Every Eastern Contenders Greatest Worries

With the NBA Playoffs right around the corner, we are starting to see some teams breakdown as the season winds down, while others flourish. Each team has some worry, whether it be health or their star, they all have worries.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Biggest worries: Defense and rebounding

LeBron James (right) posting up fellow 2003 draftee and friend, Carmelo Anthony (left)

The Cavaliers have been great on offense, and that is expected as they have the best player on the planet steering their ship towards the promise lands. But teams have found a cannon ball to destroy this ship. They’ve found the weak spot on this team, and that’ sis their subpar perimeter defense. They’ve gone 5–5 in their past 5 games, and it can be pointed towards their defense.

They’ve ranked 18th in DREB%, with 76.1% since the All-Star break, to go along with the putrid 111.2 defensive rating, putting them at 29th, being ahead of only the Knicks. With one of their best post-defenders and rebounders out in Tristan Thompson, it will take more than just leading through with LeBron to keep this team floating.

Boston Celtics

Biggest worries: Rebounding and health

Al Horford (center) receiving high fives from teammates Avery Bradley (left) and Jae Crowder (right)

The Celtics lost two of their top rebounders over the offseason in Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner, and with the addition of Al Horford, a player plagued with bad rebounding, their rebounding was bound to drop. They’ve returned to their former defensive stature as a top 6 defensive team since the All-Star break, but that won’t save themselves from poor rebounding in the clutch.

They have jumped up to 14th in rebounding%, but with a 22nd ranked offensive rebounding percentage, this team will miss out on a lot of second chance points.

Washington Wizards

Biggest worries: Depth and chemistry

John Wall (left) attempts tough layup over Wilson Chandler (right)
“The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and sacrifice personal glory for the common goal” — Dave DeBusschere

John Wall and Bradley Beal should read that quote, and it looks like they did. On the court, the flashy duo has been great, and they’ve been great with little trouble. Off the court may be different, but John Wall said it himself;

“I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. … We got to be able to put that to the side. If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right … as long as you come to each other and talk. If I starting arguing with somebody I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball,”

This duo has to keep playing this way to make a deep playoff run as the bench won’t do much. Even with the addition of Brandon Jennings, the Wizards still rank 20th and 19th in offensive net rating and defensive net rating respectively. They need someone to step it up or the Hawks could make some type of run with some Tim Hardaway magic.

Toronto Raptors

Biggest worries: Health and turnovers

Teammates, and friends, DeMar DeRozan (left) and Kyle Lowry (right)

Since the All-Star break, the raptors have been shooting better and have become a middle of the pack shooting team. That should caused some raised eyebrows, but nothing to get worried about. What is really worrying is their turnover rates. The Raptors rank dead last in assist to turnover rates with 1.31 assists per turnover. That number is 0.10 behind it’s next closest opponent, the Nuggets. With DeRozan chucking up tough shot after tough shot, you can expect a quick ticket back to Toronto, and out of the playoffs, if they don’t fix some of these problems soon.

The team also struggles with injuries as Lowry went out for a 20+ game sit-out with a broken wrist, and although he did play well in his first game back, it does cause some concern going forward for the 30-year-old. DeRozan also was just diagnosed with “flu-like symptoms”, something that could keep him out for a game or two during the playoffs if serious enough.