The NBA is only hours away from tipping off its 2016-17′ season, so here’s how we feel the upcoming season will unfold.
Eastern Conference Playoffs:
#8 New York Knicks
These Knicks would’ve been a contender had they made their recent offseason acquisitions back in 2010. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, it’s 2016, and their moves will only warrant the despised 8-seed.
#7 Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks downgraded significantly when they let Al Horford go so they could acquire D-12, which means they’ll be teetering on the edge of a playoff spot the entire season.
#6 Detroit Pistons
Played the Cavaliers tough in what may have been the most competitive sweep ever. Plus, Andre Drummond is only going to improve. Who’s to say that Detroit can’t amount to a decent playoff run?
#5 Chicago Bulls
In a day and age where teams live and die by the three, Chicago will have to rewrite the script if they want to be successful, with three of the worst 3-point shooters in modern NBA history manning their backcourt. Chemistry will be a problem in the early going, but the Bulls have too much star-power to not at least compete for a mid-seed playoff spot.
#4 Indiana Pacers
Jeff Teague should be a significant upgrade at the point guard position and who knows, maybe Paul George will show up after January for once.
#3 Toronto Raptors
Coming off a season in which they gave the eventual NBA champions a run for their money in the Eastern Conference Finals, Toronto should coast to a top-3 seed and will once again be one of the sole challengers to Cleveland’s Eastern Conference crown.
#2 Boston Celtics
The Al Horford acquisition will only speed up the maturing process for a team that was already coming into its own. Boston will go all-in this season and nab the 2-seed.
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers
Maintained most of their championship roster. The class of the east until somebody can prove otherwise.
Once one of the toughest tests that eventual conference champs had to go through, the Grizz are nothing more than an 8-seed at this point.
KD’s departure obviously hurts, but OKC still have enough star-power to muster a respectable playoff run.
Houston will capture the 6-seed and James Harden will be the first MVP in over thirty years that didn’t play for a top-2 team in the conference.
Another dangerous team with lethal shooters, this could be the year that Portland overtakes some of the West’s elite.
The deepest team in the league may have the best chance at upstaging the Warriors in the 7-game series.
Led by MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard, age is the only thing that will hold back San Antonio this season.
This may be the last season that CP3 and co. have a chance to get it right, and if he and Blake can stay healthy, a real chance they have.
Expect anything different? Consider it an upset if they’re even taken to six games in a playoff series.
TEAMS MOST LIKELY TO BEAT GOLDEN STATE:
We say this every year, but if they can stay healthy, they can beat anybody.
The deepest team in the league vs the best team in the league. Our best chance of not seeing the same Finals for a third straight season is a Utah upset.
LeBron>Durant. Kyrie>Curry in the postseason? It’s anyone’s game from there.