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Who's In and Who's Out: Way too early playoff predictions

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I know the offseason is still going on and players will continue to sign - but let's be honest. The big chess pieces that will really impact games have made their moves and now it's in the 2nd or 3rd phase of Free Agency. So it is as good a time as any to look at how teams might shuffle up  in the playoffs for 2019...

Playoff Teams from 2017-2018:
Raptors - Fired head coach Dwane Casey
Celtics - Resigned Baynes, Lost Greg Monroe, Shane Larkin
Sixers - Fired Colangelo, Signed Belinelli
Cavs - Lost Lebron
Pacers - Lost Lance Stephenson
Heat - N/A
Bucks - Hired head coach Mike Budenholzer
Wizards - Traded Gortat for Austin Rivers, will sign Dwight Howard
Teams that tried but were just outside the playoffs:
Pistons, Hornets, Knicks
Teams that never tried:
Nets, Bulls, Magic, Hawks

How I see things shaking out:
Raptors, Celtics, Sixers, Pacers, Bucks and Wizards should all be back in the playoffs. The Cavs and the Heat are prime to fall out of contention. I seriously doubt the Nets, Bulls or Hawks will push for a playoff spot this year either. So that leaves the Cavs, Heat, Pistons Hornets, Knicks and Magic to fight it out for the 2 remaining seeds.

- The Cavs are rumored to be tryng to trade K.Love. If they do have a fire sale - which I believe they will - they will surely be in the bottom feeders.
- The Magic are still a hodge-podge of players that will take another year or 2 (if ever) to put things together.
- The Heat are trying to bring back Wayne Ellington right now. Rumors to be trying to trade Whiteside. All Red flags if they are a real contender.
- The Pistons hired Dwayne Casey as their head coach and will have a full offseason of trying to come together since they got Blake Griffin.
- The Knicks hired David Fizdale as their head coach and will be trying to have a playoff season to lure FAs in next years offseason.
- The Hornets and trying to bring in Tony Parker to lead their bench and have a playoff season to convince Kemba to stay next year. This is an all out Win-at-all-costs kinda season for us. Big gamble - if we aren't above .500 by trade deadline - look for Kemba to be moved.

^^^Out of the above group - I see the Pistons, Heat, Knicks and Hornets as the only viable options for the 2 remaining playoff seeds. If I had to bet a large sum of money on 2 of them to make it - I'd take the Heat and the Knicks (health is a major factor for the Knicks though).. Hornets could make it if Batum just returns to old form, Monk gets actual playing time and Willy shines..


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Brilliant..totally agree.  Good work dude!  Love the Tony Parker idea.

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I think you'll see the Wizards regress a lot.

They play a quicker pace game than us and they for some reason think it will be a good idea to incorporate Howard into their plans. That poo is gonna blow up on their face. I also don't like Rivers trade for them and I don't think their draft pick is going to contribute much right away.

Wall will get them to the playoffs but it'll be as a 7 or 8 in my opinion.

I also think the Heat will collapse this year. Whiteside gave up the team last year, Waiters is coming off a lengthy injury, Winslow hasn't taken the next step, and they may be unable the bring back Ellington who carried them at times last year.

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1-Celtics - Just a great, deep squad with incredible coaching
2-Raptors - #1 seed last year, lost nobody and won't have to face Lebron but once or twice a year
3-Sixers - Team coming together. As always, injuries are a huge factor here
4-Wizards - Wall was out for a huge last year, add Dwight to Beal/Wall/Porter - we got problems in our division
5-Bucks - They could collapse if the Jabari Parker thing doesn't go well this year - but Middleton/Giannis are great
6-Pacers - They over-achieved last year. Losing Lance might not be bad - but I think they come back to earth.
7-Hornets - Monk at SG, Batum at SF and MKG on bench. Who woulda thunk-it!? Success!!
8-Pistons - I can see it getting ugly with Blake vs Jackson/Drummond, but if they come together = too much talent.

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