By: Camron Miller
In this wild offseason, we have seen the perennial powerhouse in the Eastern Conference de-ranked as the King of Cleveland, Ohio has left to go to the Western Conference and join the Lakers. The decision of Lebron to join the Lakers has made the already stronger Western Conference downright unbeatable. But his decision also changes the landscape of the Eastern Conference as teams who may not have have made the playoffs or teams that were eliminated at the hands of the King now have a chance to make the NBA Finals. So here is an outlook for the possible playoff seeding of the 2018-19 upcoming NBA season.
1st Seed: Boston Celtics
Coming off a season, where the Celtics obtained the second seed in the Eastern Conference, without having all-star Gordon Hayward who went down earlier in the season with one of the nastiest injuries we’ve seen on a basketball court. They also lost the best point guard in the Eastern Conference in Kyrie Irving right after the all star break they went on a deep playoff run with a young cast stepping up. Jayson Tatum is coming off a rookie of the year campaign, Jaylen Brown is proving to be one of the best wing two-way players and Terry Rozier proved to be a force to reckon with in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the return of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving the Celtics prove to be the strongest team in the Conference this year.
Last year’s record: 55-27 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 60-22
2nd Seed: Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers had the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs and return with two of the best two-way frontcourt superstars in Joel Embid and Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons is coming off a season where he won rookie of the year, and the sixers have also acquired free agent Wilson Chandler from the Denver Nuggets. Markelle Fultz will return this season also for the 76ers after being out due to injury. If Fultz can fit well into the 76ers system and regain his shooting form from college I see a deep run for them in the playoffs.
Last year’s record: 52-30 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 57-25
3rd Seed: Washington Wizards
The Wizards finished last season in 8th place after losing star point guard John Wall to injury. Bradley Beal is coming off a season where he scored 22.6 ppg, 37.5 3P%, and a 46% FG. With Marcin Gortat leaving in Free Agency they picked up Dwight Howard to be the man in the middle. Dwight Howard is coming off a season where he averaged a double-double and 1.6 blocks. With a very athletic big man and John Wall returning I predict the Wizards to have the 3rd seed.
Last year’s record: 43-39 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 54-28
4th Seed: Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks will have the 2nd best two way player in the NBA returning for them in Giannis Antetokounmpo who averaged higher stats in points, field goal%, 3p % and rebounds last season. Jabari Parker will return to be a complementary piece to Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt along with Greg Monroe and the backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Kris Middleton should provide a great one-two punch combo.
Last year’s record: 44-38 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 52-30
5th seed: Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo proved last season that he could be a superstar on a team, being the driving force for the Pacers to make it to the playoffs. Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner showed some lockdown defense in the paint. It also helps that they signed wing players Doug McDermott and Tyreke Evans to provide some more shooting in their system behind the 3 point arc. Look out for the Pacers to be a sleeper again this year in the Eastern Conference.
Last year’s record: 48-34 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 49-33
6th seed: Toronto Raptors
Toronto returns into 2018-19 basketball season without head coach Dwayne Casey who ironically won coach of the year after being fired from the team. Toronto Big 3, Demar Derozan, Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas. Being in the hands of new leadership, look for Toronto to struggle a bit earlier in the season and barely make the playoffs.
Last year’s record: 59-23 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 44-38
7th seed: Detroit Pistons
Exiting the Van Gundy era in Detroit the Pistons have hired head coach Dwayne Casey to take over the reins of the team this upcoming NBA season. The Pistons look to be a formidable team in the Eastern Conference with Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin in the frontcourt. With them adjusting to a new system I predict that they will do well with Coach of the Year award winner leading the team in a new direction.
Last year’s record: 39-43 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 43-39
8th seed: Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls should have a much better season this upcoming year with two new rookies, Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison. They’ve also matched the Kings offer for Zach Lavine which means he will return in action at the two-spot for some much needed production in the backcourt next to Kris Dunn. Lauri Markannen is coming off amazing season and maybe all these pieces combined will work in Hoiberg’s system to get the young bulls team to the playoffs.
Last year’s record: 27-55 Prediction for 2018-19 season: 42-40