A bunch of people have Indiana, Cleveland, Chicago and Toronto as their top 4. That's actually impossible because Cleveland, Chicago and Indiana are all in the same division (probably the hardest division in the league now, Detroit and Milwaukee round it out).
Of those three teams, Chicago is probably the worst (unless they land Melo/Pau) which puts them at 5th in the conference.
Miami, Atlanta and Washington will be battling HARD for their division title.
I have a hard time seeing Brooklyn miss the playoffs and that was the first time Melo has missed the playoffs in his career, so maybe last year was the aberration and not the 2012-2013 Knicks. I still think we win our division, but the Central is wide open.
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NYK...Well, their team is not good. They have Melo so they're a wildcard to maybe get in at the 7 or 8 spot...but man do they need to tear everything down.
I expect Miami will be terrible, especially if Wade continues to deteriorate (assuming he re-signs). They have basically no team in place at the moment. Their bench proved to not be great last year, will probably get worse, and that just adds to the problem of the giant gaping hole left by LeBron.
Think we're looking at
Those 7 teams appear to be pretty good bets for playoffs spots. And BKL, NYK, MIA and maybe DET fighting for what's left. Obviously there could be surprises...
They're also an old team that are going to be another year older.
I'm really not expecting much from them, certainly not more than they did last year.
We should definitely win the Atlantic.
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Every team is surrounded by a lot of ifs. The "improving" East isn't improving but instability. When teams make big changes it usually means more losses. The fact that Toronto hgad roughly the same core with few major changes is a good thing
Indiana could surprise with big drop off. Hibbert can't shoot . Stevenson may be gone. Chemistry is a huge issue. Even though they went three rounds the could have easily lost the first two. They stunk for last three months.
Everyone's sleeping on Boston
Raptors can compete for a top 4 seed again, but #1 overall is still not realistic. Chicago is my pick for #1 this season with Mirotic, Pau and Noah, not to mention Gibson. They are a huge, skilled team and you add Rose to that and it's over for everyone else in the East. Indiana, Cleveland and Washington are in the mix for top 4 with Toronto. Forgot Miami too with Deng, Bosh and Wade.
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