Community Shootaround: East Also-Rans

All of the major offseason moves have been made. Training camp is just around the corner.

We will soon find out whether those changes improved some of the also-rans last season. In terms of the Eastern Conference, the seven teams that failed to reach the playoffs approached the summer in many different ways.

The Heat made the boldest move. They got a commitment from one of the top free agents, Jimmy Butler, and turned it into a sign-and-trade. Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside were sent packing in that four-team swap and Miami also acquired reserve big man Meyers Leonard.

The Hornets lost their All-Star point guard Kemba Walker and worked out a sign-and-trade with the Celtics to acquire Terry Rozier. The Wizards resisted trade overtures for Bradley Beal and replaced injured John Wall with stopgap veterans Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas. They also declined their option on Jabari Parker.

The Hawks continue to embrace improvement via lottery picks, adding De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish to a young core that includes Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins.

The Bulls added point guard Coby White in the draft but also acquired another guard, Tomas Satoransky, via sign-and-trade and inked veteran forward Thaddeus Young to a three-year deal.

Kevin Love remains on the Cavaliers’ roster for the time being but they’ve decided to build around young players. They surprised many people around the league by hiring Michigan coach John Beilein to spearhead that process.

The Knicks struck out on the major free agents, so they signed a bunch of second-tier free agents — Bobby Portis, Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton — on short-term contracts after drafting point guard RJ Barrett.

That brings us to our question of the day: Which non-playoff team from the Eastern Conference last season is most likely to make the postseason and why?

Please take to the comments section to voice your opinion. We look forward to what you have to say.

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9 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: East Also-Rans

  1. DynamiteAdams

    I think the Heat. They were the closest last year and with Butler I think they are at least on par or better then the Magic now. The Hawks have a dark horse chance but everyone else is treading water this season.

  2. hiflew

    If I was a betting man, I would put my money on the Hawks. Although if “none of the above” was an option, I think it would be the favorite. The Heat got the big name, but I truly believe that Jimmy Butler is the most overrated player in the NBA. Aside from last season, he has made a career of being the top scorer on a 35 win team. I don’t really see him as leading the Heat to the playoffs, although they do have the benefit of being in the weakest division in the league.

    The Wizards could be a factor if IT has a major rebound season and Hachimura’s game translates well to the pros. Even the Hornets could pull a shocker if their consistently underachieving players can gel. Basically anyone in the weak Southeast Division could be the answer simply because they get to play the Southeast Division more than any other teams.

    • Chucktoad1

      I’m with you, no one in the bottom tier of the east has made the right moves to challenge the Magic or the Pistons game yet.

  3. Jeff Zanghi

    I think the Knicks could make a run at the 8 seed… I don’t see them being much more than a .500 record or so… but in the division/conference I think that might be enough to get them in. Just based on how much “depth” they have – I don’t see them really emerging as a favorite to win anything but I also don’t see them being terrible unless a handful of the guys they brought in all fail to live up to expectations. But assuming guys like Morris and Randle can play like themselves – I see the Knicks as having a good shot at 40-45 wins, and like I said I think if they can manage to be on the high end of that total… 43/44 wins would probably give them the 8 seed. Honestly though – the same could probably be said for the Heat or Hawks as well. I don’t see any of these teams running away with a playoff seed. But any of those 3 could win 45 games or so and thus grab a 7/8 seed and make the playoffs.

  4. x%sure

    The Knicks will win with physicality, goaded on by the MSG crowd. The Heat and Hawks should be better.

  5. richard1-2

    I’d LIKE TO SAY NYK, but they always seem to find a way to screw it up. So, I’d say: either the Wizards or Heat. Magic might slip back. Wizards could overplay and end up 8th in the east. Heat as well. We’ll see in April!

  6. richard1-2

    Pistons will be a bottom feeder playoff team. Too good w/ D-Rose n Griffith. And co.

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