The NBA tips off tonight, launching us into an intriguing season both at the top of each conference and also at the bottom as teams jockey for position for Andrew Wiggins ("Waiting for Wiggins") and multitude of door prizes that will join him in the draft next summer.
It wouldn't be a proper website without predictions based on nothing but gut reactions. So, without further adieu, here are the predictions from Celtics 101.
1) Miami Heat: Too good, too much talent, but the group of teams behind them is going to make for some fantastic games this season.
2) Indiana Pacers: Paul George is on the rise, Danny Granger is still hurt, a new bench might make this a viable team to threaten the Heat.
3) Chicago Bulls: Might be a player short. Still seeking that scorer for the end of games to complement Derrick Rose. Jimmy Butler and his flat-top are also on the rise.
4) Brooklyn Nets: They're hear due to growing pains. We saw it last year and we'll see it this year. Paul Pierce and Kevin Gernett will need to find their roles and Jason Kidd will have to figure out how to coach guys he is friends with.
5) Atlanta: This team seems like it just plugs away in this spot every year, no matter who leaves. The same case this year.
6) New York Knicks: An interesting team. Amar'e Stoudemire should be traded, Andrea Bargnani won't play defense, and will J.R. Smith validate last season with another good one? Oh, and then there's Carmelo Anthony and the media storm that his free agency will provide. Another exciting year in New York!
7) Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving will prove that he is a top-5 players, leading Cleveland into the playoffs for the first time since the decision. The only thing that would make it better would be a first round match-up with Miami.
8) Washington Wizards: It's been years in the making, but this team is rounding into shape. John Wall needs to stay healthy, or a 9-10 seed is in this team's future.
9) Detroit Pistons: This is the perfect team to hang around and wait for either the Cavs or the Wizards to slip up. They have some solid players, a fantastic set of big men in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Josh Smith is an interesting addition, will be prove himself more valuable than Atlanta thought?
10) Toronto Raptors: Another intriguing team. They finished strong at the end of last season following the Rudy Gay trade. Kyle Lowery is looking to make up for a lost season last year. They have athletes in DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson. Jonas Valanciunas could be the most improved player at the end of the season.
11) Milwaukee Bucks: Looking at this roster and comparing it to the teams in the 7-10 slots, it very clear that the last two playoff spots are wide open. O.J. Mayo and Caron Butler are good players but are there enough shots to go around? Brandon Knight could be a solid point guard and Ersan Ilyasova shot 45% from behind the arc the past two seasons. Not bad.
12) Charlotte Bobcats: Yes, they will be better than the Boston Celtics. Ugh. They have some youth in Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If Kidd-Gilchrist could learn to shoot he could be a very solid player in the league. Until then, the will not be.
13) Boston Celtics: The more we look at this team and listen to the national media discuss it, it is just apparent that the pieces do not all fit together. Boston fans also love to talk themselves into players. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley are two perfect examples. They are role players that this team needs to be leaders and stars, carrying the offensive and defensive load. Brad Stevens will learn a lot this year, which will benefit him and the team down the road.
14) Orlando Magic: There are a ton of "Magic" we could pull out. We'll spare you. This team is not good, Victor Oladipo will be one bright spot.
15) Philadelphia 76ers: Holding off on Nerlens Noel could be a great move for the future of the team.
Eastern Conference Finals:
Heat over Bulls
Check back later today for the Western Conference, NBA Finals, and individual award predictions.
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