The end of the NBA regular season is closely approaching as several bottom tier teams scratch and claw their way into playoffs contention, unfortunately, there are only eight slots with at least 10 possible teams vying for a chance to extend their shelf life and avoid an early summer. I believe its safe to say that at least six teams are a dead lock in the east. The Hawks, Cavaliers, Bulls, Raptors, Wizards, and Bucks have clearly been the best teams in the conference and I highly doubt you will see much disparity from these teams as the regular season draws to an end. The Bulls are the only questionable team– with the injury to Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, we could actually see this team fall to the No.6 or No.7 spot. Fortunately, their high-caliber defense will keep their heads above water.
2015 Eastern Conference Playoffs Teams – In the Hunt
The Nets continue to fall deeper and deeper out of playoffs contention as they have played lackluster basketball at home and on the road. This team has zero identity and lacks the veteran leadership that helped them to boot the Toronto Raptors out of the 2013-2014 NBA Playoffs. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are virtually out the door (trade) if you ask me. This team is right where they should be, ranked 10th in the east, don’t be surprised if they fall to No.11 beneath the Celtics.
NBA Playoffs- In or out? Out — the Nets lost a slew of key players (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Shaun Livingston) and Brook Lopez has yet to return to rare form. This team has a tough remaining schedule where they will be lucky to win 30 percent of the games.
Mo Williams has been a surprising bright spot for the Charlotte Hornets, averaging 21.0 ppg over the last 10 games– leading the team in scoring. Add the contributions of Williams with a healthy Al Jefferson and you have a very formidable 1-2 punch. Before the season began, I predicted this team to be one of the most surprising teams in the east, unfortunately, Lance Stephenson didn’t exactly pay dividends and is currently serving as a back-up behind Gerald Henderson.
NBA Playoffs- In or out? In, but barely. Like the Nets, the Hornets have a horrible remaining schedule, where they will be lucky to walk away with a .500. Don’t be surprised if they sneak in with the No.8 seed.
The Pacers are quietly vying for the No.8 seed behind the Hornets, and with the return of Paul George, I expect a huge push by this team to make the postseason. The veteran experience among David West, George Hill, and Luis Scola should help keep games close, unfortunately, this team has issues scoring as they rank 24th in the league in points per game.
NBA Playoffs- In or out? Out, unless we see Paul George return to the lineup in rare form. The remaining schedule does not favor the Pacers and I think it may be a little to late for them to make a serious run at the postseason, but there is a glimmer of hope.