Blogtable: Playoff teams falling

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Best place for Wiggins | Playoff team due for a fall | Superstars without a wingman


> Which of last year’s playoffs teams is in for the biggest dropoff in ’14-‘15? One in each conference, please. And to make it tougher, let’s not include Indiana in this discussion.

Dwight Howard and James Harden (Bill Baptist/NBAE)

Dwight Howard and James Harden (Bill Baptist/NBAE)

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: It’s important to know what constitutes a bigger dropoff: A slide of several spots while staying in the bracket or a fall of a place or two that takes a team out of the postseason entirely. In the East, I think Miami drops a few spots with LeBron gone and has to play from down under in the first round. But Brooklyn, whose weird one-season mojo needs an overhaul now, might slip out of the top eight entirely. In the West, Houston looks ripe for a fall to seventh or eighth after its poor offseason harvest. The Rockets’ best players bring talent but that team needs more heart and better locker-room leadership. Roll up your sleeves, Trevor Ariza.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comBrooklyn. Paul Pierce is gone, Kevin Garnett is wavering and Deron Williams might be through. Welcome back, Lionel Holllins.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comIn the East, isn’t the obvious answer Miami? I mean, there’s no LeBron. And Luol Deng, while a solid two-way player, is no LeBron. Really, every other East team in the playoffs last season, with the exception of the aforementioned Pacers, should be on the rise. The West is a tougher call, but let’s go with Houston, which loses perfect-for-its-system small forward Chandler Parsons and a huge chunk of its bench. The pressure is on James Harden and Dwight Howard to be team-first leaders.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Western Conference: Houston. I don’t think it will be a big drop off, but Chandler Parsons is a hit for a team that was facing increased scrutiny anyway after losing in the first round despite home-court advantage. Eastern Conference: Miami. If the Pacers are removed from consideration because it’s too obvious an answer with the Paul George injury, the Heat are not far behind for a quick response.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: In the East, it has to be Miami, for obvious reasons. They should still be a very good team, but without LeBron James and if Dwyane Wade misses another 20-plus games, they’re probably not in the conference’s top four anymore. In the West, Houston will suffer offensively with the departures of Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons, two of their best playmakers last season. And if either James Harden or Dwight Howard misses 10-plus games, they could be in serious trouble, because neither of those guys has a legit back-up.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: This is a tough one without Indiana in the mix. In the Eastern Conference, Miami has to be the candidate to take the biggest tumble based solely on the loss of LeBron James and the fact that no one will be slotting them in the top two for the 2014-15 season. That said, I think the Heat will remain among the playoff elite in the East. They just have to get used to life on a floor other than the penthouse. No one in the Western Conference wants to give up an inch, making it much tougher to crack the top eight on that side of the conference divide. The top three — San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the LA Clippers — should remain the same, in whatever order. That leaves the Houston Rockets as the most vulnerable to an attack from teams trying to climb into that top four. The Rockets could conceivably be just as good or better than they were last season and finish lower in the pecking order in 2014-15.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogMiami in the East. I really like Luol Deng and feel like he was one of the more underrated free agents this summer, but replacing LeBron and everything he did on both ends of the court is basically impossible. And can Dwyane Wade stay healthy enough to produce for 82 games, or is he only going to be able to play 50ish games again this season? And in the West, well, I don’t know. I feel like those teams are pretty much locked in atop the conference. The one team I think will be most interesting to watch will be Golden State. Mark Jackson brought so many intangibles to that team, and I am curious to see how Steve Kerr uses Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and how he’s able to get that roster to buy into his system.

74 Comments

  1. rocket says:

    why is everyone hating on the rockets? Ariza is a nice replacement for parsons and lin was inconsistent rockets will be better next season if Harden/Howard stay healthy

  2. jimbo says:

    The East is easy. No George and Stephenson means Indy will slide big time, possibly all the way to 8th seed. Miami at best will finish with home court in first round. West is easy too. Houston’s miss on Bosh killed them when Chandler signed elsewhere. They will be battling for the last playoff spot. Lakers… another year missing the playoffs…boy that was a tough one !

  3. mee(a)t says:

    You people are gonna be surprised when the Heat play

  4. Kirby Record says:

    Indiana drops the most; Heat second in the East. Houston and OKC drop the most because Spurs will still be there in first or second, and Warriors and Mavs will do better. Mavs may take the Spurs this time. They only need to win one more.

