Photo Credit: change.org (featured image), NBA (team logos)
Here are my 2016-2017 early NBA playoff seeding predictions, and why I believe these will be the seedings.
1. Golden State Warriors – No explanation needed
2. San Antonio Spurs – With the loss of Tim Duncan, I don’t think the Spurs are much of a title contender right now. That being said, their other talented stars like Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge should be able to help the Spurs secure the number two seed.
3.Portland Trail Blazers – An up-and-coming young team on the rise with a great coach in Terry Stotts. I believe the addition of a solid playmaker in Evan Turner this offseason will complement their stars and help them get the three seed.
4. Los Angeles Clippers – As a team that will benefit from the lack of star power in the Western Conference (outside of the Warriors), the Clippers could make a deep playoff run this year.
5.Memphis Grizzlies – Due to all the parity in the West right now, a solid rotation should be all the Grizzlies need to secure the five seed. They an above average team who got the seven seed last year even with all of their injuries. With a healthy team, they could be top 5 in the west.
6.Dallas Mavericks – The 5 and 6 seeds could really go either way between the Grizzlies and Mavericks. Both teams have above average rosters with talented big men.
7. New Orleans Pelicans – Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and the rest of the gang have a good chance at making it to the playoffs for the second time in three years.
8.Minnesota Timberwolves – While not a title contender, The Timberwolves’ young core should be able to get them over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
1.Cleveland Cavaliers – No explanation needed.
2.New York Knicks – Crazy, I know. However, the Knicks have the most star power in the East outside of the Cavs, and the highest ceiling out of all the non-Cavs teams in the East. Remember, it wasn’t long ago Derrick Rose was billed as the NBA’s next great point guard. If they can live up to their potential – not a guarantee, but possible- the Knicks could be a top 5 NBA team.
3. Boston Celtics – The addition of Al Horford and the coaching of Brad Stevens should very nicely complement the Celtics’ young talent.
4. Toronto Raptors – The loss of Bismack Biyombo won’t help the fact that last season will be hard to repeat. The Raptors are still a good team, just probably not a two seed like last year.
5. Indiana Pacers – Paul George is an underrated player who hasn’t yet fully reached his potential. Hopefully this year he can remain injury-free and breakout as the top-tier player he could be.
6. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks lost some pieces in Jeff Teague and Al Horford, and the new Hawk named Dwight Howard won’t be able to fill in those shoes alone. They Hawks have virtually no chance at a title this year, but their rotation players should be able to secure their team the six seed.
7. Detroit Pistons – They are a solid team that could surpass expectations this year.
8. Washington Wizards – After a down season, Washington’s young firepower should help them bounce back. John Wall and Bradley Beal are a great duo and they have a strong supporting cast.