I say the Raps compete for the number one seed in the way that Portland/Houston/LAC competed for the number 1 seed in the West last year.
May be number one at some point during the season, but unlikely to be number one at the end of the year.
There are basically six teams, who could end up with the one seed at the end of the year
Definite playoff teams
Competing for the last two spots
"They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee Dec. 2014
"I guess I got a little carried away there" ~ ezzbee Apr. 2015
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So the Pacers let Stephenson walk...and replaced him with Stuckey, who's basically a worse version of Lance, and while not quite as crazy, is not exactly known as a smart, well-disciplined player.
Yeah, I'd say #1 is pretty wide open. The two top teams from last year are hard to picture getting back there.
I'd say we're with the contenders: Cleveland, Chicago, Washington and us.
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I think Charlotte will make the playoffs, Walker & Stephenson aren't far off from Wall & Beal
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I feel like people are overrating the Wizards.. Yes they have tremendous upside in their backcourt but they lost Ariza and added an aging Pierce who won't be playing alot during the regular season due to conditioning. Then they have Nene who is okay when healthy but when is he ever healthy? I don't see him not missing a portion of games this season. I like Gortat but he is so overpaid, 5 years $60M and is already on the wrong end of his career? That move was a headscratcher to me. Andre Miller I like, not sure if he can keep his game at the same level considering he's really old now, but he's really durable. Other than that, bench is not great, Otto Porter is a question mark to me.
Lowry, DeRozan, Ross, Amir, JV, Patterson, Vasquez, Williams, JJ.. We already beat them 3-1 last season and the only win they had was in 3 overtimes, yet people rate them way above us, smh.
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Their backcourt is among the best in the league (Wall and Beal with Miller and Glen Rice as backups) and as for their bigs: they got Kris Humphries on a very cheap deal to back up Nene and Gortat, they got DeJuan Blair for a song to serve as fourth big.
Washington is extremely solid at every level and, like us, are relying on internal development to provide the final push. They're going to be exciting to watch.
That is the top 4 in no particular order.
Next four in no particular order:
I know I kind of cheated with Charlotte and Washington.
Raps only team from Atlantic going to playoffs - book it.
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Quick...who's going to win the east this year? Need more time? That's it...it's so wide open. Last year I heard the Eastern playoffs very appropriately referred to as the "Miami-Indiana Tournament". Crazy how different it is this year. There is no clear favourite. It seems most people's choice is Chicago and that's based on a healthy D Rose (a phrase that is quickly becoming an oxymoron). Love to the Cavs? Sure, then they're the best but that hasn't happened yet. Now some of the Indiana strength spills over to Charlotte? This playing field is getting very even. Except for one uneven thing. The schedule.
We play 16 games against the nets, knicks, celtics and 76ers. The east may be getting stronger this year but nobody in the Atlantic did. Three of the other favourites (Indy, Chi, Clev) will eat each other up in the same division. If all the plus .500 teams are going to battle it out, that may be our ace in the hole.
I'm optimistic that all the East playoff teams will be above .500. That would be something.
Washington gets a lot of love.. guess a 2nd round birth will do that. They weren't a really good team in the regular season. Nene is always a question mark due to health. Contract year Ariza > 36 year old Pierce.
This is how I see it playing out:
* Rose/Gasol could interrupt chemistry (remember how bad Chicago was at the beginning of last season with Rose 'healthy') then I could see Toronto taking the first seed. And I believe that without my rose coloured glasses.
Going to be an interesting season. I think Toronto's success hinges on Lowry. I hope he comes back as hungry as he was last season. He's the engine and we need it roaring.
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