NBA Picks: Eastern conference playoff picks
NBA training camps will be opening across the country over the next week, and it’s never too early to take a look at where I think these teams will end up by the time the end of April comes around. All of the NBA Odds listed are the team’s odds to win the NBA championship, and their odds to win the east; courtesy of TopBet.
Even though I think it will be closer than some are projecting, the Heat will end up back on top of the east. I don’t think it’s a lock for them to have the best record in the NBA, but Miami is the crème of the crop in the Eastern Conference. Their prices at TopBet aren’t that bad if you want to bet them to three-peat. However there are several teams capable of giving them a run.
The return of Derrick Rose will place the Bulls right out of the top spot in the Eastern conference, a place they were for two years straight up until last season. If Chicago can stay healthy this season, they have as good a shot as any other team in the NBA to knock off Miami. Their bench has been redone, Rose is back, and if he and the core players can play more than 70 games this season the Bulls could threaten Miami.
The Pacers are a trendy pick to knock off Miami this season if it came down to it, but even with the return of Danny Granger, and the additions of CJ Watson and Luis Scola, the Pacers don’t match up well with Miami. Even if the Pacers beat the Bulls and get back to the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami out classes them and can take Roy Hibbert (Indy’s best weapon on both ends of the floor) out of the game.
I could see the Nets and Pacers flip-flopping here as well. It should be a very close race for the 2-5 spots behind Miami. Assuming the Nets stay healthy and can come together under Jason Kidd, they too will be a dominant force in the East this season. However there are a lot of variables right now with this team, and with all the veterans, I can’t see them higher than 3rd or 4th.
The Knicks could be on the last year of their window to win a title in the Carmelo Anthony era. The Knicks are even more reliant on veterans than their cross-town rival, and if a couple of key cogs like Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton or even Anthony himself goes down for a long period of time, home court in the playoffs is gone. Anthony could opt out after this season, and you can b set he will if Lebron James does as well.
- Detroit Pistons (NBA +20,000, East +8000)
This is where the east gets interesting. There are about six teams vying for three final spots in the East, and the Pistons seem to be the best of all those teams. The addition of Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith will be huge for this team, even if they deal one of their big men during the season. If Jennings and Smith can gel together with the young core they have, Detroit will definitely be back in the playoffs this season.
Cleveland’s addition of Andrew Bynum and the return of Anderson Varejao should vault this team right into the playoffs. Kyrie Irving is turning into one of the best young point guards in the NBA, and along with their young stars like Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson, this team is looking pretty good as long as Bynum is there and healthy, but he is reportedly missing training camp and the preseason.
- Washington Wizards (NBA +12,500, East +5000)
Because I like parity, the Wizards making it along with the Pistons and Cavs would make three new teams in the playoffs. With a likely healthier and much wealthier John Wall set to go for this season, the Wizards are good enough to make the playoffs. As long as Nene and other key veterans are healthy along with Wall and Bradley Beal, this team looks a lot like the other high upside young teams in the Eastern Conference. Don’t underestimate them with your NBA picks.