As a Nets fan, they are by no means a lock for the playoffs. Are people forgetting how mediocre this team was last year? Sure, they definitely improved, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. I think they'll make the playoffs though.
1. Miami Heat
2. Boston Celtics
3. Indiana Pacers
4. New York Knicks
5. Brooklyn Nets
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Philadelphia 76ers
8. Toronto Raptors
Honestly the 8 seed is wide open. Chicago isn't as deep as they were the past two years, and without any sort of reliable timetable for Rose's return I can't see them making the playoffs. They will battle with Milwaukee and Toronto for the 8th seed IMO.
John Wall and Demar Derozan will have breakout years, I think.
You said no retardation. Why are the Cavs and Raptors over the Hawks?
I saw a statistic on how much easier Joe made the game for Josh Smith. It was something like Joe assisted on 40% of Smiths assisted buckets. And every time Joe wasn't on the court and Josh was, Smiths shooting % went down. Now that Joe won't be there for an entire season, the pressure goes up for Josh Smith. I'm not trusting a team with Josh Smith as you're best player. Jeff Teague is great but he has a bit more to learn.