2013-2014 NBA Preview: Season and Playoff Predictions
So without any further ado, let's make a few predictions as to who will be playoff-bound come April.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Chicago Bulls - Opposing teams will yet again have nightmares about trying to score on this team. But, a healthy Derrick Rose is the key to this prediction. If he can play the entire season without missing a singificant amount of time, the Bulls should prove to be the best team in the East.
2. Miami Heat - There's no doubt that the Heat will win a ton of games. However, will they be able to endure the regular season and playoff grind for a third year in a row? As crazy as it sounds, I'm not sure they make it out of the second round.
3. Indiana Pacers - Man, there is so much to like about this team. Paul George is an emerging star, Roy Hibbert should win Defensive Player of the Year, and Danny Granger returns. Indiana has the makeup of an NBA finals team.
4. Brooklyn Nets - The new-look Nets have so much veteran leadership that it's not even funny. But can Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett hold up for the entire season? Even if they can't, this Deron Williams-led roster can still compete for a top half finish in the conference.
5. Detroit Pistons - The good news for the Pistons is that they added a talented duo in Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. The bad news is that this could be a really awkward pairing, leaving this experiment to blow up in Joe Dumars' face. I'll stay positive for now.
6. New York Knicks - I'm not sold on the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony can score, but that's about it. Throw in the injury problems for Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire, a sporadic J.R. Smith, and a reliance on Andrea Bargnani to rebound, and the Knicks may look horrendous at times.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers - Here's a team with a ton of upside. Mike Brown should have fun coaching Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and rookie Anthony Bennett. Should those three progress the way we all think they will, this will be a fun team to watch.
8. Atlanta Hawks - The Hawks only go here because the rest of the East is terrible. There are a lot of unknowns for Atlanta in the post-Josh Smith era, but again, the bottom half of the East will be horrendous. They'll have a losing record and get the eighth spot.
THE REST: 9. Celtics, 10. Wizards, 11. Bucks, 12. Raptors, 13. Magic, 14. Bobcats, 15. Sixers
First Round: Bulls over Cavs, Nets over Pistons, Pacers over Knicks, Heat over Hawks
Conference Semis: Bulls over Nets, Pacers over Heat
Conference Finals: Pacers over Bulls
For a look at the West, and an NBA finals prediction, head to the next page!