By Evan Roberts, WFAN co-host
NBA PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: 2013-2014
1) Chicago Bulls — 60-22: When Derrick Rose was healthy the Bulls were the No. 1 seed, and they get back to that with a huge regular season. I also liked the Mike Dunleavy pickup, and they won’t need Nate Robinson to win them playoff games this year.
2) Miami Heat — 58-24: The Heat had an incredible regular season last year highlighted by their insane winning streak. I don’t think the No. 1 seed is that big of a deal for them.
3) Brooklyn Nets — 53-29: The Nets’ depth will let them rest the vets during the regular season. The real test starts in April.
4) Indiana Pacers — 50-32: It will be interesting to see what type of factor a healthy Danny Granger will be. Also will we see regular-season Roy Hibbert or the awesome one from last year’s playoffs?
5) New York Knicks — 48-34: I like the addition of Metta World Artest, but I think they take a slight step back from last year’s great regular season.
6) Detroit Pistons — 41-41: It’s an oddly put-together team with the additions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, but the development of Andre Drummond and leadership of Chauncey Billups helps them make the jump to the postseason.
7) Washington Wizards — 40-42: When John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene Hilario were healthy, this was a decent team last year. The addition of Marcin Gortat vastly improves the frontcourt.
8) Toronto Raptors — 39-43: A full season of Rudy Gay will help Toronto get over the hump and become a playoff team.
9) Atlanta Hawks — 37-45: Another hit to the playoff core by losing Smith. I like Paul Millsap, but they fall short of another playoff appearance.
10) Cleveland Cavaliers — 37-45: Everyone’s favorite breakout team will miss the playoffs. Can you really expect health from Andrew Bynum or Anderson Varejao?
11) Milwaukee Bucks — 36-46: The Bucks have a very formidable defensive frontcourt, but can they score enough?
12) Charlotte Bobcats — 33-49: Adding Al Jefferson actually gives them a real, proven NBA player to build around.
13) Boston Celtics — 33-49: The big question, of course, is when Rajon Rondo will come back. The sooner he returns, the more of a chance they have of surprising people.
14) Orlando Magic — 27-55: Things will be bad, BUT Victor Oladipo may win Rookie of the Year, so there is that!
15) Philadelphia 76ers — 17-65: On paper, they could be the worst we have seen. But because other teams are tanking too, they will win a few games by accident.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
(1) Chicago Bulls DEFEAT (8) Toronto Raptors, 4-1
(4) Indiana Pacers DEFEAT (5) New York Knicks, 4-3
(2) Miami Heat DEFEAT (7) Washington Wizards, 4-1
(3) Brooklyn Nets DEFEAT (6) Detroit Pistons, 4-1
(2) Chicago Bulls DEFEAT (4) Indiana Pacers, 4-3
(2) Miami Heat DEFEAT (3) Brooklyn Nets, 4-3
(2) Miami Heat DEFEAT (1) Chicago Bulls, 4-2
1) Los Angeles Clippers — 62-20: With a lot of depth, and a great X’s and O’s coach leading them, the Clippers will live up to the preseason hype.
2) Oklahoma City Thunder — 60-22: They will take it slow with Russell Westbrook, but will still cruise to another division title.
3) San Antonio Spurs — 59-23: Eventually they will get old enough to not be real good. This isn’t that year.
4) Golden State Warriors — 57-25: They may have lost out on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but getting Andre Iguodala is a pretty damn good consolation prize.
5) Houston Rockets — 53-29: Drama-free Howard will look like the pre- “Dwight-mare” Howard.
6) Memphis Grizzlies — 53-29: As long as they don’t deal Zach Randolph the way they did Gay, they will win 50-plus games.
7) Denver Nuggets — 49-33: They’re still a very deep team, but not as good and not as well=coached as a year ago.
8) Minnesota Timberwolves — 45-37: Injuries killed them last year. With health they will be a playoff team.
9) Los Angeles Lakers — 41-41: Obviously this one is dependent on the health of Kobe Bryant. BUT if he is healthy, they won’t be half bad.
10) New Orleans Pelicans — 39-42: This team has a pretty high ceiling. In fact, I wouldn’t even think twice of putting them in the playoffs … IF they were in the Eastern Conference.
11) Dallas Mavericks — 37-44: Lets face it: The great Mark Cuban screwed this one up.
12) Portland Trailblazers — 37-44: The bench will be better and I like the Thomas Robinson pickup, but it’s still not enough to make the playoffs.
13) Utah Jazz — 35-46: Does anyone really know what the Jazz are doing? They let Millsap and Jefferson go and just locked up Derrick Favors to an extension. Not sure what the plan is here.
14) Sacramento Kings — 33-49: I’m pretty sure he has the talent, BUT is DeMarcus Cousins sane enough to be a franchise player?
15) Phoenix Suns — 23-59: Not only are they tanking for No. 1, but they could potentially have four first-round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft!
Western Conference Playoffs
(1) L.A. Clippers DEFEAT (8) Minnesota Timberwolves, 4-2
(5) Houston Rockets DEFEAT (4) Golden State Warriors, 4-3
(2) OKC Thunder DEFEAT (7) Denver Nuggets, 4-2
(3) San Antonio Spurs DEFEAT (6) Memphis Grizzlies, 4-2
(5) Houston Rockets DEFEAT (1) L.A. Clippers, 4-3
(2) OKC Thunder DEFEAT (3) San Antonio Spurs, 4-2
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder DEFEAT (5) Houston Rockets, 4-1
2014 NBA Finals
Oklahoma City Thunder DEFEAT Miami Heat, 4-3
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