1. Boston Celtics
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New York Knicks
5. Brooklyn Nets
The Celtics easily win their division for the second year in a row. The lack of depth on the Raptors will harm them in the long run.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Milwaukee Bucks
3. Detroit Pistons
4. Indiana Pacers
5. Chicago Bulls
What did you expect? LeBron is still the best player in the world. Giannis will take another forward step into becoming an MVP candidate.
1. Washington Wizards
2. Charlotte Hornets
3. Miami Heat
4. Orlando Magic
5. Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte will give the Wizards trouble, but the Wizards stellar backcourt will give them the edge.
Full Eastern Conference
1. Boston Celtics
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Toronto Raptors
4. Washington Wizards
5. Milwaukee Bucks
6. Charlotte Hornets
7. Miami Heat
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Philadelphia 76ers
10. New York Knicks
11. Indiana Pacers
12. Orlando Magic
13. Brooklyn Nets
14. Atlanta Hawks
15. Chicago Bulls
The Celtics will beat out the Cavs for the first seed again while the Cavs rest their veterans for the playoffs. The injury-prone Sixers will miss the playoffs by a game or two. The Bulls and Hawks will occupy the last two places after making the playoffs the year before.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
3. Denver Nuggets
4. Portland Trail Blazers
5. Utah Jazz
The Thunder will excel with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, while the Jazz will miss Gordon Hayward. This is the hardest division to call.
1. Golden State Warriors
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Last year’s champions have only gotten stronger. The Lakers, Suns, and Kings will finish far below the Clippers.
1. San Antonio Spurs
2. Houston Rockets
3. Memphis Grizzlies
4. Dallas Mavericks
5. New Orleans Pelicans
The addition of Chris Paul will not be quite enough for the Rockets to get past the Spurs this year.
Full Western Conference
1. Golden State Warriors
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Houston Rockets
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
6. Los Angeles Clippers
7. Denver Nuggets
8. Portland Trail Blazers
9. Utah Jazz
10. Memphis Grizzlies
11. Dallas Mavericks
12. New Orleans Pelicans
13. Los Angeles Lakers
14. Phoenix Suns
15. Sacramento Kings
The Warriors will coast to the first seed again. The Timberwolves will finally make the playoffs this year. The Jazz will just barely miss out on the eighth seed to their division rivals. LaVar Ball’s prediction will not come true. The Lakers still are nowhere near ready for the postseason.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
1. Boston Celtics vs. 8. Detroit Pistons
The Celtics offensive firepower will be too much for the Pistons to handle. Kyrie Irving against the former Celtic Avery Bradley will be a matchup to watch. Celtics in 5.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 7. Miami Heat
LeBron James will dominate his former team. A hopefully healthy Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas will benefit the Cavs. Blowout. Cavs in 4.
3. Toronto Raptors vs. 6. Charlotte Hornets
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan make one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Serge Ibaka will abuse his matchup against Marvin Williams. Raptors in 5.
4. Washington Wizards vs. 5. Milwaukee Bucks
The lack of depth for the Wizards this season will hurt them greatly. John Wall and Bradley Beal will not be able to do enough to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo accompanied by a healthy Jabari Parker. Bucks in 6.
1. Boston Celtics vs. 5. Milwaukee Bucks
The Celtics will at first struggle with matching up against the massive Bucks team, but they will eventually figure it out. Scoring will lead the Celtics to victory. Celtics in 6.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 3. Toronto Raptors
Not much will change from last year. The Raptors may grab Game 4 after going down 3-0, but that will be it. Another simple round for LeBron and the Cavs. Cavs in 5.
1. Boston Celtics vs. 2. Cleveland Cavaliers
This series can go either way. The Cavs probably have the better talent, but the Celtics are hungry and young. The Celtics will use their run and gun offense and speed to wear down the older and slower Cavs. Kyrie Irving will make a clutch shot giving Game 7 to the Celtics. Celtics in 7.
Western Conference Playoffs
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 8. Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will have no problem scoring the ball, but no one will be able to defend Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. Same as last year. Warriors in 4.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 7. Denver Nuggets
Nobody on the Nuggets will be able to match up with Russell Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George will also score with ease. Thunder in 4.
3. San Antonio Spurs vs. 6. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will put up a big fight, and they probably have a stronger all-around team as opposed to last year. However, Kawhi Leonard will lead his team to a hard-fought series win. Spurs in 7.
4. Houston Rockets vs. 5. Minnesota Timberwolves
James Harden chokes in the playoffs. Chris Paul isn’t what he used to be. The Wolves have a nice mix of veterans and up and coming superstars which will give them the slight advantage. Wolves in 7.
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 5. Minnesota Timberwolves
A big series from Karl-Anthony Towns will not save the Wolves. The Warriors simply have too much class and talent all around. Warriors in 5.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 3. San Antonio Spurs
For the first time in his career, Carmelo Anthony will reach the Conference Finals. The aging Spurs will not be able to rely solely on Kawhi for this series. Thunder in 6.
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 2. Oklahoma City Thunder
I really want to see Durant get eliminated by his former team, but that’s not going to happen. He will have a spectacular series against the team he was never able to win with. Westbrook and the Thunder will put up a fight but to no avail. Warriors in 6.
1. Boston Celtics vs. 1. Golden State Warriors
The Celtics will have to wait at least another year to get their 18th championship. The Warriors have the better talent, experience, and depth. The fact that the Celtics match up so well to the Warriors will help a little, but this series won’t go the distance. Stephen Curry will win the Finals MVP. Warriors in 5.