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Quarter season playoff seeding predictions part 2. Celtics remain dominant?

The Eastern conference is really competitive this season. How will they stack up come playoff time? Here's my quarter (and a half) season playoff predictions.

#10. Atlanta Hawks

Might be underrating the Hawks here and I'd be lying to you if me as a Spurs fan didn't want the Hawks to lose for the sake of our draft. I also still believe that this team in in the middle of figuring themselves out. When Dejounte first landed in Atlanta there was people who said it would and wouldn't work. On one hand it works cause Trae is a horrendous defender and having a defensive guard such as Dejounte at the 2 really helps mask that fault for Trae. But on the other hand it takes away from both players because they are both ball dominant guards. Trae hasn't been bad by any means but he has not been efficient. He's playmaking at a good level with 9.9 (10 because we round up here) assists per game but in contrast to that he's averaging 3.8 (4) turnovers per game. No one is really shooting efficient for the Hawks and it's killing them. They currently sit at 17-18 and hold the 9th seed in the conference

#9. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are super disappointing. Scottie Barnes has been practically the same player he was last season and hasn't shown much improvement following his rookie of the year season. On top of that Fred Vanvleet has been bad this season compared to the season prior. He's inefficient and not doing anything at a high level for that matter. Pascal Siakam has been really good and is leading this team as best he can. OG Anunoby has also been having his best season and is playing really well. But when you don't have enough good center play and have so many forwards like Boucher, Barnes, Anunoby and more. It doesn't help your bench OR starting lineup. I think Pascal and OG can lead this team to the 9th seed as I think that the Raptors are just in a slump right now. Winning only 2 out of the last 10 games they've played. But with them sitting at the 11th seed at 15-19. I worry for them.

#8. Indiana Pacers

I was tempted to put the Pacers out of the play-in tournament. But the way Tyrese Haliburton has been playing just won't allow me to do so. The way Haliburton plays is so good cause he shoots at a decent level and is a playmaker at the highest level. He leads this team and it shows cause he is the driving force behind the surprising season they are currently having. In addition to that Myles Turner is also having a good season and is shooting 40% from the 3. Whilst this team is really young and won't be making much noise this season. The fact they are doing this well almost halfway through the season is really impressive. I had the Pacers as one of the worst teams out East but they've turned that narrative around. They currently sit at 19-17 following a win over the 4th seed Cavaliers and possess the 6th seed. I can't wait to see what this team can do in the future. 

#7. Miami Heat

The Heat have been off to an extremely low start and were way below .500 in the very beginning of the season. But they've been playing a lot better as of recent. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have been having good seasons and that's great to see. Tyler Herro has been decent but could be shooting better. Lowry isn't shooting efficient so he needs to improve on that. There's not much to say about the Heat. I don't quite know why they've been off to such a slow start as they haven't lost much. But the East has gotten a lot better and the Heat didn't do much to get better so that could be a reason why they haven't been as good. Even with that they were the 1 seed last season so you'd think they'd be at least outside of the play-in, They currently hold the 7th seed at a record of 17-18.

#6. New York Knicks

The Knicks have been on a very unfortunate 5 game losing streak, most recently to the Spurs tonight 115-122. Outside of the Spurs loss it's been insane games from players like Siakam and Doncic that causes them to lose games recently. I still think they are a very solid team. Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle have both quietly been good this season and although RJ Barrett hasn't made the jump I was hoping he would, he's still playing like his usual self. Which is to say, not the most efficient but still near 20 PPG scorer. Following the Spurs loss the Knicks sit at 18-18 and have the 8th spot in the West.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

#5. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers were on fire to start the season and Donovan MIrchell was a serious MVP candidate. They are still a really good team and Mitchell is still playing really well. Just not quite to the level of earlier in the season although he is close. The Cavaliers just have a balanced team. They have 3 all-stars with Mitchell, Garland and Allen. Evan Mobley has been as good as last season which is good enough for this team and it's talent but you'd like to see more from him. They currently have a record of 22-14 following a loss from Indiana 126 to 135. and hold the 4th seed in the conference. The top 5 teams in this conference are all really good and this Cavaliers team has the talent to match the other 4. But I do think the age of this team will hold them back just a little bit. Doesn't take away from the talent. Just means that they need 1 more year.

#4. Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers started the season off pretty slow and Harden even missed time. But they've been playing much better basketball since Harden's return and they are looking great. Embiid looks like an unstoppable force and is for sure an MVP candidate whether or not you think he will win it. Harden has also been really good this season and is doing much better in the offense. Tyrese Maxey has made a jump as well even if his efficiency hasn't been the greatest. This team is really well balanced and led by an MVP caliber player. Just have to hope Embiid can stay healthy even though he hasn't had that many injury issues the last season or 2. The 76ers currently have a record of 20-13 and hold the 5th seed.

#3. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets were awful to start this season but they have caught fire and are amazing for a large portion of the season so far. They are on a 10 game win streak and look amazing right now. Kevin Durant is playing amazing averaging 29.9 (30) points per game which is somehow 7th in the league. Crazy season we're witnessing scoring wise. Ben Simmons although not scoring is providing a good amount of everything on the table and looks ok. Kyrie is playing well and has been staying out of the media the 2 or so weeks and everything is looking good in Brooklyn. Nic Claxton is also having his best season so he deserves props for that as well. The Nets currently sit at the 2nd seed with a 23-12 record.

#2. Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis is a monster, This team didn't have Middleton to start the season although he hasn't been very good and yet they started off 8-0. Since then they have been 14-12 which is a huge drop off from 8-0 but regardless this team is amazing. Brook Lopez is having a good season scoring wise and is doing so very efficiently. Jrue Holiday has been solid and Giannis has been an MVP candidate as usual and continues to dominate the league. The team hasn't changed much from last season but that's ok. This team didn't need many changes as they are already an insane team. The Bucks currently hold the 3rd seed with a 23-12 record.

#1. Boston Celtics

The Celtics have been dominant all season and boast the best record in the league. Jayson Tatum continues to improve and is an MVP candidate. The addition of Malcolm Brogdon has been good and this team just looks unstoppable. They have players such as Robert Williams and Marcus Smart who specialize as defenders and the star players like Tatum and Brown both have good to great defense as well. There are almost no holes on this team and it's scary. For sure a front runner for the finals. The Celtics hold the best record in the NBA sitting at 26-10 and sit firmly in the first seed.


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