Last season, the Nets struggled to have all 3 of their stars on the court at the same time because Durant was still recovering from an injury, Harden was dealing with the Rockets situation and injury, and Kyrie was absent for some time. But now, all 3 should be more healthy and ready compared to last year, so I would expect a big leap this season. The Bucks, even though made little changes to their roster, should still be highly competitive as long as Giannis remains healthy. 76ers was the first seed last year, but with the internal struggle of dealing away Ben Simmons, they should have an adjustment period when they either keep or trade him away. The Heat, Hawks, and Celtics should remain relatively the same, even though they made some great changes. As long as the Nets, Bucks, and 76ers remain healthy, the Heat, Hawks, and Celtics are going to be in the 4-7 seed range. I expect the Bulls and Hornets make a big leap this season. The Bulls finally has an exciting roster and the Hornets is growing team with a lot of young stars that are backed by great veterans. I believe the Knicks and Wizards will drop. I want the Knicks to succeed, but they have a horrible record of supporting their stars and maintaining their competitive lineup. The Wizards lost Westbrook, leaving Bradley Beal to take up a bigger role. As for the Cavaliers, Magic, Pistons, and Raptors, they are in rebuild mode, so they aren’t likely to make much progress.
- Trail Blazers
Most teams in the west haven’t made many changes except the Lakers. Hopefully the Lakers can remain healthy, unlike last year. With a lot more support and with the addition of Westbrook, the Lakers are expected to be the first seed of the West. The Jazz, Suns, Nuggets haven’t made many changes and will still likely remain the top seeded teams in the west. The Clippers will be missing Kawhi for majority of the season, so unless the Clippers develop a more efficient offense without Kawhi, I expect them to drop. They can possibly drop lower to the 7-8 seed range, but I believe they should be fine. The Mavericks, Warriors and Trail Blazers will likely be part of the lower 8 seeds since their team is very redundant. The Mavericks haven’t made any changes to support Doncic except for money. The Warriors are going to make a bounce back this season since they are getting back Klay Thompson, but he’s coming back some time in late January to February. And the Trail Blazers only had a coaching staff change, in hopes of convincing Damian Lillard to stay in Portland. The Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Spurs are likely going to be the teams to fight for the last playoff spot, or the play-in tournament spot if the NBA decides to have that again this season.
Even though many teams had some major changes and restructuring, the placements of teams aren’t going to change dramatically except for teams like the Lakers and the Bulls. But, surprises can always happen.
We appreciate y’all for letting us be a part of your Break Time.
Signing off, JT