DAR Sports: 2015-2016 NBA Eastern Conference Predictions

The NBA is back. After all of these months, the regular season begins tonight. With that, we put out our Western Conference Predictions and today, we give our Eastern Conference predictions. While not as stacked as the West, there are some sleeper teams in the East. Let's get into it.

1. Atlanta Hawks
2. Cleveland Cavaliers 
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Milwaukee Bucks
5. Boston Celtics
6. Washington Wizards
7. Miami Heat
8. Brooklyn Nets

The Hawks are 100% healthy again and we witnessed what a healthy Hawks team could do all throughout last season, earning decisive wins over many of the top contenders in East often by 15 or more points. If any of the trade rumors surrounding Al Horford come to fruition, the Hawks are dropping significantly in the seeding as the history of Atlanta sports teams suggest not getting any kind of return value.

The East is a mess. After the top 3 seeds, you can really throw a dart at a board and put anyone you land on in the playoffs.

The Eastern Conference. Cavaliers are repeating as Eastern Conference champions until LeBron retires. Let's get to it.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers 65-17 

2. Miami Heat 56-26 
-A team with a ton of talent, they just gotta stay healthy. ECF if healthy.

3. Chicago Bulls 53-29 
-Again, Rose must stay healthy, which I doubt. Again, ECF if healthy. 

4. Atlanta Hawks 51-31 
-Probably won't make it back to the ECF this year. 2nd round at best.

5. Toronto Raptors 49-33 
-Good in the regular season, trash in the playoffs. I expect another clean sweep in the 1st round. 

6. Boston Celtics 48-34 
-Another team with talent, 2nd round. More playoff experience= championship talks. 

7. Washington Wizards 44-38 
-They'll be trash but it's the East. 

8. Indiana Pacers 43-39 
-They'll beat out Milwaukee & New York in a tight race for the 8th spot.

1) Cleveland Cavaliers (52-30): 
-LeBron wants to avenge his Finals loss. Will he? I don't think so in the end. But, his team's regular season numbers will be good enough for top seed in the East.

2)Atlanta Hawks (50-32): 
-The Hawks shocked people in 2014. In 2015, they proved it. In the 2016 playoffs, they'll showcase why they're a top tier team. When they're on, they're on. And Jeff Teague will continue to improve.

3) Washington Wizards (47-35): 
-For similar reasons as the Hawks, expect the Wizards to make some noise in the playoffs. Bradley Beal and John Wall have matured past many of their contemporaries and Paul Pierce's tuition, regardless of its length, will stick with the red, white, and blue.

4) Chicago Bulls (43-39): 
-If Derrick Rose could stay healthy, I'd place them at the two-seed. But, as we've seen for the past few seasons, a healthy Derrick Rose is the unicorn of the NBA. And because of this, they will stumble late in the season after hovering around the 2/3 slot.

5) Indiana Pacers (42-40): 
-Paul George is healthy, nuff said.

6) Miami Heat (42-40): 
-The Heat are a good team. But, they still haven't figured out how to completely thrive in post-LeBron Miami. Additionally, a severe injury to either Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, and we're looking at a sub-.500 season. This seeding is assuming both Wade and Bosh are healthy.

7) New York Knicks (41-41): 
-Expect the Knicks, if they don't fully collapse, to surprise people. This ranking is based off the typical Knicks implosion. Hopefully, coach Derek Fisher can stop the foolishness from consuming the team...but, judging from some of the things that happened this summer? Easier said than done. 

8) Toronto Raptors (41-41): 
-They'll reach the playoffs again. But, just like New York and, potentially, Miami, they'll hobble into the eight seed.

Cleveland Cavaliers 
Miami Heat 
Chicago Bulls 
Washington Wizards 
Milwaukee Bucks 
Toronto Raptors 
Indiana Pacers 
Boston Celtics 

The usual suspects will be in the East conference playoffs. Cleveland will be the one seed again while Miami follows second. I think the Cavs and Heat may be destined for the Eastern conference  Finals, as long as they stay healthy. Their team should be better offensively and I see them still keeping the same heart defensively. Washington and Milwaukee will have a nice showing. Indiana will be making its way back up the standings as well. Then the bottom feeding teams like Boston will try to make some noise

I'll keep this short and sweet.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers(59-23)
-The Cavs will gel very well in the regular season and claim that no. 1 seed this year. Lebron will be a front runner yet again for MVP and might win it. 

2. Chicago Bulls(56-26)
-It will be a three team fight for the no. 1 spot as D. Rose will stay healthy most of the year and put the Bulls in prime position with Jimmy and Pau. 

3. Miami Heat(54-28)
-The Heat will be a solid team this year. Wade looks rejuvenated, Bosh, Whiteside, the new additions all will make a heavy run this year. 

4. Atlanta Hawks(51-31)
-The Hawks won't be the dominant team they looked like last year but will still be a formidable team. Early playoff exit I predict. 

5. Indiana Pacers(47-35)
-The Pacers will be a contender this year and solidify a 5th or 6th seed. 

6. New York Knicks(46-36)
-The Knicks and Pacers will go at it for the 5th and 6th seed this year. Despite all the jokes, they will be a contender. 

7. Milwaukee Bucks(43-39)
-This young team is still learning and will continue to be a contender for years to come. 

8. Washington Wizards(41-41)
-It will be a fight to the finish for that 8th seed with the Wizards, Raptors, and Celtics all going for it, but the Wizards will somehow manage to pull it off before a first round exit. 

What are your predictions? Post them here in the comments below. Welcome back, NBA.



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