Heading into the final stretch of the NBA season with playoffs around the corner, the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings are a mess with five teams vying for the final three spots. The Milwaukee Bucks still sit comfortably atop the conference and along with the Raptors and 76ers, have already clinched their playoff spots.
Updated Eastern Conference NBA Standings
1. Milwaukee Bucks (52-18)
2. Toronto Raptors (50-21)
3. Philadelphia 76ers (45-25)
4. Indiana Pacers (44-27)
5. Boston Celtics (43-28)
6. Detroit Pistons (36-34)
7. Brooklyn Nets (36-36)
8. Miami Heat (34-36)
9. Orlando Magic (33-38)
10. Charlotte Hornets (31-38)
11. Washington Wizards (30-41)
12. Atlanta Hawks (24-47)
13. Chicago Bulls (20-25)
14. Cleveland Cavaliers (18-53)
15. New York Knicks (14-57)
Updated Eastern Conference NBA Playoff Chances
(Projections and chances courtesy of FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO Projection)
Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers
Having officially clinched playoff berths already and with the Bucks having a firm grasp on the top seed in the east, the front of the conference looks to be fairly locked in. The Raptors have a sizable 4.5 game lead over the 76ers for the second seed, so we will likely see Milwuakee take the top spot while Toronto gets the two and Philadelphia the three.
As Good As In
Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons
All three of these teams have above a 99% playoff chance according to FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO Projections. Boston and Indiana in particular, while not having technically clinched a spot, are leaps and bounds ahead of the teams fighting for a playoff spot.
Fighting For A Spot
Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets
The bottom of the Eastern Conference is where things get really interesting. While Charlotte is for the most part out of the running, at this point, Brooklyn, Miami, and Orlando are all fighting for the seven & eight seeds. While Brooklyn should almost certainly make it as the seventh seed with an 84% chance, Miami and Orlando should battle down to the wire and are expected to end the year with the same record of 38-44.
Probably Won’t Make It
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks
The Wizards lost John Wall early and although Bradley Beal has played incredible as of late, his play alone hasn’t been enough to lift up the Wizards and he desperately needs help. The Hawks are simply a young team that wasn’t expected to make the playoffs. If anything, they were expected to fall into the next group, but have instead outplayed what most analysts predicted.
Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers
Looming over other tanking franchises, the New York Knicks headline this group. While somehow finding a way to stay competitive yet lose on a nightly basis, the young Knicks are putting on a clinic in how to properly tank. Cleveland and Chicago have both been miserable, yet New York holds the commanding lead on the best odds for Zion Williamson.