Clearly, the ultimate seeding outcomes have made my controversial (and probably wrong) pick of the Bulls to come out of the East completely outdated. The odds of Chicago beating Miami, and then beating the Cavs, and then beating Detroit are incredibly low and I'm not very glad I didn't put my money where my mouth was the other day. Thus, my playoff bracket.
In the East: Detroit over Orlando, Cleveland over Washington, Toronto over New Jersey, Miami over Chicago. Then Detroit over Toronto and Miami over Cleveland. Then Detroit over Miami. I'm fairly confident in all of these predictions except that Miami's skillz sort of come and go according to the team's focus level and I wouldn't be shocked to see them drop either of those series. The seeding situation in the East has now made the odds gap between Detroit and its rivals significantly bigger than the gap in objective team quality. I think Cleveland is a paper tiger.
In the West: Dallas over Golden State, Phoenix over LA, Houston over Utah, San Antonio over Denver. Then things get hairy. I don't have the balls to predict anything other than Dallas over Houston and San Antonio over Phoenix, but my confidence level in those predictions is very low. Then, I guess, San Antonio over Dallas.
In the End: I suspect that, paradoxically, the much lower quality of play in the East will result in a fairly fresh and quite legitimately good Detroit Pistons team facing off against an exhausted Western Conference champion and thus take home the title.
Gambling Observation: Houston is almost certainly undervalued at 7 percent, where they're currently trading at Tradesports whereas the Nuggets are widly overvalued at 2.3 percent. The idea of Denver beating the Spurs, then the Suns, then the Mavs in succession is absolutely absurd and could only be accomplished by deploying flying pigs. In an ideal world, however, Denver does defeat San Antonio and goe on to face Phoenix in an awesome fast-paced matchup.