Editor's Note: These were completed preseason and are running later than expected.
The Eastern Conference is going to be the most competitive it has been in 25 years. Teams like the two time defending champion Miami Heat, the stacked Indiana Pacers, the Derrick Rose led Chicago Bulls and the win now Brooklyn Nets are the favorites to take the top four seeds in some order.
After that things become even murkier because the New York Knicks are going to be sitting there, trying to break into one of the top four seeds, then the six through eight seeds are completely up for grabs. That's why Drew Garrison (@DrewGarrisonSBN) from Silver Screen and Roll and SB Nation NBA League Manager, Seth Pollack are here to help me try to predict the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Who slides into the 8th seed?
Drew: There's a lot of talk regarding the bottom of the Western Conference being hard to project, but the East isn't much easier. As the last team to make the cut this puts a few teams out of the race, so it's a tough distinction to make. With that said, I have the Detroit Pistons pegged as the final team to make the playoffs out East, making a return to the postseason after missing them four-straight years.
I like the versatility of Josh Smith on defense. I like the potential of Andre Drummond in a bigger role. Greg Monroe has been a consistent frontcourt player for them for three seasons. Brandon Jennings is a big question mark in that lineup, and the hope has to be that he takes less field goals with more options around him in a new system.
Seth: Hey, guys. Thanks for asking me for input on this. These days, no one seems to care what I think about basketball despite all my many years of being right 123 percent of the time. #humblebrag.
I have my new hometown Wizards sliding into the final Eastern Conference playoff slot. I'm (slowly) coming around to John Wall being more than an athletic speed demon who can't shoot. I now think he's actually a ridiculously athletic point guard who can't shoot. And no one, I MEAN NO ONE, loves Bradley Beal more than me. That bandwagon has an inscription that reads: "Founded by @sethpo, 2011". Beal with it.
The Wizards problem is the sketchy front court with Nene and Okafor who will be lucky to play 30 games together given their injury history. I'm not as down on the Martell Webster contract as others and Ariza proved last year can still contribute a lot on the defensive end. Bottom line: the lack of depth combined with a lot of guys without the Iron Man gene leaves my only slightly bullish of the Wiz. But hey, at least here in Washington we can mention their team name without insulting an entire race of peoples!
Kevin: Not offending an entire race of people is always a good thing, Seth. I'm extremely torn between these two teams being in the eighth spot. I am also thinking Cleveland (who can never stay healthy) can end up here as well. Do I hop on the crazy train in Detroit or do I go with the Wizards in the eighth spot?
I am going to go Pistons. Only because I believe that the Wizards and Cavs are both outright better than the Pistons. The Wizards play in an easier division than both the Cavs and Pistons, so I think they get a couple more wins than each.
Though, how can we not be excited to see those memorable pick and rolls between Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings that go absolutely nowhere? I am!