Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eastern Conference Preseason Predictions for the 2012-13 NBA Season

With NBA training camps opening up, it's time for preseason predictions.  Kyle Baillargeon takes a team-by-team look into his crystal ball of all 30 NBA teams.

Here is how Kyle sees the Eastern Conference playing out:

1. Miami Heat - 64-18

The champs are back and they brought Ray Allen with them for this round.  Allen will find himself open far more often than he did last year, and he'll make the most of it.  Miami may even make a run for 70.

2. Boston Celtics - 61-21

Retooled and reloaded, the Celtics have been seemingly at the end of their run for the last three years. But they keeping coming back, ready to contend. This squad is bigger up front and could have the best four-guard rotation in the league.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - 50-32

Adding Bynum is huge for Philly, so long as he stays healthy.  Will the team miss Iguodala, though?  If Evan Turner plays to his potential, then the answer to that question is no.

4. Indiana Pacers - 48-34

With more teams going small at the center position, Roy Hibbert is somewhat of an anomaly.  The Pacers were built to succeed in a short season, but how will this team fare over 82 games?

5. Milwaukee Bucks - 44-38

The dropoff is steep in the Eastern Conference, and this number of wins says more about how bad the rest of the conference is as opposed to how good the Bucks are. Jennings, Ellis and crew should have no problem making the playoffs, where they'll hope to make some noise.

6. Brooklyn Nets - 41-41

A tough team to determine, considering the general overhaul.  Deron Williams and Joe Johnson is one of the strongest backcourts in the game.  And don't underestimate how the move to Brooklyn could positively effect the team's psyche.

7. Chicago Bulls - 40-42

It's going to be a long year for the Bulls, though they did play decently for stretches without Rose last year.  The team is not completely devoid of talent, but they just can't expect to contend without their star.  Rose may be ready sometime after the All-Star break, but the Bulls may be better off tanking the season and hoping for a high pick.

8. Atlanta Hawks - 40-42

The Hawks are in a quasi-rebuilding mode, as they still have enough talent to sneak into the playoffs.  However, if they start to slide downhill in the middle of the season, don't be surprised to see Josh Smith on his way out sooner rather than later.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers - 36-46

Irving is the real deal, and this team could surprise people in the east.  They'll definitely be an exciting team, which is all you can ask for right now in Cleveland.

10. Toronto Raptors - 35-47

Valanciunas was considered by many as one of the top prospects out of his draft, and now he gets to show Toronto what they waited for. There's not a whole lot else to be excited for in Toronto, as it seems as though they based their entire offseason on trying to get, and subsequently failing to get, Steve Nash.

11. New York Knicks - 35-47

It's tough to make heads or tails of what the Knicks are trying to accomplish.  Carmelo and Amare don't seem to work entirely well together.  Jason Kidd would have been a great addition if he were five years younger.  Meanwhile, Rasheed Wallace should be a wonderful influence on whatever young players the Knicks have.

12. Detroit Pistons - 33-49

Detroit may have themselves a bright future, but they'll have to make sure they don't waste their cap space after this season like they did a few years ago.  In a perfect world, everyone will stay healthy, they'll show some signs of real potential, and they'll get a high pick.

13. Washington Wizards - 33-49

John Wall is not Derrick Rose or Kyrie Irving, but he is still ultra talented.  This is his team, and he needs to raise his game.  If he does, then he and Bradley Beal could make for a great young backcourt.

14. Charlotte Bobcats - 25-57

The Bobcats did a great job of not screwing up their pick this year, and MKG is a great talent.  Kemba Walker has the keys to the squad now, and he can definitely make things happen on occasion.  This team is still a ways away, but hopefully their front office will make it a streak of good draft picks next year.

15. Orlando Magic - 13-69

Not many good things to say about Orlando.  They didn't get much for the best center in the league.  They would have been smart to stick with Van Gundy, however.

Later today, we will post Kyle's predictions for the Western Conference.

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