Edited by: Robert Kivell
As the All-Star break approaches, it's time to look at The Inside Scoop's very own David Josselsohn's predictions for the playoffs. Here, we will deal with the Eastern Conference:
Overview: The Celtics, Cavs, and Magic have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. It is obvious that they will finish 1,2,3 in the conference. The question is who will emerge as the fourth best team in the conference and take home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
1.) Boston Celtics. The defending champs will find a way to pull out the number one spot in the conference. The supporting cast will do it for them; Leon Powe, Eddie House, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are really going to help the big three. The Celtics, Cavs, and Magic all have their all stars, but the Celtics have the strongest supporting cast.
2.) Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers have not lost at home this year. That is a testament to their focus. Lebron James is the best player in basketball, and he will lead the Cavaliers to the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Also, the Cavaliers are more experienced than
the Magic in these situations.
3.) Orlando Magic. Being third to the Cavs and the Celtics is not bad at all. All Stars Jameer Nelson
, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard are doing the right thing with this team. The supporting cast just doesn't match up with the Celtics and Cavs.
4.) Detroit Pistons. This is where it gets interesting. There is a huge drop off here. The Pistons have the most talent out of the other teams in the Eastern Conference. Wallace, Iverson, Stuckey, and Hamilton lead the way for them. They also have a lot more experience in this situation than teams like the Heat or the Hawks do.
5.) Atlanta Hawks. Although they have fallen upon tough times lately, I think that the Hawks will turn it around. They have so much talent in Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Mike Bibby. Once Al Horford returns from injury,
they will be a team to be reckoned with. They have a very complete team with Bibby running the point, Johnson at the 2, all
the way up to big men like Zaza Pachulia and Horford.
6.) Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are streaking, having won eight of their last ten. Th
e tandom of Elton Brand and Andre Miller will pay off big down the stretch. And don't forget about Andre Igoudala, who can light it up at any time.
7.) Miami Heat. Although Michael Beasely is a rookie, there is no denying that the Heat have talent. Dwyane Wade is one of the best players in basketball and Shawn Marion is a very good player. They have too much talent not to make theplayoffs in a top heavy Eastern Conference.
8.) Toronto Raptors. The eighth place will come down to a battle between three teams, the New York Knicks, the Toronto Raptors, and the Chicago Bulls
. The Knicks are an exciting team that can get hot at any time. The Toronto Raptors have three great players, Jose Calderon, Jermaine O'Neal, and Chris Bosh. The Chicago Bulls have a solid team with a great bench. Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, Larry Hughes, and Andres Nocioni support a good starting line up. Ultimately, the duo of Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon will lead the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs.
So again, our projected seeds are, 1.) Boston Celtics 2.) Cleveland Cavaliers 3.) Orlando Magic 4.) Detroit Pistons 5.) Atlanta Hawks 6.) Philadelphia 76ers 7.) Miami Heat 8.) Toronto Raptors. My Western Conference Predictions will be coming soon.