So, here are the predictions for the Eastern Conference. Before crunching the numbers, a few specific predictions:
- The Heat will not live up to the pre-season hype, for two main reasons. One is that it’s very hard to win with gaping holes at PG and C, and they have gaping holes at PG and C. Two is that their stars, as talented as they are, are not very versatile. None of them has a post game that scares anyone, and none of them is a particularly dangerous spot-up shooter.
- The Cavs will fight for a playoff spot, and people who buy into conventional wisdom will have their heads spinning on their necks, when they realize that LeBron’s Cleveland teammates were not nearly as bad as conventional wisdom said they were, and that going to Miami hardly represented an upgrade to LeBron’s supporting cast (not because there’s anything wrong with Dwyane Wade, but because LeBron was better off with the shooters and bangers on the Cleveland roster).
- Chicago will be lethal when Boozer comes back.
- Milwaukee will underachieve, because Brandon Jennings’s limitations as a PG will become crippling.
- Some team will realize that Elton Brand is exceedingly valuable, because there aren’t many players left who can consistently put up 20 ppg while operating from the low block. Hopefully a contender will pull the trigger on a deal for him, because the Sixers aren’t going anywhere, and it’s a waste to have an aging guy like him on a roster like that.
Here are the predictions (in the case of ties, I put the teams in the order that I expect them to finish).