The 2023-24 NBA season is set to get underway Tuesday, October 24 with a doubleheader to open the regular season. The Eastern Conference had plenty of playoff surprises a year ago, headlined by the Miami Heat making a run to the Finals as the No. 8 seed. The top of the conference has seen some big shifts during the summer, with the Bucks and Celtics both making trades to cement themselves as the favorites to make the Finals. Here’s a look at how we think the East playoff picture and play-in tournament shakes out for the 2023-24 season.
Eastern Conference Playoffs predictions
1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Boston Celtics
5. Miami Heat
Eastern Conference Play-in predictions
10. Orlando Magic
The Magic will continue to make big jumps with Paolo Banchero, who should be in the running to make his first All-Star game. The Brooklyn Nets, who made the playoffs a year ago as the No. 6 seed, are likely to falter over a full season. The 76ers have some big problems with James Harden, which gives the Cavaliers a slight edge in the race for the No. 3 seed.