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This is no crazy talk by John Wall; the Washington Wizards have as good a shot as any team in the East to head to the playoffs in April. Like Chris Broussard hints at in this video clip, there are five teams all but locked into a postseason birth: the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Indiana Pacers.

This leaves three seeds wide open for the remaining 10 teams in the conference to battle for. Take a glance at the teams and their rosters… can we really count anyone out? Well sure we can, we can count the abomination that is the Charlotte Bobcats out. But that’s about it! 

Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics have all the talent that it may require to grab one of those last three seeds (even if Rajon Rondo doesn’t debut until December). Looks like I gave away my stance on the 2013-14 season, get a top pick! Loaded drafts like 2014 do not come along often, let alone come on the first year you decide to go into a rebuild. I think Danny Ainge knows this, and will put the C’s in the best position he can for the future, and not for this season. Jordan Crawford at point guard? Why not.

With that said, in no particular order, here are the three teams out of the East that will prove they have what it takes to sneak into the playoffs… and who knows, maybe even make some noise:

David Liam Kyle /NBAE/ Getty Images
The Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are returning their entire young core, which even after only 24 wins last year, showed impressive flashes. They only got 59 games out of their superstar, Kyrie Irving, who was still able to average 22.5 PPG and 5.9 APG. Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller round out the rest of the young studs that contributed last season. Lets not forget about rebounding machine Anderson Varejao either.

But the Cavs bulked up their roster significantly during the offseason; first by adding Andrew Bynum, a risky move. Personally I am not a Bynum backer, I do not think he can stay healthy nor do I like his attitude. Still, lets say he gives them 50 games at 80%... that will surely make a difference. On top of Bynum Cleveland also added Anthony Bennett with the number one overall draft pick in June. The 6’8 power forward has a lot of developing to do, but can at least be expected to contribute right away. And finally the Cavs reinforced their backcourt, bringing in the veteran Jarrett Jack to keep pressure on Irving and Waiters.

The Detroit Pistons: We have a completely unrecognizable team in the the motor city. So without getting too deep into it, let me just go over the roster the Pistons will be rolling out on opening night.
Getty Images/ NBA

Detroit has retained their two-headed monster in the frontcourt with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the building blocks of this team. Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva have stuck around. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell have been drafted. Oh and Corey Maggette, Chauncey Billups, Brandon Jennings, and Josh Smith have all been added. Don’t worry about last year, this is a new team.

Mark Duncan/ AP Photo
The Washington Wizards: Ask and you shall receive, John Wall. But in all seriousness the Wiz are absolutely talented enough to go out and get it done this season. Last year they posted a 5-28 record without Wall and a 24-25 record with him. So we are already talking about a .500 team with Wall healthy.

Give me a healthy Emeka Okafor and Nene and now we’re talking. We will have to wait and see what Bradley Beal and Otto Porter turn into, but in the meantime Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington are there to cover for them. Glen Rice Jr. could be a sleeper on this team.

Although not as deep as our previous two teams, the Wizards seem top heavy enough to fight their way in when healthy.

Follow Julian on twitter @BleedGreenBlogs

Julian Edlow 9/26/2013 05:04:00 PM Edit
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