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2018-2019 NBA Team Season Preview: Eastern Conference

With the new NBA season upon us, basketball fans worldwide are excited to see it will pan out. Without further ado, let’s look at how we feel the Eastern Conference will shape up this season.

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are looking at another rebuilding season. Rookie Trae Young has a world of hype around him, and time will tell if he’s able to live up to it. The addition of veteran and future hall-of-famer Vince Carter is sure to provide the Hawks young locker room with valuable veteran wisdom and knowledge, but in no way shape or form is this team to be taken with even the slightest level of seriousness this season.



2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Very Low

Boston Celtics: Simply put, this is the season in which the Eastern conference is Boston’s to lose. With Kyrie Irving’s championship experience, Jayson Tatum’s all-star metamorphosis , a perennial Coach of the Year candidate in Brad Stevens, and an extremely deep roster to boot, Boston has all of the necessary weapons to take the next step this year. There shouldn’t be any reason why Boston doesn’t find themselves as Eastern Conference Champions in May, but time will tell if it’s enough to hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: High

Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn proved to be a more competitive team than many expected last season. Guard D’Angelo Russell looks to be a nice building block for the team’s future, and coach Kenny Atkinson is proving to be a respectable head coach in the league. This team is still lightyears away from being a viable threat. While this season should be an improvement, the Nets still have a long way to go in reaching the playoffs again.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Very Low

Charlotte Hornets: Charlotte is somewhat of a complex team to decipher. While they’re led by a talented point guard in Kemba Walker, trade rumors involving him swirled around the team at last season’s trade deadline. It would be immature to dismiss those rumors as nonsense, and if the Hornets don’t see an improvement in their record this season, we could very well see owner Michael Jordan begin a rebuilding process in Buzz City.



2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Low

Chicago Bulls: With the addition of hometown Jabari Parker over the offseason, the Bulls have a very young and promising roster. Alongside Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen, Chicago certainly has a bright future. For this season however, things will most likely be more of the same, as the Bulls are simply too young and inexperienced to reach the playoffs with their current roster.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Very Low

Cleveland Cavaliers: With Lebron’s departure from the The Land (his second in this decade), the defending conference champion Cavaliers will obviously be a weaker NBA team this season. Unlike 2010 however, the team isn’t left with an extremely dire situation roster-wise. Led by a familiar face in Kevin Love, time will tell if he can still channel his old Minnesota self. It will also be interesting to see the development of rookie Collin Sexton, who showed flashes of both talent and intensity in this year’s summer league. Cleveland’s days of main-eventing the NBA in June are unequivocally over, as at their ABSOLUTE BEST, they are a fringe 8-seed in the Eastern Conference. And even that’s a generous thought to have regarding this team.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Low

Detroit Pistons: The hiring of last season’s coach of the year award recipient Dwane Casey was a great move by the Pistons. Detroit finally has a proven coaching leader on their staff, and with Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin leading the team, Detroit seems poised to return the NBA postseason for the first time since 2016. While that may be refreshing for Pistons fans to hear, comparing Detroit’s top talent to the top talent of other Eastern Conference threats gives indication that the furthest Detroit can go this season is a 1st-round playoff knockout.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Low



Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo’s emergence into a bonafide NBA All-star last season was a saving grace for Indiana after losing Paul George. Oladipo will keep the Pacers talented enough to continue reaching the playoffs, but without any more additions of high-level talent, that is all that Indianapolis can expect of their team this season.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Low

Miami Heat: The Miami Heat have been a major player in the Jimmy Butler trade sweepstakes over the past month. Even if Pat Riley is able to pull this trade off, it still won’t be enough for Miami to once again be taken seriously as a title contender. Hassan Whiteside showed in last year’s postseason that he may not be a capable leader of an NBA team, and even in the weaker NBA conference that will prove to be an issue. Dwayne Wade’s swan-song season will be both entertaining and heartbreaking to watch, but the most Miami can hope for this season (with or without Jimmy Butler) is an early Playoff knockout.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Low

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are on the verge of being a dominant force in not only their conference, but the NBA as well. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Superstar in the making, and much to the chagrin and fear of other teams, he’s only getting better. The hiring of talented coach Mike Budenolzer gives the Bucks some much-needed credibility on their coaching staff, and complementary players such as Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, and Malcolm Brogdon will give Antetokounmpo some respectable pieces to work with. While not quite a serious threat yet, this season will give Milwaukee the chance to not only grow more as a group, but build up their reputation as a team to keep a close eye on in the very near future.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: 50/50 Shot

New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis’s ACL tear shattered any chances of the Knicks making a leap in the standings this season. Rookie Kevin Knox showed great promise in this year’s summer league, and should develop into a tremendous NBA player with time. David Fizdale’s hiring as Head Coach was an outstanding move for the Knicks, and from the outside looking in new GM Scott Perry seems to have the right mind frame for New York’s future. Without adequate talent this season however, the Knicks are most likely destined to again find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference come April.



2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Very Low

Orlando Magic: Orlando hasn’t been taken seriously in even the slightest sense since Dwight Howard’s departure in 2012, and unfortunately for Magic fans this season should be no different. Rookie Mohamed Bamba is on course to develop into a solid NBA player, and new head coach Steve Clifford is a respectable hire for the franchise. Talent-wise however, Orlando doesn’t have enough to make noise in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier are fine players, but it’s simply not enough to lead the Magic into the playoffs.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Very Low

Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers are one of the more entertaining teams in the NBA. Led by their young 1-2 punch in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia undoubtably has a bright present, and an even brighter future. How successful they end up becoming, however, relies on one key component in particular. Markelle Fultz. Fultz, the former number one draft pick in 2017, has faced some road blocks in young career (injuries, lack of a consistent jumpshot), but he still looks like a promising player. Embiid and Simmons are extremely talented, but Philadelphia is still one high-level piece away from joining the upper echelon of NBA teams. Fultz’s development, in many ways, could be the biggest determinant in whether or not “The Process” was truly a success.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: 50/50 Shot

Toronto Raptors: Toronto has been on the cusp of making a championship run for the past few seasons now, but always fell short against the juggernaut known as Lebron James. With James taking his talents west however, things may finally be in place for a Raptors finals appearance. Adding on the fact that they replaced Demar Derozan with Kawhi Leonard, and it’s safe to say that the hype is real in the great north. Letting last season’s coach of the year Dwane Casey walk was a questionable move, but new head coach Nick Nurse was the brainchild of the team’s offensive system that has brought them success over the recent years. If Kawhi can prove to be the same MVP-caliber player he was for the Spurs, and team cornerstones Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas can continue their excellent play, then (at the minimum) Toronto has no excuse not to reach the conference finals.
2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: High

Washington Wizards: The Wizards are a team that struggle with consistency, and quite frankly it’s always a challenge to predict how their season will pan out. Led by an exceptional all-star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, Washington has the talent to a special team in the east. Last season, however, we saw veiled cracks in their shield, with team members hinting at the possibility that they didn’t like playing alongside Wall. While these rumors were (and remain) simple speculation, it does lend credence to the questions of why this team can never break through to make a deep playoff run. The addition of Dwight Howard should be a good boost on the teams’s defensive side, but it’s not a big enough move to make the Wizards a serious title contender. If this season proves to be more of the same for Washington, it would not be far-fetched to see either Wall or Beal traded next offseason.

2018-19 NBA Championship Hopes: Low

-Ashanti Seabron


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