You could make an argument that the current preseason standings will be a close match to the standings at the end of the season.
1-2. Detroit, Orlando 6-1
4-5. Atlanta, Philadelphia
6-7. New York, Toronto
8-9. Chicago, Indiana
Everyone else: New Jersey, Cleveland, Miami, Milwaukee, Charlotte.
O.K. so Cleveland isn't going to finish 12th, and New York is not making the playoffs. But I feel pretty good about putting Orlando, Detroit and Boston in the top 3. Cleveland can fight Atlanta, Philadelphia and Toronto for the next four, and who knows what mediocre team will be the best of the rest.
My WAG prediction for the East:
1. Orlando -- Superman averages over 20 ppg, leads the league in rebounds, blocked shots. Shoots 70% from the line and begins an 8-10 year streak of finishing in the top 3 for MVP. New guards are an improvement, and are even better after a minor trade for another guard.
2. Detroit -- last gasp from this group.
3. Boston -- season derailed by an injury to one of their big 3
4. Atlanta -- Horford gets better in his second year and becomes one of the ten best players in the East.
5. Cleveland -- stays the same. Probably trades a third of their roster during the season again and loses to Atlanta in the first round.
6. Philadelphia -- Never assume great things when your best player is from Duke.
7. Toronto -- I love Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neil used to be great. And their coach still sucks.
8. Really, it could be any of Miami, Milwaukee, Chicago...