Last Season: 55-27, 2nd(4thoverall).
Eastern Conference Finalist
Expected Starters: Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jason Tatum, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown.
Boston were great last year despite losing Gordan Hayward & Kyrie Irving to injuries for the majority of the season. After being dubbed the underdogs in the playoffs they shocked everyone to beat Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers to reach the conference final, they went on to make on the Cavaliers and could have arguably made it to the NBA finals if it wasn’t for LeBron James. The defense of the Celtics was brilliant giving up an average of 100.4 points per game which was 3rdbest in the league. The offense only managed 104ppg but this season we can expect more from the Celtics with a fully fit squad and plenty of depth. They look to be top dogs in the Eastern Conference and we expect them to fly to the NBA Finals.
Last Season: 59-23, 1stin Conference (2ndoverall).
Reach Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
Expected Starters: Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka, Danny Green.
Dwayne Casey and the Toronto Raptors had an unforgettable season in 2017/18, they finished 1stin the East & had the 2ndbest offensive rating in the league. But a lot has changed since their devastating 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, Dwayne Casey was sacked and DeMar DeRozan & Jakob Poeltl were traded to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and a protected 2019 first round pick. Some people are surprised they chose to refresh the franchise after such a great regular season but if they want to make it that step further it was definitely the right thing to do. This season will be particularly interesting to see if Kawhi Leonard and Raptors veteran Kyle Lowry click, they will will be key should the Raptors be successful this campaign. Raptors will definitely be up there to challenge the 76ers and Celtics but I feel they will fall short and drop into 3rd (or below) in the conference.
Last Season: 52-30, 3rdin Conference (5thoverall).
Reach Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
Expected Starters: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz.
Philly made the playoffs for the first time since the 2012/13 season after drafting future Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and having a fully fit Joel Embiid after two years on the sidelines. They went on to finish the regular season unbeaten in 16 games and almost doubled their wins on the previous season. The Sixers team will no doubt be a strong threat for the NBA Championship in the near future, however they do need to add one or two players to improve their roster before they can be true contenders. I do feel they will be Celtics’ closest challengers in the East to finish 2ndin the conference ahead of the Raptors.
Last Season: 50-32, 4thin conference (6thoverall).
Reached NBA Finals
Expected Starters: George Hill, J.R. Smith, Rodney Hood, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson.
The Cavaliers were held together by the dominance of LeBron James once again last season, they had one of the worst defense’s in the league giving up an average of 109.9 ppg holding the 2ndworst defensive rating. They averaged just 24 wins in the past 4 seasons prior to LeBron’s arrival in 2014 but today’s team is uch better than the roster they had back then. It is likely that the Cavs will be in a head to head battle with the Detroit Pistons to make the playoffs this season with the arrival of Dwayne Casey to the Pistons being the deciding factor. Cavaliers will not make the playoffs this season however they should definitely look to hit 30+ wins as they still have some top talent in their team.
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