2014 NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions: Battle for positions 6 – 8 | Respect the Crown | Sports Unbiased

2014 NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions: Battle for positions 6 – 8

NBA-Eastern-Conference11

The 2013 – 2014 NBA season looks to be another great year, arguably more competitive than the previous season due to the busy transactions involving free agents, trades, and NBA draft players looking to make their first impression in the league. A few of the worst teams from the preceding year have made key transactions which should place them in prime positioning for a playoff spot. The Boston Celtics are in a rebuilding phase and with the loss of  Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and coach Doc Rivers I’m sure Celtics fans are less than optimistic regarding their teams chances at making the post season, therefore the Celtics are out. I’m looking forward to Rajon Rhondo’s return from injury not to mention his offensive effectiveness under new NBA coach Frank Vogel, unfortunately the playoff train has left Boston, estimated return unknown.

The Milwaukee Bucks are another team that will definitely miss the plane destined for the playoffs in 2014, the team should remain grounded for quite a while, unable to board for at least the next two seasons. Why? Monte Ellis (hired gun #1) was traded to Dallas and Brandon Jennings (hired gun #2) is off to Detroit. The acquisition of O.J. Mayo is a great addition to the Bucks but where the hell is the teams inside presence? ZaZa Pachulia? Yea right, the Bucks are out, not enough scoring, defense should be just as inadequate.

The Bucks ranked 12th in the NBA in scoring during the 2012 – 2013 regular season, without Jennings and Ellis the Bucks are a -37 in ppg. O.J. Mayo and Carlos Delfino (the new scoring duo) combine to average about 26 points per game which leads me to believe the Bucks could have issues scoring especially in the paint. Based on the current roster the Bucks are out of playoff contention.

Teams in the hunt:

CavsCleveland Cavaliers

2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 24 – 58

2012 -2013 Eastern Conference Rank: 13th

Key Acquisitions: Andrew Bynum

Kyrie Irving has emerged as one of the premiere point guards in the league and he’s number three on my list of the best point guards in the NBA right now. The acquisition of Andrew Bynum has completely transformed the image of this team. How bad were the Cavs? During the 2012 – 2013 NBA regular season, the Cavs ranked in the lower tier in rebounds and second to last place in field goal percentage per game (43.4 percent).

andrew bynumThe addition of Bynum should drastically improve the teams scoring and defensive numbers which in return should result in wins. When he was at the top of his game and 100 percent healthy, Bynum was arguably one of the top three centers in the NBA. The Cavs now have a proven NBA Champion and an elite center who can score, rebound, and defend with balanced efficiency.

RaptorsToronto Raptors

2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 34 – 48

2012 -2013 Eastern Conference Rank: 10th

Key Acquisitions: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin

The Raptors were four games behind the Milwaukee Bucks last season and one of the teams in contention for the 8th seed in the 2013 Eastern Conference Playoffs. Rudy Gay is a potential All-star, he looks to be the franchise player for a team that has been looking for an identity since the Vince Carter era. The Raptors finished 16th in scoring during the 2012 – 2013 season which means they know how to put the ball in the basket. The addition of Tyler Hansbrough adds a level of toughness, interior defense, and rebounding – all of which the Raptors were in desperate need of a year prior. The Raptors still have a hole at the center position but I think the front-court of Rudy Gay, Demar DeRozan, and  D.J. Augustin provides more than enough offense to provide problems for most opposing teams.

 

PistonsDetroit Pistons

2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 29 – 53

2012 -2013 Eastern Conference Rank: 11th

Key Acquisitions: Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups

If this revamped roster doesn’t make you piss your pants, I don’t know what will. The Pistons have signed Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, and veteran guard Chauncey Billups. This is an apparent push for a playoff position and you have to give general manager Joe Dumars credit for signing top talent Jennings and Smith and offloading underachiever Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons now have a formidable front-court proven to score, veteran guard Chauncey Billups returns to the place where he helped raise a NBA Championship banner in 2004, he brings playoff experience and the mentoring skills needed to enhance Jennings’s NBA knowledge and effectiveness on the court.

J.J Redick Josh SmithThe Pistons ranked 11th among Eastern Conference teams in 2013, overall they were among the worst scoring teams in the league but you can expect their offensive woes to change. Jennings and Josh Smith will carry most of the scoring load, the duo should score a projected 30 points per game based from last seasons individual scoring averages. On paper the Pistons look just as good as the Hawks, Cavs. and Raptors – I expect them to make some serious noise in 2014.

Did your team make the list? If not, post a comment as to why you believe they will make the 2013 -2014 NBA Playoffs.

