Four days until the NBA Postseason and the Eastern Conference is about set in stone. For the remainder of the season, it’s all about seeding. Expect the standings to flip a little, especially in the bottom four seeds. I wouldn’t want to see any of these teams in the first round of the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers #5:
Seeing the Pacers in the Postseason brings me back to the Paul George, David West era. Only, this time, the team is centered around Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. The Pacers will fall in the first round, but I don’t see them going away easy. Their probable match-up is likely going to be against LeBron and the Cavs, which is not the best for a young team looking to make a playoff push. Oladipo put the Pacers back into conversations as contenders, but they need a few more years to develop. Expect competition. Underdog teams are always going to battle.
I’m skeptical of Indiana because they have flaws in their system. For one, they’re small down low with Thaddeus Young being undersized. If the Cavs are a first round match-up, keeping Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr, and Tristan Thompson off the glass is going to be a huge problem for the Pacers.
Milwaukee Bucks #6:
The Bucks are a team no one wants to face in the first round, especially if teams like the Cavs, Raptors, and Celtics are looking for an easy sweep. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a star, and he alone can take over a game. One thing the Bucks lack is depth and losing Greg Monroe is going to come back to hurt them. As of today, they’re set to play Philadelphia in the first round. Embiid potentially being out helps their cause. With the right in-game adjustments and tempo, the Bucks can find success in the early stages of the playoffs. Bottom line is: no one wants to see the Bucks in the first round.
Miami Heat #7:
I was sold on Miami getting into the playoffs this season when Dwyane Wade returned. His veteran presence and championship mentality will carry over into the Postseason. Moving forward Wade needs to be in the starting lineup, and if Eric Spoelstra questions that then it could mean the difference between advancing and facing elimination early. Yes, it’s a lot of pressure to be put on the vet, but if you look at the depth on their roster it matches up well with other teams. What makes the Heat different is the roster is interchangeable. Tyler Johnson could run the 1, 2, and 3 along, while Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson could switch between the 4 and 5. Miami at the seventh-seed could pose problems for Boston who are currently experiencing some major setbacks.
Washington Wizards #8:
Washington is one of those teams that fell off this season, and somehow they still managed to cling to the eighth spot. The Wizards have skated by this season due to John Wall’s injury, which sidelined him for stretches throughout the season. While I don’t see them advancing out of the first round, they might manage to steal a game or two. There’s too much in question in Washington this season that will hinder them come playoff time.
With the Eastern Conference pretty much all locked in, the Western Conference has the majority of its teams all secured, except for the eighth spot which is currently between Minnesota and Denver who play on Friday.
Thursday we’ll begin discussing the Western Conference bracket.