BLOGTABLE: Which East teams will make the playoffs in 17-18?

NBA.com Global on Oct 19, 2017 06:10 PM
BLOGTABLE: Which East teams will make the playoffs in 17-18?
Cleveland Cavaliers' Derrick Rose (1) drives past Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving (11) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 102-99. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

NBA.com blogtable

Who are your picks for the eight teams that will make the playoffs in the East?

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Steve Aschburner:

Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors
Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat
Detroit Pistons
Charlotte Hornets

The Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas trade should energize both the Celtics and the Cavaliers all season – assuming Gordon Hayward’s brutal misfortune doesn’t torpedo Boston. The Wizards, Raptors and maybe the Bucks will make the East more interesting and competitive than some folks might have expected.

Shaun Powell:

Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics
Toronto Raptors
Milwaukee Bucks
Philadelphia 76ers
Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat

This is really a nine-team conference, because the only other team with a legit chance to make the playoffs are the Pistons. All the others (Hawks, Nets, Bulls, Pacers, Knicks, Magic) are rebuilding. This allows the Sixers to overcome inexperience to make the cut. And the playoff fence will be far more suspenseful than the opposite end, where the Cavs remain clearly the class of the East.

John Schuhmann:

Tier 1: Cleveland Cavaliers (playoff version)
Tier 2: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers (regular season version), Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards
Tier 3: Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat
The 8 seed: Philadelphia 76ers over Detroit Pistons

The playoff Cavs should be a clear favorite to get back to The Finals, but the regular season Cavs are very different from the playoff Cavs and not a clear favorite to get the 1 seed, even after Gordon Hayward's injury. So, no order of the top five teams (except one that has Cleveland fourth or fifth) would really surprise me come April. Picking Philadelphia over Detroit is being more hopeful about Joel Embiid's health than Reggie Jackson's effectiveness, and the preseason was more discouraging regarding the latter.

Sekou Smith:

Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors
Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat
Charlotte Hornets
Philadelphia 76ers

The Eastern Conference is wide open after Cleveland at the top. Washington, Toronto, Boston, Miami, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Philadelphia are the teams that should be playoff bound, with the Sixers needing to fend off the crowd for that eighth and final spot. I am trusting that The Process (one Joel Embiid) will play more than 31 games this season and that Ben Simmons will make a huge difference. But I want to reserve the right to change my order in case there is an injury situation with the Sixers.

My dark horse crew this season is Toronto. With all of the attention focused elsewhere this offseason, it seems like Dwane Casey's bunch has been overlooked. They have the key pieces needed to handle themselves in a reshuffled Eastern Conference. They are in that mix with the Wizards and Celtics battling it out for real estate at the top of the standings right behind Cleveland.

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