Which teams are talented enough to make the 2014 NBA Playoffs? (PICK 2)

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Check out my 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Predictions Teams 1 – 5 

Jr. Williams

About the Author: Jr. Williams

Military Veteran with a passion for NBA basketball and vintage sneakers. When I'm not rambling about the latest NBA topics, I am collecting and restoring vintage sneakers. Please support independent writers by clicking any of the share buttons. As always, thank you for reading.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    As a fellow blogger, I don’t want to criticize too much, but I had a few problems with your article. First, you don’t mention who the top 5 teams will be, but I assume Miami, Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn and New York.

    For some reason, you have excluded Atlanta, who made the playoffs last year and might be slightly better with a healthy Lou Williams and replacing the inefficient Josh Smith with the less flashy, but more productive Paul Millsap.

    You also missed Washington, whose poor record was more due to injuries than lack of talent. In fact, when Wall, Beal and Nene played together, the Wizards were 15-7.

    I would be surprised if both those teams weren’t better than Toronto and Detroit.

    A few other things. You mention that you have Irving ranked as the third best PG. That means you have him ranked ahead of 3 of Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo. I’m a fan of Irving, but I don’t see him being better than ANY of them, at this point.

    Rudy Gay not only isn’t a franchise player, he’s not a perennial All Star. In fact he’s never been and All Star, and there’s a good bet he won’t be again next year. What Gay is is a vastly overpaid, inefficient scorer who looks a lot better than he actually is.

    I’m also not sure why you suggest the team has a hole at center. How much Valanciunas have you watched?

    And to say that the Raptor’s scoring isn’t a problem because of the presence of Gay and DeRozan, two inefficient scorers, is interesting, since efficient is usually far more important that just plain scoring.

    And I’m not sure the additions to Detroit are going to have the effect you think. Josh Smith is a nice player, but he’s a better version of Rudy Gay, in that he’s horribly inefficient offensively. And there’s a big reason why Brandon Jennings didn’t get the big contract he was expecting. He’s simply not a very good PG. I have him ranked as the 24th among starting PGs in the league…
    http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2013/08/02/ranking-the-point-guards/

    All in all, it seems that you’re basing a lot of your conclusions on surface stats, such as points, assists and rebounds, when you should be digging a little deeper.

    • http://sportsunbiased.com/s-u-community/nba_williams/ J.R. Williams

      Thanks for the feedback.
      First of all, its a prediction, hence the title. My prediction is based on UP AND COMING Teams who have not made the playoffs over the past few seasons. The section of my article titled “Teams in the Hunt”, should have been more than enough info to describe the content my article.

      The Raptors could have easily made the post season if Rudy Gay had arrived earlier. To say that he doesn’t make them a better team is borderline foolish (no disrespect). In my article I actually meant potential as I stated in an article earlier this year after Gay joined the Raptors. Thanks for pointing it out. Stay tuned for my Eastern Conference Playoff Rankings where I will have the Hawks listed as a possible 8th seed.

      The addition of Lou Williams doesn’t exactly make them that much better than last season and the Hawks have gotten smaller which means they are going to have issues with most of the larger sized teams in the Eastern Conference.

      The Wizards are on my radar, unfortunately I don’t see how they can be any better than Cleveland, Detroit, or Toronto. Not enough talent and experience in my opinion. The Wizards could, if lucky, fight for the 8th spot.

      Talent wise, hell yes.. Kyrie Irving is better than both Rondo and Parker but that’s just my personal opinion. Love or hate it. Here’s a blatant fact. Look at the talent surrounding the guards you listed, now placed them in a Cavs uniform and convince me as to how Rhondo, Westbrook, and Toni Parker would transform them into a dynamic playoff team without some serious help. Every top point guard you mentioned, was or is surrounded by All-Stars. Which tells me you really didn’t think logically about your comment regarding Kyrie Irving.

      On to Detroit… I love the combination of Jennings and Josh Smith because they compliment each others game. Jennings and Monte Ellis have similar styles of play, both like to score. Now how was that supposed to work in Milwaukee? Of course Jennings stats and ranking as a guard would diminish if he has to share the ball with Ellis. Prior to the arrival of Monte Ellis, Jennings was considered by many to be the next Allen Iverson. I almost can’t wait for the season to start to prove my point. Then again predictions have a way of biting you in the a$$..

      You guys have a Great Raptors blog b.t.w.

      Thank again for sharing your opinion..

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        It’s not that I don’t think Gay doesn’t make the Raptors better. It’s that I don’t think he has nearly the impact you seem to. After Bargnani went down with injury (making the Raptors a much better team, quite frankly), the Raptors were playing .500 ball, which is what they played after the Gay trade. And that includes the last eight games where they went 7-1, which should really be stricken because it was against teams that were either resting their starters or had given up on the regular season. So in actual fact, the team seemed to be better with Calderon and Davis than Gay.

        The Hawks may have gotten a little smaller, but they’ve also gotten more efficient offensively, and added more scoring.

