With the start of the season coming up, it is time to do some predicting.
The Houston Rockets are in for a great season. So great, in fact, that ESPN put them at No. 2 in the preseason BPI rankings. To see our post about that, click here.
So many teams improved this offseason. With all those improvements, though, the Rockets might have still had the best offseason. They got a future Hall of Famer in Chris Paul and great role players in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. All that to a team that just finished with the third seed in the West last season.
With that being said, let’s get into some predictions. Just for fun, I’ll throw out my personal thoughts on how both conferences will shape up this season as far as playoff picture goes.
Disclaimer, this is my personal opinion and it will probably be different than yours. If your opinion is different or you disagree with something, be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Conference Standings Prediction
1) Golden State Warriors: 68-14
2) Houston Rockets: 58-24
3) San Antonio Spurs: 55-27
4) Oklahoma City Thunder: 52-30
5) Los Angeles Clippers: 50-32
6) Minnesota Timberwolves: 50-32
7) Denver Nuggets: 46-36
8) Portland Trail Blazers: 45-37
*Just missed* 9) New Orleans Pelicans: 42-40
The Rockets have established themselves as the second-best team in the West, if not the league. I expect San Antonio to take a step back from last season as they did not really improve this summer outside of signing Rudy Gay. Still, you can never count out the Spurs, so I have them in the third spot.
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Most of the others are fairly similar to what other analysts have in their predictions. My one main difference is that I think the Clippers nab the fifth seed. I like some of the additions they made to lighten the blow of trading Chris Paul. Also, a little more biasedly, there are quite a few former Rockets on that team.
I like the Nuggets and Trail Blazers over the Pelicans in the playoffs. I feel like the race for the final two seeds will be tight all season, but Portland and Denver have the more complete teams than New Orleans. The Pelicans made some interesting signings in the offseason, but you have to wonder how their shooting will end up being. Denver, on the other hand, was a fringe playoff team last year and then went and signed Paul Millsap. The Blazers have two stars and some solid role players, so I expect them to be pretty decent.
1) Boston Celtics: 55-27
2) Cleveland Cavaliers: 52-30
3) Toronto Raptors: 51-31
4) Milwaukee Bucks: 50-32
5) Washington Wizards: 48-34
6) Charlotte Hornets: 44-38
7) Miami Heat: 42-40
8) Philadelphia 76ers: 40-42
The East is a tricky conference to judge. Each year, for the most part, the teams in the East do significantly worse than the teams in the West. A few stars left the East this offseason to join the West, so that makes it even harder to judge this year.
The top 2 teams in the East are pretty much a guarantee. Besides that, it is pretty up in the air. I feel like Toronto will put it together this season and find some success. They could be a sleeper team to go deep in the playoffs.
Another team I really like is the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Atetekumpo is an absolute beast and is only getting better. They have a great young core and are on the rise. The Hornets also should be better with the additions of Dwight Howard and Malik Monk, the rookie.
The 76ers are a team I really want to put higher but know I shouldn’t. However, I will trust in the Process and have them still making the playoffs.