We got NBA Playoff predictions here. So get your futures bets in, if you dare.
After an offseason with several exciting moves, the 2023-2024 NBA season has tipped off and the PG is pumped for it. As such, we have our way-too-early playoff teams predicted (with assured 100-percent accuracy)
1. Boston Celtics
With big moves made in the offseason acquiring KP and Jrue Holiday, the Celtics elevated their team to the top dawg in the Eastern Conference. Porzingis is going to open the floor up for Tatum and Brown and Jrue is going to provide defensive pressure and a more-than-serviceable offensive game. Tatum and Brown are going to do their thing. All I’m hoping for is an improved lefty dribble from Brown FFS. This could easily be a 60-win team.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
A team that once was the best offensive/defensive team in the Association has made several changes over the last few seasons, the biggest of all by trading for Damian Lillard. The Bucks are a supercharged offense, much like the C’s, but with a player who is nearly unstoppable in Giannis. Even on nights Giannis isn’t feeling it they will still have threats from Dame and Middleton. C’s vs Bucks are going to be fun games!
3. NY Knicks
They’ve tasted success in last year’s campaign - can they carry that momentum throughout the regular season and playoffs this year? I think they can, they’re a tough bunch. They might not have a superstar but they have a number of solid contributors who can do damage any given night. Josh Hart was a huge pick-up last year (+ 11.9 net rating) and adding more Villanova players can’t hurt. Soon Jay Wright will be side by side with Thibs. NY has the potential to pick up a superstar with a bunch of assets and low salaries.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
#2 in point differential last year and a strong core four in Mitchell, Garland, Mobley, and Allen could mean a dangerous team up in Ohio. I believe this squad is going to heighten their game in the 23-24 season and be a legit threat come playoffs. Max Strus was a nice grab this offseason, as he provides 3-point shooting and helps the Cavs spread the floor. Mitchell is so freakin’ hard to cover and he now has more options when the double comes.
5. Miami Heat
While nothing major happened in the offseason for Pat Riley, this team is fresh off a Finals appearance after acting as an absolute buzzsaw in the ‘23 playoffs. Well-coached with smart, hard-working players has paid off in South Beach. Jimmy Butler is still a killer and I fully expect a big trade to be made at the February deadline that could boost this team up a spot or two in the seedings.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
No team in the East is concerned about the 76ers in the playoffs since they always find a way to choke on it. They are loaded with talent and depth. Harden shipping out allows for the team to move forward. It's a small win for Philly because they don't have to deal with Harden's shenanigans, but all they got a few rental players and draft picks. Parting ways with PJ Tucker can hurt as he is a tough defensive player. This org just can’t figure it out despite all the talented players they've had. New HC Nick Nurse will do a great job, but ultimately, it won’t be enough for this group to go deep. The flopping technical will have a big impact on Embiid’s game.
7. Indiana Pacers
Remember the jumps the Grizzlies and Kings made in recent memory? This Pacers team could be that type of team. Haliburton is steadily improving and the Bruce Brown acquisition is A+. Sprinkle in a bevy of talented and young players who are also on the rise and you’re looking at a sneaky good team. Turner and Toppin are going to punish in the interior with a boatload of scoring threats from Haliburton, Hield, Mathurin, and Brown.
8. Orlando Magic
Call me crazy but I think the Magic will turn some heads this season. They sucked last year, starting 5-20, but then figured some things out and finished their remaining games above .500. Franz has proven to be a reliable scorer and continues to grow. Banchero, although inefficient, is a RoY and also looks better going into his sophomore season. The Magic have a slew of young guards to pick from, but who will rise to the top? I’m not sure right now. I do think this is a team to keep your eye on as it’s been a long time since they were at all relevant in the NBA.
Potential 8 seed. Chicago Bulls
A three-headed monster with LaVine, DeMar, and Vucevic - all good scorers. I really like this trio, but they're missing those good role players and bench depth. Sure, Caruso and Coby White are good players, but can they elevate their game enough to push this team into the playoffs? Will DeRozan want out? Will Lonzo ever play again? There are too many questions in the air for me to feel confident about the Bulls.
