Mid-Season Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions
*Photo via USA Today
Atlanta Hawks- The Hawks show no signs of cooling off and have a 7 game lead on the number 1 spot. Their combination of BBIQ, floor spacing, and team play makes them a tough matchup for any team. The Hawks players also seem to have a great understanding of each other.
Cleveland Cavaliers- After a disappointing start the Cavs have turned it up. This is thanks to improved play by LeBron James and additions the Cavs made via trade.(J.R.Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timothy Mozgov.) It also seems that Kyrie Irving is starting to roll, the Cavs looks to be the monster we all imagined this past summer and will dominate the second half of the season.
Washington Wizards- Wizards have been led by John Wall and the rest of the Washington starters, but the difference this year is the Wizards have been able to get better play from their bench. It also has helped having a player like Paul Pierce around with his leadership and experience.
Toronto Raptors- The Raptors have seen their young talent develop even further this season. This young team lead by Kyle Lowry will easily win the Atlantic, guaranteeing them at least one round with home-court in the playoffs. The Raptors might just be one more piece or year away from making some real noise.
Chicago Bulls- The Bulls haven’t been the team we all imagined in the off-season, but still are among the top teams in the East. They have dealt with injuries all season and Derrick Rose hasn’t consistently played to the level were accustomed too. Another problem has been the level of Defense the Bulls have played. Usually one of the top defensive teams in the league, the Bulls have struggled to keep opponents under a 100 points at times this year.
Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks have probably been the biggest surprise this season and a lot of credit has to go to head coach Jason Kidd. Kidd has made this team into an up and coming team in the East. They cause havoc on defense and excel on the fastbreak. The roster is also full of long and athletic players that are perfect for that style of play. Especially Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the most exciting players in the league.
Charlotte Hornets- The Hornets have finally picked it up and will be able to climb back into the playoff in a weak Eastern Conference. The only concern is Kemba Walker being out 6+ weeks. It also should be noted the Hornets have been one of the most active teams in the trade market, desperately trying to improve their team.
Miami Heat- The Heat will just squeeze in for the 8th seed, with Wade being out indefinitely, this will be no easy task. The Heat will have to rely on Chris Bosh and maybe even make a trade for some reinforcements. Still the competition for this spot is nothing to be scared of, the Heat will almost be in by default.
-By Nicholas Diesing-Fay