Atlanta Hawks Can Make the Playoffs in a Weak Eastern Conference

John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks Playoffs (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images) /

Eastern Conference Outlook

There seems to be a consensus top three teams in the East: the Raptors, Celtics and Sixers. These teams are talented across the board, and we won’t cover them here because they are virtual locks to make the playoffs.

After them there is a definitive drop-off. Next in line seems to be the Pacers. They surprised everyone last season, finishing with 48 wins in their first season sans their former face of the franchise, Paul George.

Expect John Collins to Make a Leap in 18-19. light. Rising Sophomore

A repeat of last season’s success is reliant on Victor Oladipo proving last year wasn’t a fluke, and Myles Turner continuing his rise into the group of elite big men. ESPN has them sitting at a 98.7% chance at postseason play, but they aren’t quite a lock because this squad hasn’t had lasting winning seasons just yet. Pencil them in for now… just maybe don’t use a pen.

The Wizards and Bucks should have enough star power between them to each make the playoffs. MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo carried his team to the seventh seed last year, but the expectation is new coach (and familiar face) Mike Budenholzer is an improvement over the coaching circus the Bucks had last year.

Washington is once again led by their dynamic back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal, with Dwight Howard joining the fold as well. The problem with these star-led, top-heavy teams is injuries. One bad injury to any of the names above could tank their entire playoff hopes.