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Community Shootaround: Eastern Playoff Team Most Likely To Slide?

Last week, one of our Community Shootaround discussions focused on this year’s non-playoff teams in the East, asking which of those clubs had done the most to improve its roster so far this summer. The Knicks and Sixers received the most support, but several lottery teams got positive reviews from Hoops Rumors commenters for their offseason work.

Today, it’s time to look at the other eight teams in the East. The Cavaliers, Raptors, Heat, Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Pacers, and Pistons all earned spots in the postseason. How many of those teams will be back in 2017, and how many will drop out?

The Heat had the most notable departure of any of those eight playoff teams, when Dwyane Wade left Miami to sign with his hometown Bulls. But Miami wasn’t the only club to lose a notable player. The Hawks saw Al Horford depart, and the Raptors parted ways with breakout rim-protector Bismack Biyombo.

The Hornets and Pistons, meanwhile, managed to re-sign their own key free agents, including Nicolas Batum and Andre Drummond, and added some complementary pieces. But Charlotte, at least, will have to deal with some notable departures as well, including Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin, and Courtney Lee.

Finally, the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Pacers have all received solid reviews for their summer decisions — in Cleveland’s case, it’s simply enough to bring back most of the team that beat the 73-win Warriors for the championship. For Boston and Indiana, the changes are more notable — the C’s added Horford and No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown, while the Pacers brought in Jefferson, Thaddeus Young, and Jeff Teague, among others.

What do you think? Which of the Eastern playoff teams is most likely to slide down the standings in 2016/17? How many of these eight clubs do you expect to finish in the lottery next year? Is Miami the most obvious candidate to take a step or two backwards, or is there another team more in danger of underachieving?

Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the Cavs, Raptors, Heat, Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Pacers, and Pistons. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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24 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Eastern Playoff Team Most Likely To Slide?

  1. Gotta be the Heat. No DWade, big ? with Chris Bosh, lost Deng and Joe Johnson to free agency.

  2. slapnuts

    Definitely the Hawks

  3. aarongill

    Heat will slide.

  4. netsusck

    The nets. Cuz they’ll always suck.

  5. Raptors did sign a Demar Derozan, and added the Oliver Miller look a like in Jared Sullinger, the fall off defensive blocks will be made up by the increase of offense out of the PF position, let it be a 2nd team PF or C rotation player.
    Additionally, the ability to trust Norman Powell, will allow the starters to have an extra 3 minutes a game rest.
    A trade for a backup outside shooting 3 may occur as well.
    The Heat may not be as well off if Bosh does not come back from injury, but, with Whiteside and Tragic Dragic doing the pick and Roll and a high post game at the Elbow with Bosh, the teams offense utilizing the High Post/Low Post.
    Justine Winslow will be an upgrade over Deng, and Ricky as a 3 could be the driver that Wade use to be and 13 years younger.
    Josh Richardson is the outside 3pt. shooter that Wade was never able to be

  6. zmay718

    Hornets slip the most, Pacers take the biggest step forward. Celtics v Cavs Eastern conference finals this year.

  7. Heat. They are gonna start a rebuil by next year I guarantee.

  8. Can’t see the Heat in the playoffs. Charlotte & Atlanta are definitely sliding. Milwaukee,Knicks & maybe Orlando could snap those 3 spots.

    • Bondley 12

      I think the Heat are going to slide the largest with the Hornets and Hawks also sliding. The other teams should make the playoffs again.

  9. I think all the teams named will struggle, especially with Chicago and New York adding marquee free agents. Most of you guys are right; the Heat are losing a bunch and the Hawks are in a bad sitaution. My predicted playoff seeds for 2017: 1. Cleveland, 2. Boston, 3. Indiana, 4. Toronto, 5. Chicago, 6. Detroit, 7. Charlotte, 8. New York

    • hill

      That’s pretty good. I’m going
      1. CLE
      2. BOS
      3. TOR
      4. IND
      5. DET
      6. ATL
      7. NYK
      8. WAS

      CHA and MIA biggest falls.

      9. CHI
      10. CHAR
      11. MIA
      12. MKE
      13. ORL
      14. PHI
      15. BKN

      • danieldash428

        Washington in the playoffs??

  10. Heat and Pistons move out. Knicks and Bulls move in.

    • Larry Bird

      You are a fool. The Pistons have the best young core in the east and they added nice complimentary pieces.. Lol Knicks and Bulls..

      • lakersfan27

        I rather have Milwaukee’s young core.

  11. Connorsoxfan

    Charlotte and Miami slide the most. Celtics take another step if they manage to add another shooter and pick some someone in a trade. Doesn’t have to be super flashy like Westbrook, a couple tiers lower like Heyward or Rudy Gay would be good too.

  12. Michael

    Do see the Heat sliding. No D-Wade or Deng and who knows what happens to Whiteside now that he’s gotten paid.

    Don’t think the Hawks slide much – if at all. Dwight will be motivated to prove everyone wrong and he’s just 30 so he should have at least one “prove it” season in him. Going from Teague / Horford to Schröder / Howard should also be enough of a change to throw opponents off balance early while they show their hand.

    Don’t know on Charlotte. Part of me says they lost too much; part of me says they’ve replaced much of what they lost and could come out ahead. Defense is top notch with Hibbert and the return of MKG.

  13. Don’t understand all this love the Celtics get and the Pistons just get overlooked..They have the best young core in the east and the deepest rotation of any team.If there not a top 3 team in the east next season I’d be shocked

    • lakersfan27

      Milwaukee’s young core maybe a few years behind Detroit’s but I think they have a higher upside.

    • No way they’re top 3 in the East. Detroit has a good young core, but expecting them to go from 8 to top 3 is insane when all they really did was add more depth. You gotta remember that they play in possibly the toughest division in the East with the Cavs and Pacers (both of whom should be in the top 4-5 seeds), a Bulls team that could sneak into the playoffs (I don’t think the team will be that good, but it also wouldn’t surprise me to see them sneak in), and a rising Bucks squad (that could also sneak into the playoffs). Detroit is good, no doubt, but they’re probably looking at a seed in the 4-6 range. Barring any major injuries/blockbuster trades, the Cavs, Toronto and Boston should all finish ahead of Detroit. I have Indy also ahead of Detroit (but I’ll admit a slight bias being a Pacers fan) although I could see Detroit finishing ahead of Indy. But even if Detroit finishes ahead of Indiana they’re still a 4 seed at best.

  14. redsquar3d

    1. Cavs
    2. Raptors
    3. Celtics
    4 Hawks
    5 Knicks
    6 Indiana
    7 Heat
    8 Hornets

    Pistons will be lottery team next season, bucks might out seat hornets as 8th seed.

    • How will the Pistons drop from 8th seed to lottery? The team didn’t get any worse as they added more depth and guys that fit SVG’s system. If their core players take another step foward next year, they should be a top 6 seed. I also don’t see how the Knicks finish that high. Not saying the Knicks can’t make the playoffs…they should have a good shot, but if anything they squeeze into the playoffs. They still don’t have a bench, which is a huge concern considering the injury histories of Melo and Rose, and their style of play as a whole seems murky considering Hornacek said they were going to play a little bit of the triangle but also mix in his own style of play.

      • Rodney

        I don’t think Melo’s health is a concern, he played 72 games last season. Also Rose, Noah, and Jennings are all currently healthy so I don’t think Knicks finishing 5th is out of the question.

  15. AshtonLover

    Charlotte lost a good bit yes. They have replaced all of them with players of similar skill set. Also they have the core of the team still there. I don’t understand why they would be way worse this season

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