Current Eastern Conference NBA Playoff Outlook

Current Eastern Conference NBA Playoff Outlook

Rodney Knupp
3 years ago
2 min read

If the NBA playoffs started today, the Cavaliers would not be in. And that’s quite alright. Is it disappointing? It is without a doubt. But, it gives the team more opportunities to see the guys they have on the floor as they play games with the stakes a little lower. The 2021 NBA Draft class will be loaded.

Let’s examine the situation in a crowded East.

4-6 Seeds

As things stand at this moment, the Heat and Hornets are six games behind the Bucks for the #3 spot. There’s a bit of a break from Milwaukee to the other teams in the conference. The separation of the elite to mediocre/middling playoff team is right there.

Charlotte occupies the four seed, but with Gordon Hayward out a month and LaMelo Ball possibly done for the year, there’s a good chance they fall. Miami is starting to hit their stride, as they have now won four ballgames in a row. Atlanta is also right there, just a half-game behind those two teams.

The Hawks will be without John Collins for the next week, but given the strong play of Bogdan Bogdanovic of late, they might not even miss him. They just won a game with Trae Young out. They will be okay.

These three teams are the final three that would be locked in to playoff spots if things began today.

The Next Tier

The Celtics, Knicks, Pacers, and Bulls would be seeds 7-10 if the play-in tournament began today. As currently scheduled, it would open on May 18 as the final four seeds battle for the two remaining playoff spots. This adds intrigue without a doubt and will do a great job in the long run of limiting tanking and keeping teams focused on more wins as the year goes on.

Boston’s star tandem of Brown and Tatum make them very tough to beat. Indiana will start to figure things out as Caris LeVert gets more comfortable. And when Julius Randle is on, the Knicks are tough to beat. The Bulls maintain a one-game lead over a Raptors team that is 1-13 in its past 14 contests. With Nikola Vucevic in the fray with Zach LaVine, the offense should start to click.

Once the Raptors have both Lowry and VanVleet healthy, they should be able to start winning some games and figuring out where they stand. It is very hard to say who would win the head-to-head if these teams played high-stakes games. But boy, would it be fun.

Where the Cavs Stand

After you take Orlando and Washington out of the mix, you have the Cavs, the #14 seed in the East. They have lost five games in a row and now sit three games behind Chicago. They are one 6-7 game win streak away from being a play-in possibility. This remains highly unlikely, though.

Sexton and Garland continue to play great ball, as the other players around them are either: A) getting injured or B) not producing consistently. Once the team can figure out a good five-man lineup and dependable bench rotation, they’ll be set. As of now, though, another year in the lottery.

Share article on: