October 26, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger (33) controls the ball against Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) at Joyce Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Schultheiss-US PRESSWIRE

2012-2013 NBA Season Preview: Predicted Division Standings

Throwing together some power rankings earlier, and now it’s time to sort where teams will finish in their division.  This season some races could be very tight, like in the Central where I think the Pacers could take the division crown away from the Bulls.  There’s the battle of Los Angeles as well with the Clippers and Lakers dueling for supremacy in the Pacific.  Perhaps the most intriguing could be the Southwest Division of the Western Conference as you have the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and even the Memphis Grizzlies with a shot at the title.  Let’s see where each division stands.

*Teams are possible playoff teams.  

Atlantic Division

This is a tough division to predict as I could see four teams coming out of the Atlantic to fight in the playoffs.  Boston looks to be the best and deepest team, but an injury to Kevin Garnett could really mess things up.  How will the chemistry of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams work out?  How’s the health of Andrew Bynum?  If he doesn’t go, the Sixers might not even be a playoff team again.

1.  Boston Celtics

2.  Brooklyn Nets

3.  Philadelphia 76ers

4.  New York Knicks

5.  Toronto Raptors

Central Division

I am going to say the Indiana Pacers will be your Central Division champions, and just think  how long that’s been said.  Even thinking the Pacers have such a great shot at this hasn’t happened since about 2003-2004.  But with the Chicago Bulls losing Derrick Rose, the Pacers have to take advantage of that. They need to get a good lead in the division, and make a push for that second seed in the Eastern Conference.

1. Indiana Pacers

2.  Chicago Bulls

3.  Cleveland Cavaliers

4.  Milwaukee Bucks

5.  Detroit Pistons

Southeast Division

This feels like the Heat’s division to lose.  There’s no doubt they are the best team in this division and in the Eastern Conference.  But can they keep up the motivation to do well the whole season?  There will be a lull, where people are questioning them, so it’s important to just keep winning games, and not losing those games that they should win easily.

1.  Miami Heat

2.  Atlanta Hawks

3.  Orlando Magic

4.  Washington Wizards

5.  Charlotte Bobcats

Northwest Division

This could be a dog fight between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets if the Thunder lose their team chemistry that worked so well last season.  Losing James Harden hurts Oklahoma City as well, but they are still a tough team.  Perhaps the most intriguing team will be the Minnesota Timberwolves who faltered down the stretch last season after coming out of the games strong.  Healthy Kevin Love and healthy Ricky Rubio could be enough to push this team to the playoffs.

1.  Oklahoma City Thunder

2.  Denver Nuggets

3.  Minnesota Timberwolves

4.  Utah Jazz

5.  Portland Trailblazers

Pacific Division

The Lakers and Clippers will be battling for the top spot here.  Like any sports team, if they’re healthy, the Lakers should walk away with the division title.  But the Clippers could make it a dog fight to the end, and how fun would that be for fans of both Los Angeles teams?

1.  Los Angeles Lakers

2.  Los Angeles Clippers

3.  Golden State Warriors

4.  Sacramento Kings

5.  Phoenix Suns

Southwest Division

Three teams battling it out for top spot in this division.  The Mavericks might not be there after everything settles, but for now I am giving them a shot.  Getting three teams out of this division to the playoffs is not out of the question as well.

1.  San Antonio Spurs

2.  Memphis Grizzlies

3.  Dallas Mavericks

4.  Houston Rockets

5.  New Orleans Hornets

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