1. Denver Nuggets
Joker, Murray, and an improved/healthy Porter Jr. continuing off of their Finals win will be a dangerous team. Bruce Brown is a loss, but guys like Braun and Reggie Jackson can step up and fill the void. Not much to say here that a casual wouldn’t know.
2. Phoenix Suns
Durant, Booker, and now Beal - yikes. Lots of ball-dominant players who can score at will. Defenses will have a tough time with these guys. Front office moved Ayton for Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Keon Johnson, and Nassir Little. Stars + depth should equal many wins and a deep playoff run. Let’s see if Vogel can manage it all.
3. Golden State Warriors
The 2022 Champs took a punch from the Lakers in the playoffs and said, "we need to switch some shit up." Bye-bye Jordan Poole, hello CP3. Could this work out? The point god still gets it done and Poole can shoot your team right out of a contest, so I think it might be a good move. While I think the Warriors core is slowing down a bit (happy to be proven wrong), they seem to be developing young talent and filling in those gaps. Wiggins is still ballin’ and Kuminga is upping his level of play. I said it a while back, I think Kuminga could be a dominant player once he polishes his skill.
4. LA Lakers
LBJ is still a force to be reckoned with. The front office did their part in re-signing D'Angelo Russell, Rui, and Austin Reaves. Gabe Vincent was a huge pickup in my opinion. Vincent could be a starting PG on many teams and when Russell needs a break, Vincent is going to get it done. AD is always a big question mark since a dull wind could shatter this man. If the Lake-show can remain healthy, I see them once again being a threat.
5. Sacramento Kings
After ending a long playoff drought but unfortunately getting kicked around in the playoffs, the Kings are again poised for a good season. The front office didn’t make many moves, but adding Euro stud Sasha Vezenkov could be a huge game changer. After watching him, it looks like his game is adaptable to the NBA and various NBA offenses. Young, talented, eager, and gellin’, I think this team will send a team or two home early in the playoffs.
6. OKC Thunder
The future is bright in Oklahoma City! SGA is a bona fide star, Holmgren will make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball. Thunder fans are giddy for Josh Giddey, who’s a methodical yet effective guard. Add in RoY runner-up Jalen Williams and Dort and you’re looking at a team that can make a dent this year. The Thunder will spread the floor very well, especially if Holmgren can splash it at a decent clip.
7. New Orleans Pelicans
IF Zion Williamson can stay healthy this team can slay some teams in the playoffs. Zion is a savage, but the poor guy is constantly injured. They have three star players in Williamson, McCollum, and Ingram - they also have solid role guys around them with Valanciunas and Herbert Jones. They do need more depth with the injury history of Zion but let’s just hope he stays healthy. Ingram is a dynamic scorer and potential superstar who will be a matchup nightmare every night.
8. LA Clippers
Two superstars who barely play in Kawai and PG13, and a slowing down Westbrook are not ideal. They can be a dominant team but they need to be on the court for this to happen. Serviceable role players are nice but when they’re pushed to be starters they might not always rise to the occasion. This team's success almost 100% relies on health. Harden coming to town puts a wrinkle in things, as they will now have four dudes who love to smash the ball into the floor. Who will sacrifice?
Potential 8 seed. Memphis Grizzlies
Yeesh. It’s been turbulent for this organization since Ja started acting like an idiot and Dillon Brooks opened his mouth. Well, Ja is suspended for 25 games and Brooks was sent packing. Tough guard Marcus Smart and DPOY Jaren Jackson Jr. will provide a top-tier defensive mindset for this club. They’ve done a great job developing their young players, but I'm not sure they can carry the load. Let’s see if they hold it down until Ja comes back. The Grizzlies have the ability to be a great team, but until they mature, they’re going to be on the outside looking in.
Thanks for slogging through this. Remember, 100 percent accuracy.