I went through the #8 Seed contenders for the Eastern Conference from Boston all the way down to Washington (not including Charlotte). I went through them and took into account what I've seen from each of these teams, where the game was held, etc., and predicted all of the games, and what their final record would be. Here they are:
Boston Celtics: Current Record- (21-23); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (18-20); Projected Final Record- (39-43). Of course, no one is exactly quite sure what to expect from this team in the second half, with Rajon Rondo being out for the season with an ACL injury. This team has already been sub-par and fallen below their expectations for the season, and have been losing a lot of games lately, and I predict them to, even without Rondo, go at about .500 for the rest of the season. That's because they do have quite a bit of "cake walk games" on their schedule, and also, this is a "big-game" team, and while they probably won't win most of their remaining "big" games, they should probably be competitive in them.
Philadelphia 76ers: Current Record- (18-25); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (20-19); Projected Final Record- (38-44). .418 isn't a bad percentage for a team that has had their starting center out for the entire season and has only had to work with Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown. It's been up to stars Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, the Sixers' talented back court, to take them to where they are today. It's no doubt that it's been a fairly rough start to the season for Philadelphia, but Sixers fans are expected to get good news soon, that Andrew Bynum will be returning soon. When Bynum returns, there will most likely be a few chemistry issues, but this team will most definitely be better. With him (and his eccentricities in hair) back on the court, this team can surely go at or above .500 for the remainder of the season, but with multiple meetings with playoff teams such as Miami, the Clippers, and Atlanta remaining on their schedule, it will be a hard path to get there.
Detroit Pistons: Current Record- (17-27); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (16-22); Projected Final Record- (33-49). From a Washington Wizards perspective, the Detroit Pistons aren't a team to really worry about, other than a couple of meetings coming up on the schedule. This Detroit team does not have a lot of talent at all, and quite frankly, is far from being a playoff contender, much less getting any wins in the playoffs against a #1 seed, where as some of the other teams on this list could get anywhere from 1-3 wins against a #1. That being said, they have greatly overachieved their expectations for the season, but still don't really have anything to take that next step into the postseason. The Pistons don't have any players that jump off the page at you. Possibly their best player is Kyle Singler, while their most-well known player, Andre Drummond, is coming off of the bench. Andre Drummond is a rebound machine, averaging about 7.3 RPG in about 22 minutes per game, and is still rapidly improving. There is a lot of room to build around him, and Detroit fans should be happy about the future. However, there seems to be no hope on the Pistons' 2013 Season.
Toronto Raptors: Current Record- (16-28); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (8-30); Projected Final Record- (24-58). Toronto has had a "not good, but not horrible" start to their season. They do have 16 wins this season, however, they don't have any marquee wins against marquee teams. Arguably, their biggest wins this year have been a nail-biting, low-scoring, 2-point win against Indiana, and a 5-point victory over the woeful Lakers. They have a lot of tough teams remaining on your schedule, and when you also take into consideration that they have multiple long road trips, they do not have an easy second have schedule by any means, and that is why they should only win about 8 games for the remainder of the year.
Orlando Magic: Current Record- (14-29); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (8-31); Projected Final Record- (22-60). Charlotte is obviously the worst team in the Association right now. However, they aren't alone. The Orlando Magic have made the postseason for the past six season, and after the soap opera that was the 2012 season, the franchise has tanked. They lost their only star in Dwight Howard, and they do not have much talent outside of JJ Reddick. The franchise is in complete re-building mode, and there is no where to go but up for the Magic franchise. They have 14 wins on the season, but have been an embarrassment otherwise. They also have a lot of tough games against playoff-caliber opponents left in their remaining schedule, so they will not be any threat to teams seeking the #8 seed in the East.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Current Record- (13-32); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (13-24); Projected Final Record- (26-56). This is a franchise that has a lot to build around, and for good reason. In just his 2nd season, Kyrie Irving has already broken out as an All-Star point guard, with all of his flashy moves and scoring abilities. However, Cleveland just does not have any pieces to compete for a playoff spot this season. They won 13 games in the first half of the season, all of them thanks in part to huge performances by "Uncle Drew." I predict they will win another 13 games this season, and Kyrie Irving will continue to have his almost-common 30+ point games. If they had a couple of pieces around him, they may well could be a title contender, but without that, the Cavaliers aren't even a playoff contender.
Washington Wizards: Current Record- (11-31); Projected 2nd-Half Record- (23-17); Projected Final Record- (34-48). This is a new Washington Wizards team. This isn't the team that started the season 0-11. This is a Washington team that has its franchise player back and with him, quite a bit of confidence. When you add in the confidence boosters such as buzzer beaters against the Thunder and Trail Blazers, this is a team that is playing playoff-caliber basketball. This team may very well not win 23 more games this season, but one who has had a close eye on the Washington Wizards as of late may very well be able to argue that this is the team that definitely deserves to be in the playoffs this season. It would take an extremely steep mountain for the Wizards to climb for them to end up making the playoffs, but if they continue to play the way that they are playing, anything is possible, against any team in the Association.
*Note, Washington has just now lost to the Sacramento Kings*
Who will be the #8 Seed in the Eastern Conference?
Boston Celics (9 votes)
Philadelphia 76ers (25 votes)
Detroit Pistons (4 votes)
Toronto Raptors (1 vote)
Orlando Magic (0 votes)
Cleveland Cavaliers (2 votes)
Washington Wizards (17 votes)
58 total votes