Hi Bucks fans! Every year, I project how I think teams in the NBA are going to do in the regular season, and I give myself a grade at the end to evaluate my foreshadowing capabilities. Sometimes, it goes really well, and other times, not so much. So, here is what I said regarding the Eastern Conference, with nothing held back.
To start, I’m going to rank the teams based on my (not Vegas’) preseason odds to beat the Bucks in a hypothetical playoff series. This way, we can see where I had them, and where they wound up in the standings. The final standings are in parentheses
Indiana Pacers: 10,000 to 1 (11)
Orlando Magic: 1,000 to 1 (13)
Detroit Pistons: 997 to 1 (15)
New York Knicks: 100 to 1 (5)
Washington Wizards: 50 to 1 (12)
Charlotte Hornets: 40 to 1 (14)
Chicago Bulls: 25 to 1 (10)
Toronto Raptors: 10 to 1 (9)
Brooklyn Nets: 10 to 1 (6)
Atlanta Hawks: 5 to 1 (8)
Miami Heat: 5 to 1 (7)
Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 to 1 (4)
Philadelphia 76ers: 2 to 1 (3)
Boston Celtics: 2 to 1 (2)
Milwaukee Bucks (1)
Honestly, I’m amazed at how well I did with this one too. If I bumped the Knicks all the way up to 5th, that would literally be about as close as anyone can reasonably get. Having Boston and Philadelphia tied with Cleveland not far behind is accurate, the quintet of Miami-Chicago is spot on too. Sure, I was down on Indiana a bit too hard, but they looked like they were about to trade everyone aside from Tyrese Haliburton. Now I’ll take a closer look at each team, by division.
I said that after Haliburton and rookie Benedict Mathurin, this team would need diamonds in the rough. Indiana did find a few, like Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith, but I really just think this team overachieved and the real Pacers were the ones right after Haliburton got hurt. I said they would definitely trade Myles Turner and would be stupid not to. The worst line I said was that this team, to sum up, would be lucky to compete with the G-League. Obvious sarcasm, but I thought this team would be completely awful. They were bad, but not that bad.
The weird odds were because I had them at 1,000 to 1, but then bumped them up slightly because of Bojan Bogdanovic. That didn’t really make a difference. Looking back, I was reminded that they brought in Kemba Walker, so that’s interesting. I mentioned they picked up some nice rookies in the draft, and that they might have a future brewing. Putting them ahead of Indiana, and barely Orlando, is not enough to warrant a bad grade here.
I like where I had the Bulls in relation to the rest of the NBA, but I’m not crazy about what I wrote in the post. I said that they have a chance at beating the Bucks, and while they have beaten the Bucks multiple times this season, I still don’t think they have a real shot. I did say they have drastic flaws and won’t be NBA Champs without any drastic changes, and I think I thought the Bulls would be similar to last year’s team, record-wise.
I said they had the best backcourt in the East, and that is true unless you think it is in Philadelphia with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey (I don’t). I said that I’m not “giving the edge here (over the Bucks), but really watch out for this team.” That was spot on. This is also the best non-LeBron team they have had since the early 90s. This prediction was nailed.
I said they would get Jonathan Isaac back to being a solid contributor, but aside from that it wasn’t terrible. I had them around the Pistons and said that with Banchero they look to take a step forward. I all but guaranteed no playoffs as well. Honestly, it was hard to mess this one up.
I had them 11th, and they barely finished 12th, but I also said some pretty wild things. I hyped up Will Barton, who got waived. I said they have depth in Washington. I said they were the East’s dark horse. I knew they weren’t going to be the best in the division or anything, but I was a bit too confident in them for a good grade. Still, the accuracy of where I had them in perspective to everyone else helps me.
Injuries were the problem here, I think. I did say that they are one big injury away from depth being a major concern; with LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward missing tons of time, among other players, that came to fruition. I liked them more than the Wizards because of their continuity, and I was accurate in stating I’m not as crazy about Charlotte as I was last season.
Again, I had them in the right vicinity, but for the wrong reasons. They were tied with Miami because of Atlanta’s abilities, and Miami was in that area because of their knack for always being good. I said that on paper this team is loaded, and while I still think they should have been better, I was definitely wrong here.
“Frankly it just doesn’t look like this roster is built to repeat what happened last season.” “They’ll find a way to stay competitive, and possibly win the East again, but I won’t believe it until I see it.” I think that is enough to show that I was absolutely correct about this Miami team.
This was the big mistake I made this season. I said that I wasn’t sure if Jalen Brunson would be enough to push this team forward that much. I did say what I thought would need to happen for them to be successful, and it did, but I just didn’t think it would. And while they didn’t do as well as Cleveland or Chicago did last season, they still made a significant jump.
I thought this team would be really bad last season, so I was a bit gun shy of thinking they wouldn’t be that good this season. I was a bit higher on them than I should have been, but I just was afraid of underestimating them again and looking stupid. I had them in San Antonio territory last season, but to be fair again, they are right about where I said they would be in relation to other teams.
“Health and sanity are the two main keys here, and I wouldn’t bet on them.” I think that sums up Brooklyn’s season, and I think if you look at the trades of their two best players as equivalent to injuries, that is what happened to their chances. They looked like they were coming back, but then insanity tore them apart and they are heading toward a rebuild.
I didn’t say a lot about the Sixers, but I will say that I was correct about their placement and this statement: “this team can beat the Bucks in the playoffs and may have the better team.” They don’t have the better team, but they have stuck around nearby all year long.
I would say that having Boston here as the best in the East besides the Bucks is fitting, and that’s all I really need to say.
Overall, moving New York up six spots and flipping Indiana with Charlotte solves all of these problems. That really isn’t bad, and it wasn’t like I was saying bad things about those teams. I was a bit higher than I should have been on Atlanta as well, but not in the standings. How do you think I did? Vote and comment below.
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