The 2017-18 NBA schedule was released on Monday and with Eastern Conference odds being released on Tuesday, it's now time to project where teams will finish and rank the best teams in the East.
After falling one game short of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Wizards are determined to break through and solidify themselves as one of the top two teams in the East.
But as the regular season approaches, where do the Wizards rank among the top teams in the East? On Tuesday, CSN's Rob Carlin and Chris Miller ranked their list of the top five teams in the east.
Here's what they both went with as of Aug. 15. You can watch their analysis in the video player above.
Rob Carlin's Top 5 Teams in the East:
Chris Miller's Top 5 Teams in the East:
It's easy to look at the 76ers roster and think this team is the future. The 76ers just might be "the future," but the team's "Big 3" of Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons have played exactly zero games together and injury concerns have already stunted the growth of both Simmons and Embiid.
That's why the Toronto Raptors, with DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, should be in the No. 5 spot here.
Speaking of "teams of the future," the Milwaukee Bucks are the closest thing the NBA has to "The MonStars." Giannis Antetokounmpo is a fringe MVP candidate and the team has at least seven players with a wingspan of at least seven feet. But You need superstar players to carry a team, and Antetokounmpo is close, but not there yet. The Bucks should be in the No 4 spot here.
It's great to think that the Washington Wizards will be the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference. It's what every basketball fan in Washington, D.C. is hoping for. But until LeBron James has been unseated, it's hard — nearly impossible — to put any team above the Cavaliers. Perhaps a healthy Ian Mahinmi will make a big difference up front, a place the team needs help. But that is a big question mark. The bench is big question mark too. The team's "Big 3" of Wall, Porter and Bradley Beal can only do so much. The Wizards are going to be good — really good, hopefully — but as of now, it's hard to put them above the No. 3 spot.
The Wizards came up just short of the Eastern Conference Finals, falling to the Boston Celtics in seven games. The Celtics got a bit better this offseason,a dding all-star forward Gordon Hayward. Brad Stevens is widely considered one of the best coaches in the entire NBA, and if Isiah Thomas returns to form following a playoff hip injury, the Celtics should be locked in to the No. 2 spot in the East, which both Chris Miller and Rob Carlin agree with here.
Who knows if Kyrie Irving will be with the Cleveland Cavaliers by the time the playoffs roll around. And while LeBron James may not be in a Cavs uniform in 2018, he's going to be in uniform this season. And until a team is able to unseat the Cavaliers — the back-to-back-to-back Eastern Conference champions — you just have to put LeBron & co. in the No. 1 spot.
But that's whats fun about August. It's the silly season. It's all speculation. The Wizards very well could be the best team in the East. They brought the band back together and are trending in the right direction. There's no reason to believe they can't finish in the top two spots and potentially be the best team in the East.
By the time the new year gets here and the playoffs come into focus, we will finally know who is right and who is wrong.
But for now, speculation sure is fun.