NBA Eastern Conference
Photo Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference

NBA Season Restart Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference


With the NBA season set to resume next month on July 31st, players and teams had ample time to recover and prepare for the playoffs. The remaining eight games of the season will determine seeding for each conference, so let’s take a look at how the Eastern Conference could possibly look come playoff time.




1. Milwaukee Bucks (53-12)

The Milwaukee Bucks sit at the top of the Eastern Conference and have the NBA’s best record in the league. Giannis’ impact on the East will rival that of Lebron James. Jon Horst and the Bucks organization did a great job these past few offseasons collecting solid, productive role players that fit the team’s style. This team is built for a championship now, and if Giannis can find a way to translate his regular-season production into the playoffs, the Bucks will be the team hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy this year.


2. Boston Celtics (43-21)


Photo Credit: Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Kyrie Irving made the Celtics a better team by leaving them during free agency last summer. The Celtics did a good job of replacing him with Kemba Walker but also did a fabulous job crafting a contending team with what was left over after last offseason. The development of Jayson Tatum has been fascinating to witness, and it’s exactly what the team needed him to do this season.

Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown have both developed tremendously well and have established themselves as efficient role players on this team. Gordon Hayward also got his feet wet after sitting out last season because of a broken leg. If Hayward can provide the Celtics with something similar to his days in Utah, the Celtics could be the biggest threat to Milwaukee and maybe to the entire playoff bracket.



3. Miami Heat (41-21)

Miami isn’t only the home of the best alternate jerseys in NBA history (the Vice jerseys), but it’s also home to the dark horse of the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat sign-and-traded Josh Richardson for Jimmy Butler, giving them the next face of their franchise after the retirement of Dwayne Wade. The Heat also drafted a promising young guard by the name of Tyler Herro.

Along with a solid roster, including players like former NBA Finals MVP Andre Igoudala, Bam Adebayo, and Kendrick Nunn in the lineup, the Heat has a better chance of making a splash in the playoffs than any other team in the league. The Heat are heavily slept on, and when the playoffs come, the Heat will be one of those teams that sends someone home early.


4. Toronto Raptors (46-18)

If someone were to look back at this season without knowing anything about it and see the Raptors sitting in at the #4 seed, they wouldn’t be too surprised. They did just win a championship last season, so to see them back in the playoffs wouldn’t be a big surprise. But when you realize they lost arguably the best player in the league in Kawhi Leonard, the man who put the team on his back and led the charge to Toronto’s first NBA title, then you realize how special this team is.

In reality, the Raptors showed all of their doubters that their heart and championship drive didn’t leave with Kawhi to LA. Pascal Siakam will be the 2020 MIP easily, and the Raptors have a chance to make history once again. Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka are on their way out, but are still productive and have multiple years of playoff experience needed. Fred VanVleet earned himself a payday soon, and he isn’t looking to slow down now. Although the Raptors aren’t favorites to win a title, they are still dangerous and should not be looked at as an easy out.


5. Indiana Pacers (39-26)

After losing Paul George a few seasons ago, people thought the Pacers were done for, but a championship in the near future wouldn’t surprise me. Victor Oladipo returned from injury this season and is looking to get back on the rise. He has an All-Star teammate in Domantas Sabonis, a top ten NBA center in Myles Turner, a quality point guard in Malcolm Brogdon, and a solid supporting cast. The Pacers’ future is bright and promising, but there are still things they need to work on in order for them to be true contenders.


6. Philadelphia 76ers (39-26)

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

The Sixers are the biggest disappointment in the NBA right now. They have one of the best, if not the best starting lineup in the NBA today, but for some reason cannot translate their capabilities into wins. After getting paid over Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris showed the league his true colors; he is the type of player who can give 20 points when you need him to give ten, but will only give 20 points when you need 30 out of him.

The Sixers made a mistake by overpaying him, and if he can’t play as big as his contract is, they should discuss trading him for assets. Furthermore, the Sixers need to choose who they want to build around. Ben Simmons can’t shoot and doesn’t even try to shoot, so until he develops the brainpower to actually perform a jump shot in a game, he will never be able to sync with Joel Embiid.

Joel Embiid plays more off the court than he does on it. If Joel can lock in and become the dominant force everyone knows he can be, the Sixers might have a chance. Until all of this happens, the Sixers aren’t going anywhere but to the couch after the first round.


7. Orlando Magic (30-35)


Photo Credit: Hoops Habit

The Magic have never recovered from their loss to the Lakers in the Finals way back when. They’ve busted on their last few draft picks, traded away the one pick they got right in Victor Oladipo, and haven’t made any notable free-agent signings.

They have nice pieces such as Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, D.J. Augustin, and Evan Fournier with promising pieces in Jonothan Issac, Mo Bamba, and Markelle Fultz. But these pieces alone aren’t enough to even contend for a title. Until Orlando can land a big-name free agent or draft a stud, they’ll always be first-round outs in no more than five games.



8. Brooklyn Nets (30-34)

There’s always something going on with Kyrie Irving these days. Kyrie reminds me of Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns; both can play at exceptionally high levels, but both are toxic. Kevin Durant has yet to suit up for the Nets, but it was announced that both he and Kyrie would not play for the remainder of this season.

That alone disqualifies the Nets from contention almost immediately. They have a good supporting cast of players, but Spencer Dinwiddle and Caris Levert cannot lead this team to beat any other playoff team in the entire NBA.


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– Mike Dancy II – Franchise Sports Media

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