  5. steve` says:

    the team in the east will be the nets they have nothing left come on now k.g. even though he was one of the best is done devon is done the only one left is lopez Indiana without George and Stephenson will finish in sixth maimi will finish infifth Cleveland will finish in third maybe second the wizards will finish second or first Atlanta will be there in the west by far Houston will fall the furthest dallas will stay the same san antiono willfall a little clippers will improve Portland will improve golden state will remain the same but the two teams that fell the most Houston and pacers

  6. Diago says:

    I was never a Heat fan. Heat was good because of Lebron’s . Every team in NBA has few good player. Heat in big hole for long with big contract for Chrish. Lebron’s is truly a KING with his ability as well very good player. I am NBA fan for 15 years.
    I am sure Lebron’s is the BEST basketball player ever.

    • Starsleeper says:

      So you missed Jordans career entirely, didn’t you? So what are you saying? Jordan was so dominant he went to play baseball to have a challange in his prime, and after that he took the challenge of comming back. Otherwise he would have had 8 rings. I can’t imagine Lebron doing the same.

  7. james says:

    Houston Rockets will do better than last year. They got rid off all their problem players. It is a new roster with 2 1/2 super stars.

  8. Alan Hollway says:

    Everybody calling a big drop for the Heat and Rockets should think again. The Heat in my opinion will not fall back very far at all whilst losing Lebron James is devastating it gives the opportunity for D-Wade and Chris Bosh to take over in tandem and they have a strong support base on the bench this year. The rockets may have lost the lottery for James and Anthony but have pricked up Ariza and that is where most of their problems were last year, three point shooting. The interesting issue for the Rockets is whether Howard performs as a true team player because if he doesn’t then they will decline. The only two teams headed for the slippery dip are the Nets and Pacers in the east, the status quo will remain practically the same in the West with the Spurs retaining their roster and hoping for the repeat. The team that may drop back is the Thunder if K.D is thinking about where he is going to be in 2016, he may not be totally focused? The East will be Cavs vs Bulls and the West Spurs vs Warriors – I am going for the warriors as an outside bet only because I am interested to see what Steve Kerr can do with this group.

    • young los says:

      The east will b heat vs knick and the west will be spur vs okc. Okc will b champions this year kd is in his prime and lebron decided to leave a championship caliber team to start fresh. Kd will show lebron his error

  9. I actually think that Miami will remain at the top 3 in the east, they’re still enough dangerous with the roster they have, even with out Lebron. Dwayne Wade simply will have to step up and to fill in Lebron’s place and become the leader once again. Surely this is not something he can do by himself so the other teammates will have to share the load but overall I think Miami is capable of adjusting to stay a top contender at least in the eastern side.

    If you ask me Indiana is gonna get hit harder and I think Paul George’s injury will definitely cost them 3-4 spots down lower in the Playoffs.

  10. Yeli says:

    Miami will still be a top 4 team

  11. i dont know weither to choose heat or cavs ive been a heat fan since lebron came so help me

  12. harriethehawk says:

    In the Leastern Conference The Knicks will continue to stink. The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets will take a huge nose dive. The teams to watch? Hornets and Wizards.

    In the Western Conference, I agree, the Houston Rockets will probably stink. The Grizzlies and GSW will take a (not huge) nose dice. Watch out for Dallas and Sacramento, I think they will be in the game talks this year!

    • Valid point. says:

      Knicks weren’t a playoff team last season and with the discussion being about play off teams dropping off you cant really mention them. Other than that I do agree with your teams to watch, with the exclusion of Sacramento, I think they’ll improve but not to a playoff level yet.

  13. Maaz says:

    Did everybody forget about Indiana without PG and Lance who’s gonna lead the team? They are gonna fall the most in the East
    GO RAPTORS

    • Starsleeper says:

      yes, everybody forgot about Indiana, because they were way too obvious and were excluded from the question!! reed everything before you comment so you don’t have to ask something like this.

  14. young los says:

    Miami made lebron. Kevin love is no chris bosh and irving is no d wade. Ppl predict that the cavs will b at the top dont b surprised if lebron dream team doesnt make it happen. I respect lebron amd his decision but the players he surrounded himself with dont know what is to b champions. All they could do is dream about being champions. Miami heat will remain the same competitive team that they are.

    • jkrich says:

      I don’t know if that is entirely true. You have a point though. Very little of Cleveland’s roster is champions. But they have younger players who have a great potential and a great work ethic. People doubted the heat would ever win another championship after losing In 2011. And kyrie Irving could well replaced wade now that wade is out of his prime and kyrie is getting into his. But we’ll see

      • young los says:

        D wade could ball up kyrie anyday. Its experience that matters n the spurs have prove that to every team young player dont have the experience. U will see that the cavs wont win cuz every superstar likes to shine but lebron likes to shadow them

      • DenH says:

        Very little of clevelands roster has any defense whatsoever, they may light it up on a nightly basis, but be prepared to watch opponents do exactly the same..

