johnson is gone, but don't they still have Josh Smith and a healthy Al Hoford? Plus a gang of role players who can contribute? Jeff Teague will have a breakout season.
8. Bucks - I'm expecting competition between the Bucks and Wizards for the 8th seed. I'm somewhat undecided, but will go with the Bucks for right now.
* Magic situation cloudy depending on Dwight Howard
1. Thunder - Their young core is coming off a NBA Finals appearance and Olympic competition. They get back Eric Maynor. Should be a great regular season with a mentality of Championship or bust.
2. Spurs - I still love this team and coach. I thought they were the best team in basketball last season. I have them over the Lakers because I think they'll be a better road team.
3. Lakers - Steve Nash will help take the load off of Kobe Bryant and a new offense will help. More is less for Bryant this season, but I think it'll take some time for these two to adjust to one another.
4. Grizzlies - They get a full training camp to gain chemistry between Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and Rudy Gay. Both Randolph and Gay are fully healthy this season. Defensively, this team locks you up.
5. Nuggets - I really like this team and the way they're coached. They're built for the regular season with the kind of depth they have.
6. Clippers - I'm just not high on this team. It's still Chris Paul or bust to me and they're still coached by Vinny Del Negro. Blake Griffin rehabbing another knee injury instead of playing in the Olympics hurts his development in my opinion.
7. Utah Jazz - Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter are all a year better. They also had an underrated off-season with Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye. I feel like they addressed some of their weaknesses. Then Al Jefferson is very underrated. This team got better.
8. Mavericks - Dirk Nowitzki is surrounded by a new team. They lost out on Deron Williams and didn't re-sign Jason Kidd (will miss his leadership), but did rebound and pick up Darren Collison, OJ Mayo, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones. I liked the move to bring Delonte West back. Rodrigue Beaubois needs to have a big season.
I totally agree with you about Indiana. Even though I don't see them at the same level as Boston, The C's have tended to finish lower than they should in the regular season the past several years. If this happens I could very well see Indiana in the #2, for nothing more than their consistency and defence.
Pacers are a top 4 team for sure and could go as high as 2. That is why I have them at 3 myself. The 5 from the original post seems way too low.
i'd never say this,but people really underestimate Knicks...I think they will be top 4 on the east,i mean ARE THE NETS SO MUCH BETTER THEN THE KNICKS ??
The nets are completely unproven so we have to see what they do. However this is more about the Knicks themselves. What they have proven is that with their two top paid players on the floor together their Defence is awfull. Offensively, they have not found any rythm that would justify letting the defence go. I can see Chandler and Melo working very well together, but Amare is paid way too much to be a sixth man off the bench. Unless they sort out some of their disfuction, The Nets look like a team more likely to mesh together.
the nets suppose to be better than Knicks?They are worse defensive team imo than the Knicks...D-Will is solid defender,JJ-not really,Lopez-lol..plus they traded stevenson who was their best perimeter defender...Dont jump on Nets bandwagon to soon
Wow, everyone is counting out the Hawks who in my opinion got better...
im curious.. how did the hawks improve? lost joe johnson > gained Lou williams..... Are you that high on their draft and devin harris, morrow, korver, deshawn stevenson pick ups? I am not saying they will not make it, but improve? i dont see it.
Just changed my playoff order because of the Howard trade. Here is my latest playoff order:
Suns just miss as do the Warriors. I think that Shannon Brown is just not good enough to be a starting shooting guard. He's a good backup, but that's his potential, a good backup. He has hit his prime. The fact that the Suns in the chose to start a good bench player will come back to haunt them. The Warriors won't make it because Harrison Barnes is still young and needs to learn, and he is not yet ready for the playoffs, and neither are the Warriors, they are just too young. Surprise team: Wolves, Disappointing team: Grizzlies, Tony Allen is getting old and he also is a good bench player, and the grizzlies deciding to start him will come back to haunt them. If they instead decide to start Wroten at SG, it will still come back to haunt them because he is just too young and not ready to start. Also, losing Mayo was big, Wroten will help a little bit, but he is still learning and is not nearly as good as Mayo is. Because of the fact that they will be the dissapointing team this year, like the Blazers were last year, they will decide to finally trade their best talents, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph for younger talents and future draft picks in order to rebuild.
Wizards and Hawks just miss. Wizards miss because Trevor Ariza is a good bench player but just that, not a good starter and that will hurt them. Also Brad Bead is still young and he is not yet ready for the playoffs. They might make it in 2013-2014 but not this year. Hawks traded away their best player: Joe Johnson and did not get nearly enough back. Anthony Morrow is a good bench player just like Tony Allen, Shannon Brown and Trevor Ariza are, but not a good starter. If they instead decide to start Jenkins, they still won't make it because he is too young and not ready to start yet. He is better, than Wroten but still not ready to start, just too young. Besides who will they start at SF? Deshwan Stevenson, he certainly shouldn't be starting but will pretty much have to because of the team they have. Or will they instead decide to start Pachulia at Center, move Horford to the 4 and J-Smoove to the 3? Even if they decide to do that instead they still won't make it because Pachulia shouldn't be starting and Morrow like I said is a good bench player but not a good starter. If they would have gotten Marshon Brooks then they have been able to make it.
Surprise team: Raptors. I think they're ready this year. Bargnani will finally play PF, his true position. All of those Nowitski comparisons we heard about when he was drafted will start to come to fruition. Valanciunas will be the perfect match with Bargnani and be very similar to Tyson Chandler or Chris Kaman. Fields is the perfect guy for them to play SF or SG. Kyle Lowry is better than Jose Calderon and will help them so much. And Terrance Ross will be a powerful offensive force off the bench, plus they still have other good bench players like Jose Calderon, James Johnson, Linas Klieza, Amir Johnson, and Ed Davis. The fact that this will be their first year in a long time that they make the playoffs (I think the last time they made the playoffs was when VC and T-Mac were still with them, I can't even remember back that far!) will mean that they don't have enough experience (that only comes from the playoffs themselves) to be a higher seed. But regardless like the Nets and the Wolves they still have enough to make the playoffs and surprise some people. Congratulations to the many Toronto fans, all those long years of waiting for them to make the playoffs will finally pay off. They may be a first round exit but at least they will make it to the playoffs.
Disappointing team: Bucks, Jennings doesn't want to be there. Even if he does play the best he can because he is up for an extension next year, he still won't be able to overcome their small frontcourt. Udoh is only 6'10 and should not in his wildest dreams be a starter. Certainly, Joel Pryzbilla won't be starting. Illyasova, who I'm surprised chose to stay there, shouldn't be starting either. Tobias Harris is just too young and not ready to start yet. They might decide to start Dunleavy instead, but he too like Illyasova, is a good bench player but not a good starter. Try as they might, Jennings and Ellis cannot over come all that. So all those people that think they might finish 9th or 10th because of their good defense, will be proved wrong. They will need some offense. Jennings, Ellis and somewhat Illyasova are not enough to supply enough offense to compete with the rest of the East. The East is starting to get pretty good, just like the West has been for quite awhile.
I actually think that the West and East are pretty even in terms of talent. The Heat's big 3 and Bynum joining the Sixers has certainly helped that cause. Are they even, we'll see come the Allstar game and the Finals.