1. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season and won 57 games. With Kyrie Irving, and Iman Shumpert healthy to start the year, and now that the team does have better team chemistry after winning it’s first championship in franchise history under head coach Tyron Lue, the Cavaliers should be able to win more games than they did last season. Kyrie Irving is an all-star player when healthy, and played exceptionally well in last year playoffs. The Cavaliers will also be a more confident team now that they have won a championship together. The Cavaliers are the clear favorites to win the East again, and LeBron James can easily lead the Cavaliers to an NBA Finals appearance for the third straight year next season if they stay healthy.
2. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors last season finished with a 56-26 record and had the two seed in the Eastern conference. However, the Raptors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers four games to two in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Raptors finished with their best season in franchise history. If the Raptors can stay healthy this season, they may have a chance to secure the one seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors lost Bismack Biyombo, and Luis Scola in free agency, but they added Jared Sullinger, and drafted center Jokob Poeltl out of the university of Utah with their 9th overall pick in this years draft. The Raptors could possibly look to make a trade to bolster their roster, and they could contend with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference if they do make a trade before the trade deadline.
3. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics won 48 games last season, but with their addition of Al Horford, they will be more competitive in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season. The Celtics did lose Evan Turner, and Jared Sullinger in free agency, but Al Horford was an all-star last season, and they drafted forward Jaylen Brown out of the university of California with their 3rd overall pick in this years draft. Isaiah Thomas was an all-star for the Boston Celtics last season, and he will have a good chance to make the all-star team again next year. The Boston Celtics will have a good chance to win 50 plus games next season, and they are good enough to have a top three record in the Eastern Conference. Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge could look to make a trade before the trade deadline approaches.
4. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons last season finished with 44 wins and 38 losses, and had the eight seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons added Jon Leuer, Ish Smith, and Boban Marjanovic this offseason and those players will not start for the Pistons, but they can help the Pistons bench depth. The Pistons didn’t have a high playoff seed last season, but they were a really young team, and they also did not acquire Tobias Harris in a trade till later in the season. The Pistons did re-sign Andre Drummond to five years, and $130 million this offseason. The Pistons should have a good chance to have a top five seed in the Eastern Conference next season, and head coach Stan Van Gundy has turned this team around.
5. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers upgraded their roster this offseason. The Pacers added Al Jefferson, and Aaron Brooks, and they traded the 20th overall pick in this years draft for Thaddeus Young. The Pacers also received Jeff Teague in a trade that sent George Hill to the Utah Jazz. The Pacers last season finished with a record of 45-37, and had the seven seed in the Eastern Conference, and they came up just short last season in the first round of the playoffs losing to the Toronto Raptors in seven games. The Pacers should be a better team next season with the moves that they have made, but with Nate Mcmillan as the new head coach, and new players it may take them some time for the Pacers to gel. Paul George was an all-star last season, and was third team All-NBA, and he can lead the Pacers to a deep playoff run next season.
6. Chicago Bulls
After missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, the Chicago Bulls have made new changes to their roster. The Bulls signed Rajon Rondo, and Dwyane Wade but lost Pau Gasol, Aaron Brooks, and Joakim Noah in free agency. The Bulls traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks and the Knicks traded Robin Lopez and Jerian Grant to the Bulls to get Derrick Rose. If the Bulls stay healthy, they can be a playoff team next season, but it might be tough for the Bulls to flourish well with the new players that they have as of Rondo, Wade, and Lopez. They also have a lot of young players on their team now. The Bulls will look to have a more successful season after missing the playoffs last season.
7. Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets last season finished with a record of 48-34 and had the six seed in the Eastern Conference. They lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of last years playoffs in seven games. The Hornets added Roy Hibbert, Ramon Sessions, and Marco Bellinelli, but they lost Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin, and Courtney Lee in free agency. The Hornets will be a better team if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can stay healthy as he only played seven games last season. The Hornets should be able to make the playoffs, but they did lose some key players in free agency this offseason. Jeremy Lin had some big games for them last season, and Al Jefferson was a good low post scorer for the Hornets.
8. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks last season finished with 48 wins and 34 losses, and had the four seed in the Eastern Conference, but they lost some key pieces to their team this offseason. They signed Dwight Howard and Jarrett Jack in free agency, but they lost Al Horford, and traded away Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers for the 12th overall pick in this years draft. The Hawks can be a playoff team next season, but Dennis Schroder will have to step up as the teams starting point guard, and Tiago Splitter needs to stay healthy. The Hawks have gotten swept in the playoffs to the Cleveland Cavaliers last two seasons, and it does not look like the Hawks will be a better team next season after losing two of their key starters last season.