    • Ricky Snyder says:

      You’re right, kevin love is no chris bosh…. He’s better.

      • young los says:

        Where his ring at

      • jkrich says:

        Not by much though. Chris put up huge numbers whenever wade and James sat out. Not only that but they WON! Kevin love is great but does too much. He can’t produce wins like he does with numbers, and as we all know, numbers don’t win championships.

      • epiloni says:

        Err… Kevin Love hasnt even scratched a playoff match yet in his entire career. To me that tells something about being an elite player.

  15. Robert says:

    Houston never gets any respect!!! Everybody thinks they will be #8 seed. Rockets will be just fine….just watch

  16. Johnnie says:

    Funny, all predict the Heat will fall without Lebron. We won a ring without him. So long as we have Pat Riley running the show, we are in line to win more! Go Heat!

    • Syce says:

      they won a ring when it was Wade and Shaq.

      • young los says:

        They won with shaq correct but did shaq play like d wade. NO shaq help d wade but wade won it basically himself. D wade just got fatter thru out the years n thats whats slowin him down but shaq didnt win that ring for d wade.

      • hell no says:

        Young los’ foolishness is wayyy above his head. he never said anything against wade. He said Wade “AND” Shaq. it’s true that Wade did Shine in the 06′ Championship. Its now on the Coach’s System. Wade is not getting any younger. Hope to see him adjust his game, even though i miss the old ,means ” younger” wade.

    • Marc says:

      Yeah, y’all won a ring without LeBron. But let’s not forget a certain center that was brought to the team to make that happen *cough cough* Shaq! Don’t act like Wade did that by himself or that team was doing something when they didn’t have Shaq or LeBron…

    • Precious says:

      LOL!!

    • jkrich says:

      You’ve gotta remember that the heat won without lebron when wade was playing like he really was 23 and not playing like he’s 39 when he’s really only 32. Now I’m not saying dwyane can’t improve his game to better than what it has been lately, but I am saying we only have one player in Miami who is still in his prime. And he hasn’t been given much opportunity to be the superstar of the team anyway. And it’s Chris bosh! Even when wade and James sat out of games to get rest, bosh carried the load and they still won games. So if bosh can do what he’s done in the past with wade and James on the bench, then Miami’s in good shape

  17. In my eyes, the Nets are clearly a better regular season team than 2013/14.
    They’ll get to the playoffs if no one is hurt more than 20 games.
    So I dont really get those saying they are the most decreasing team this year… ??

  18. Kevin Moore says:

    Chris bosh is not worth all that money bosh should have took a pay cut that they can bring more people to help them win a championship

  19. Kevin Moore says:

    The cavs is goin to be the top team in the east who can stop LeBron, kyrie, and Kevin love at one time in one game nobody stopping them

    • jkrich says:

      Well their defense is terrible so actually any team with a good defense could beat them

      • gcp441 says:

        The Cavaliers will be more of a better defensive team then some people think,you can add Shawn Marion to the Cavs roster soon and all he does is play defense.Back-up Point guard Matthew “Delly” Dellavedova from Australia is a pain in the neck to anybody he guards, his work efnic and hustle can only rub off on the whole team.And the Wild Thing Anderson Varejae his motor never stops,and of course Lebron everybody knows he can play defense,just by himself Lebron can make the Cavs a better defensive team.

  20. Woah! says:

    People are going to be surprised with how well Miami will do

  21. sirsparhawk says:

    Ha aside from pacers Id have to say its gotta be nets. They have no one worth noting, even the heat have 2 all stars and future hall of famers. West is in my opinion Houston as well, sound reasoning on those.

  22. Keijzer says:

    Miami will surprise everybody. Bosh and Wade will have to step it up. Deng will compensate for a part of the void left by LeBron. Danny Granger will show that he can still play and at center they have a good upgrade.
    I think they’ll end up second after Chicago. This team will prove it can win without Lebron. They are a more balanced team than last year.

    • CARRY says:

      I agree with you.. Fans Looked at miami falls when Lebron left. But if youre going to observe about their roster? They be one of the elite team in East Conference and might have better spot than Cavs. They have this Chemistry, Better Roster and a Coach. Do the spurs have a Best Player on the planet? Its their chemistry + experience + Coach.

  23. I have a question fro the journalist and Media:
    Was the Miami Heat among top ten teams of all time?

    My list is this:

    Bulls 96
    Bulls 91
    Lakers 87
    Lakers 2000
    Lakers 80
    Celtics 85
    Spurs 2014
    Heat 2012
    Pistons1989
    Lakers 2010

    • hell no says:

      Really? HEAT 2012. the LOCK-OUT CHAMPS.

