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A way too early look at potential NBA standings

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This could all change and I’m sure to be wrong.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, yes, I know. The offseason isn’t over yet. The ink is still dry on many contracts and some haven’t even officially been signed yet (nothing is wrong with the Hayward deal, the Celtics are just going through the proper steps).

Lots of things can and will change between now and the start of the season. I’m sure some of these generalizations and guesses will be wrong. But just for fun, let’s take a look at how the standings might shake out next season.

Note: I’m actually going to cheat by lumping teams into larger groups rather than actually ordering them 1 through 15.

East:

Playoff locks: Celtics, Cavaliers, Raptors, Wizards

I don’t see the top 4 from last year changing. Celtics got better, Raptors had a solid offseason, the Cavs have LeBron, and the Wizards stayed the same (just more expensive).

In the mix for the playoffs: Bucks, Pistons, Hornets, Heat, Sixers, and maybe the Pacers

The Bucks are an interesting team that could sneak into the top 4. The Sixers are still young but they’ll be fascinating to watch. The Hornets and Pacers might be sneaky good. Not really sure what’s going on in Detroit or Miami but they have talent and coaching.

Tanking or just really bad: Hawks, Bulls, Knicks, Nets, and Magic

Hawks are starting to look like the worst team in basketball. The Knicks have become a derogatory verb. The Magic are stuck in neutral. The Bulls are rebuilding. Starting to get kind of crowded down in the basement so the Nets will have plenty of competition for the worst record.

West:

Playoff locks: Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Thunder, T-Wolves

Gotta give credit to these Western contenders. They didn’t just punt because of the Warriors. They are doubling down and taking their shots. Good for them. Will be interesting to see how the Wolves grow into legit playoff contenders.

In the mix for the playoffs: Jazz, Blazers, Nuggets, Pelicans, Clippers, and maybe the Grizzlies

Not really sure how the bottom half of the playoff bracket will shake out, but each of these teams has talent and a shot at respectability.

Tanking or just really bad: Suns, Lakers, Kings, Mavs

The Suns and Mavs are willing to admit that they are tanking. The Kings went out and got a few veterans but I think they will still be bad. The Lakers have some improving young talent and have added some decent pieces. In the West they still won’t sniff the playoffs but they might not be the worst of the worst.

Celtics’ Draft Picks

One of the main drivers to this conversation was to figure out where our picks could land next year.

By my count, there are going to be 9 teams in the running for the worst record in the league. I think the odds are pretty good that the Nets are in the bottom 5 and we get that pick no matter where it falls. The Lakers pick is more complicated. Remember, we only get it if the pick lands between 2 and 5. If it doesn’t convey next year, we’ll get the better of the Kings and Sixers picks in 2019. Either could still be bad by then, but I’d rather get a top 5 pick this coming year than roll the dice on the future once again. So do what you always do and root against the Lakers!

Now is the point where you tell me how wrong I am about this in the comments section below. Enjoy.