With less than a month left for the 2020-21 NBA playoffs, most top teams will have one eye on the health of their players, although quite a few teams are trying to get into the postseason reckoning.
Both teams, along with the Milwaukee Bucks, are virtually guaranteed playoff seeds. On that note, let's predict the top eight seeds for the 2021 NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
NBA Playoffs 2021: Predictions for the top 8 seeds from the Eastern Conference
The NBA Eastern Conference is traditionally considered as the easier of the two conferences. Nevertheless, multiple playoff contenders from the East have emerged for postseason reckoning.
That includes the likes of the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets. While the Wizards never really recovered from a difficult start, the Charlotte Hornets have seen multiple key players succumb to injury in recent weeks.
Nevertheless, let's have a look at the top eight seeds in the playoffs from the 2020-21 NBA Eastern Conference.
#8 Miami Heat
Currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat have seen some absolutely phenomenal performances from Jimmy Butler.
Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo is on his way to becoming one of the best centers in the league, with Tyler Herro’s impressive performances off the bench and Trevor Ariza’s presence at the rim also coming in handy for the Miami Heat in the 2020-21 NBA.
Victor Oladipo would certainly have been a huge boost in the Heat's run-up to the playoffs. But the Miami Heat look set to make the playoffs this campaign.
Butler is producing 21 points, 7.3 rebounds and seven assists per game. He is also averaging 2.1 steals per outing and has improved his shooting efficiency.
#7 Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets have had a few stutters in recent games and are currently eighth in the NBA Eastern Conference.
They should see the return of the likes of Ball and Malik Monk just before the play-in tournament starts, so they could have the quality to embark on a deep postseason run.
Miles Bridges has been impressive, while Terry Rozier has led the team through their recent run of injuries decently.
#6 Atlanta Hawks
The return of John Collins has been huge, although the Atlanta Hawks recently lost Trae Young to injury. De’Andre Hunter is also dealing with an injury.
Nevertheless, Clint Capela’s defensive performances have been key for the Hawks this NBA season. The Atlanta Hawks have also looked very impressive offensively but have had their struggles at the other end of the court, despite Clint Capela's exploits.
Player injuries means that the Hawks could find it difficult to hold on to their fifth position in the Conference and slip down one rung to sixth.
#5 New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have been in impressive form in recent NBA matches, with both Julius Randle and RJ Barrett coming up with the goods.
Derrick Rose has settled in well as their standout fringe player, while Reggie Bullock has also been in top shooting form in recent weeks.
The injury to Mitchell Robinson could be a problem, with Nerlens Noel expected to become the Knicks' starting center for the time being.
The New York Knicks are currently fourth in the Conference but could make it to the NBA playoffs as the fifth seed from the East.
#4 Boston Celtics
Despite the Boston Celtics’ underwhelming season showing signs of life in recent weeks, they are expected to reach as high as fourth in the 2020-21 NBA Eastern Conference.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, along with Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart make for a highly impressive team, which at its’ best, is capable of challenging the best teams in the NBA. If their top stars remain fit, a deep run in the playoffs for the Celtics is not off the table.
#3 Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have not been as dominant as they were expected to be during the regular season. However, they have three of the best defenders in the NBA, with Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton making for a formidable all-round line-up.
The fact that Bobby Portis has found some brilliant shooting form to go with the impressive performances of Donte DiVincenzo this season means the Milwaukee Bucks should be able to hold on to their #3 spot.
#2 Philadelphia 76ers
If not for the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers would have been the favorites to finish top of the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid is a favorite for both the NBA MVP award as well as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Ben Simmons has been in terrific form as well, while Tobias Harris is producing his best ever season with respect to points per game as well as shooting efficiency.
In such a scenario, it may not be too big a surprise if the Philadelphia 76ers reach the NBA Finals this year.
#1 Brooklyn Nets
The emergence of the Brooklyn Nets super team means it is difficult to look past the Nets when it comes to any team topping the NBA Eastern Conference this season.
They have three of the best offensive players in the NBA and have able support players in the likes of Bruce Brown Jr. and Blake Griffin. Additionally, 23-year old Landry Shamet has also impressed massively in recent weeks.
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to make the NBA playoffs as the number #1 seed. While they do have multiple injuries currently, all their stars should be back on the court come the 2020-21 playoffs.