The reigning NBA champs, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are expected to make their 3rd straight finals appearance and LeBron James’ 7th finals appearance in a row. There has been a lot of drama with the Cavaliers locker room. Things like trades for Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron’s constant complaints that they need a playmaker. Don’t forget that they just won the finals, and they are still a very strong and competitive team.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 7, 2017
Indiana Pacers– The Pacers made a lot of off-season moves to try and contend with the Cavaliers. They brought in veterans Al Jefferson, Aaron Books, Thad Young, and Jeff Teague. These acquisitions added to the talent that they already had with all-star Paul George and 2nd year player Myles Turner, who shined in his rookie campaign.
The Pacers sit at the 6th seed and if the playoffs started today, they would face off against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals if both teams went all the way. Both teams have won a game in the season series so far at 1 a piece, but Cleveland appeared to out class the Pacers in both games. The Pacers don’t hold a very big threat, but it is possible that the Pacers can get past the Cavaliers.
Boston Celtics– The Celtics are becoming a relevant team in the past couple of years. Isaiah Thomas is playing out of him mind and their roster overall is playing phenomenal in all aspects of the game. The Celtics currently hold the 2nd seed in the East and should be there for the rest of the season, unless they can take control of the 1st seed from the Cavaliers.
A series between the Cavaliers and the Celtics will be a very interesting one. One team’s weakness is another teams strength.
The Celtics were knocked out in the 1st round last year by the Atlanta Hawks, so we didn’t get to see the 2 teams battle it out in a 7-game series. If both teams play like they have recently, they should meet sometime in the playoffs. In the East, the Celtics hold the biggest competition against the Cavaliers. They are just so versatile and can attack the Cavaliers weaknesses better than any team can.
Washington Wizards– The Wizards are expected to make the playoffs after their recent winning streak. Since December 1st, the Wizards 26-10 and have jumped from battling for a playoff spot to the 3rd seed in the East. If the Wizards meet the Cavaliers in the playoffs, the series could possibly go to 6 maybe 7 games after the Wizards showed they can handle the Cavaliers.
The Wizards may not win the series, but they can give the Cavaliers a hard time. Washington could very well be a finals team this year if their recent play continues throughout the rest of the season. The Wizards may have a very hard time in the playoffs as their current roster doesn’t have much playoff experience.
Tough one…. but 👏 for an unbelievable game and for a 17-game home win streak
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 7, 2017
Toronto Raptors– The Raptors made the series against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals go 6 games. Obviously, the Cavaliers came out on top of that game, but the Raptors gave them a hard time and not letting the series get away from them.
Toronto didn’t make many changes to their roster in the offseason as they only have 4 new players on their team with 3 of those being rookies. The Cavaliers should get past this team in 5 or 6 games in a series if they play each other. So, the Raptors don’t hold much of a threat.
Atlanta Hawks– The Hawks don’t hold a threat to the Cavaliers at all. If they meet anytime in the playoffs, expect it to be a sweep or maybe a 5-game series. Atlanta has shown they can win, but they can’t beat higher caliber teams like the Cavaliers.
Chicago Bulls– The Bulls thought that they had a very good chance at making the NBA finals this year after the signings of Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, but nothing has gone the way that they expected it to go. There have been many locker room controversies with Jimmy Butler and Wade against other teammates, and Rondo has been in many trade rumors. If the 2 teams meet in the playoffs, the Cavaliers should cruise past the Bulls.
All in all, the Cavaliers should be in the NBA finals once again, but there are teams that should scare them. Cleveland is just too strong to have much competition.