2013-2014 NBA Preview: Season and Playoff Predictions

10/28/13 in NBA   |   BlakeLovell   |   86 respect

Oct 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (1) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY SportsThe 2013-2014 NBA season gets underway on Tuesday night, which means it's time for everyone and their mother to make predictions as to how the new season will unfold. This might be one of the most anticipated seasons in NBA history due to all the intriguing storylines around the league.

So without any further ado, let's make a few predictions as to who will be playoff-bound come April.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

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

Playoff Predictions
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!
 

Oct 18, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Images of Los Angeles Clippers players hang in the rafters covering all banners belonging to the Los Angeles Lakers. Los Angeles Clippers play the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
WESTERN CONFERENCE

Predicted Order of Finish

1. Los Angeles Clippers - This is the year for the Clippers to finally end years and years of misery. They have a star point guard, two beasts in the paint, and couple of solid shooters. That's a pretty nice combo, and it'll prove to be too much for the rest of the West.

2. San Antonio Spurs - Every year, we say that it's the last year the Spurs can compete. I'll say it again this season, which means the Spurs will indeed be in position to compete for a title. As with most veteran teams, health is always the key though.

3. Golden State Warriors - The addition of Andre Iguodala is going to make this team a contender rather quickly. Like the Clippers, this team is built for a deep post-season run. Andrew Bogut not missing significant time will certainly help.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder - Russell Westbrook's absence for the first month or so might set the Thunder back just a bit. Without Westbrook in the lineup, expect Durant to go into super serious beast mode. When Westbrook returns, the Thunder should begin their rise to the top half of the conference.

5. Houston Rockets - We may all be selling the Rockets short. Houston now has Dwight Howard manning the paint, and they will shoot the ball ridiculously well. It wouldn't surprise me if they sneak up a spot or two if Howard returns to his Magic form.

6. Memphis Grizzlies - I wonder about how the departure of head coach Lionel Hollins will affect this team. The Mike Conley/Zach Randolph/Marc Gasol trio is outstanding, but look for the Grizzlies to take a step back this season.

7. New Orleans Pelicans - Adding Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans makes the Pelicans must-watch. Anthony Davis is going to have a monster season, and if New Orleans can get consistency from their guards, Monty Williams' team could be one of the biggest surprises in the league.


8. Los Angeles Lakers - No one expects the Lakers to go absolutely anywhere this season. I still have a hard time believing that a team with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol will miss the playoffs. Yes, I know this isn't five years ago. When Bryant returns though, he's going to make the Lakers competitive. Ultimately, they find a way to steal the final playoff spot.

THE REST: 9. T'Wolves, 10. Blazers, 11. Mavericks, 12. Nuggets, 13. Jazz, 14. Kings, 15. Suns  


Playoff Predictions
First Round: Clippers over Lakers, Rockets over Thunder, Warriors over Grizzlies, Spurs over Pelicans
Conference Semis: Clippers over Rockets, Warriors over Spurs
Conference Finals: Clippers over Warriors

NBA FINALS PREDICTION: Clippers over Pacers in six games

What are your predictions for the 2013-2014 NBA season? Let us know by commenting below! For more NBA talk, follow @FanIQ or myself on Twitter!
 
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