    • Lezerick says:

      Miami is in trouble they have chris bosh who couldnt win really in toronto in the eastern conference on team bye his self while all the negative comments about the big 3 in Cleveland irving is good player who gonna benefit of not having to score as much has a chance to be all star point guard year in year out hes never had another great player on his team just like d-wade no shaq no playoff wins really kevin love is a baller he has great offensive talents he is the best rebounder in the league hands down never had any other player he could count on to get minnesota over the hump the western conference has been boss for years now we all know if lebron could make wade bosh good n miami what could he do with legitimate stretch 4 and legitimate point guard waiters and d-wade at this point in his career is just about the same player waiters shoot better wade gets to line more irving alot better then chalmers kevin love is better then chris bosh better rebounder and shooter while he has some defensive problems bosh does also miami no center really varejo is decent idk Clevelands Big three has about the same if not more potential then miami did

  24. CLINT MC says:

    Miami is not going to drop like many people predict.
    1. Now that Lebron is gone, they can play more like a team, because if you pay attention that when Lebron have the ball everything stop and wait for what he’s going to do next.
    2. Deng is not Lebron but remember Lebron was in Miami and they still didn’t win it all. Deng is 70% Lebron, and imagine a healthy Danny Grainger and a healthy Dwayne Wade
    3. Miami will play better without Lebron
    4. The problem with Miami is the coach. Spoelstra is not the coach for Miami

    • CARRY says:

      Then who u think better fit for the Heat to coach? I mean Coach spo fought like a genius with Spurs POP in 2012. He might not be Spurs POP genius but he’s better coach than other teams.
      Top 3 Coach for me last 2014:
      1.Spurs POPovich
      2.Clippers Doc River
      3.HEAT SPOelestra

  25. nets fever says:

    Whats with everyone hating on the nets???
    -didnt resign 37 year old paul peirce
    -got much much younger
    -brook lopez is back
    -dwill will finally be healthy for once since signing with the nets
    -jarett jack will be a spark off the bench

    sheesh

  26. Patrick says:

    Everyboby think that Lebron was the only player on the Miami Heat roster last season. I agree he is at the top (with KD) as the best player in the NBA but Miami added more players capable of producing more wins and also more bench help. Miami will be one of the top 3 teams in the East with the Bulls, Bobcats, and Wizards. I really don’t think Cleveland will be the top team in the East. The Spurs proved that it takes a team to win on a consistant basis.

    • Flexy says:

      Finally someone that knows basketball. Its funny how qucik everyone jumped off the Miami Wagon once LBJ left, however many are quick to forget that he was held down by KL in the finals. The fact is it was about time someone got in LBJ’s face and didn’t back down, with that said I still beleive Miami is a top contender especially if D-Wade does what he says he is doing which is slimming down and getting healthy. People also forget Bosh was an animal when he was on the Raps, he now has a chance to take that lead role again and might just be way better than the last couple seasons. Miami will get further than the Cavs, and thats being real

      • jkrich says:

        I agree with you, flexy on!

      • DenH says:

        Cavs have 0 defense at all… it would be really interesting to see what lebron could do with a solid rim protector around him but he is going from a decent defense in miami to absolute 0 defense in cleveland, none of that starting 5 besides lebron actually cares about D

    • Its the HORNETS, please dont mention that name anymore :)))

  27. Danny says:

    I could have sworn this disscussion was already covered after lebron left…. Sure miami lost their best player but we did pick up potential players who can add to a better, deeper squad. Hopefully wade stays healthy, granger plays like his old self and bosh steps it up

  28. Paul, Ireland says:

    Portland

  29. NBA Fan says:

    New Jersey is one and done. If not for being in the east, they wouldn’t even make the playoffs this year.

  30. bodjee says:

    East Nets and west Rockets.

  31. slider821 says:

    everyone mentioned Miami but only one mention of the pacers? Sure Heat lost lebron but gained Deng. I think bosh is being underrated.

    Pacers on the other hand lost Paul George and Lance. I expect pacers to fall harder than Miami. Pacers miss playoffs, miami makes 6-8th seed is my guess.

    • nspang says:

      Look at the main top where they mentioned the question. They said not including Indiana.

    • Read The Question says:

      The question clearly states “lets not include Indiana in this discussion”

    • Jamma says:

      Pacers will contend since Larry Bird is going to hire an acting president and with vengance, he’ll be on the court shootin’ 3s in Lebron’s face. Jamma Jammma

      • manuel Mercado says:

        HEY CLINT I’M 100% AGREE WITH YOU.. SPOELSTRA HAVE TO BE MORE CREATIVE AND USE MORE OFTEN THE BENCH SPECIALLY THE PLAYERS THAT COULD BE DEVELOPED AS STARS LIKE HAMILTON.