        As for Washington, I think they’ve got a little more talent than you’re giving them credit for. They had a .500 record with Wall, and that was without a whole lot of games where Wall, Beal and Nene played together. And while they do have a lot of youth, Nene, Okafor, Ariza and Webster all have, at least, 7 years of NBA experience, and they are all rotation players. They have a more experienced rotation than Toronto and only slightly less experienced than Detroit. I would seriously take a closer look at them.

        As for Jennings, he’s just not a good PG. He takes bad shots and isn’t a good decision maker. And those were problems that predated him playing with Ellis. I don’t remember any talk of him being the next Iverson. He had some big games his first month as a rookie, but as teams scouted him, they shut down what he was doing and he’s struggled shooting the ball over since. He’s a CAREER sub 40% shooter. It’s why he wasn’t drafted as high as many thought he should. The problems were always there. I didn’t write it, but this is a great article on the problems with Jennings…
        http://www.bballbreakdown.com/why-brandon-jennings-is-still-a-free-agent/

        • http://sportsunbiased.com/s-u-community/nba_williams/ J.R. Williams

          Really great points as to why Jennings remained a free agent, I still believe Chauncey Billups is the perfect mentor to Jennings, he has some maturing to do and he can use some areas of improvement, quite possibly with his shooting.

          BTW. Allen Iverson was a career .425 shooter, so I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that stat-basket. Jennings’s field goal percentage improved every year then suddenly declined after the 2012-2013 acquisition of Monte Ellis. Coincidence? I think not, but its debateable.

          The Wizards have some great pieces in place and there a tough team, so I guess I could give them a second look before I release the Eastern Conference Playoff Prediction. John Wall is underrated by many and he was an All-star snub at one point of his career, the contract extension by the Wizards tells me allot.

          I still believe Rudy Gay will be an All-star this season and the Raptors will be a 40+ win team. Based off of pure memory I can’t recall Calderon ever being the driving force behind any success of the Toronto Raptors, id take Rudy Gays 18+ ppg over his 11 ppg any day. Simpy put, Rudy Gay is a more dynamic player.

          I retain my thoughts on the Atlanta Hawks and I haven’t bought into their system and their current acquisitions since parting ways with Josh Smith, he was their best player and I just do see them improving without having a player of equal or more value.

          I also posted a Fact on the bballbreakdown.com as to why Brandon Jennings witnessed a decline in his fg percentage in 2012-2013

          • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

            Billups is a good guy to have, but in the end it’s up to Jennings. And there’s really no indication that Jennings will suddenly “get it”. Jennings certainly has skills, but he lacks other skills that make we believe he’ll always be the player he is.

            Calderon wasn’t the driving for any Raptor’s success, but that wasn’t his fault. And he’s not the type of player who will turn a team around. He plays better with better talent because he doesn’t create much on offense. He’s an extremely efficient scorer who knows where and when to get the ball. And that’s a very rare skill these days.

            Gay scores more, but the “dynamic” thing was what Colangelo tried to sell the Raptor fans. Being dynamic is great, but it doesn’t win games. The only success Gay has had was when he was the third best player on the team, and even then they traded him and played better after he left.

            It’s not that I don’t think Gay isn’t a better player, but if he’s your best player, you’re in trouble. And he makes WAAAYYY too much money.

            As for the Atlanta Hawks, I don’t think they’re got a bright future, because they seem to be stuck on the mediocrity treadmill, but I completely disagree with your point that Josh Smith was their best player. It was Al Horford that was their lone All Star in 2010 and 2011 (he was injured last year). I think he’s a much better player, and I don’t think it’s close. He does everything that Smith does, but better and more consistently. All they’ve done is replace Smith with Paul Millsap, and there are a lot of people that think Millsap’s a better player. He’s certainly a more efficient scorer than Smith is.

          • http://sportsunbiased.com/s-u-community/nba_williams/ J.R. Williams

            I think there are some clear indications Jennings will see improvements. His low field goal percentage can now be closely attributed to Monte Ellis which tells me he will improve under a new system with viable players. His success is debatable, so lets move on from there.

            Rudy Gay was surrounded by a stacked team in Memphis who had more than enough scoring and inside presence, not to mention 2 All-Stars (Randolph and Gasol) and a very efficient pg in Mike Conley JR. Rudy Gay didnt exactly flourish in the Memphis system but he still managed to contribute close to 19 ppg and 6 reb. His reminds me of Tracy McGrady before he joined the Houston Rockets, meaning, some players find success in other places.

            Al Horford made two All-star teams (2010, 2011) because he played the Center position better than any of the average Centers in the Eastern Conference at the time. He will more than likely not be picked again. Horford will not be selected to an All-star team over Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert ( true Centers). Josh Smith was snubbed from the All-star team two years in a row because of his position ( Forward ), a position that is stacked in the East.

            Al Horford has a better fg percentage because of his shot selection and he his barely a better rebounder than Josh Smith considering his size. Al Horford will not measure up against the true Centers in the East.