Orlando Magic Playoff Predictions: Best Team in the East Will Be the 4th Seed

Matt PasterCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 24:  Dwight Howard #12 and Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic are now 11-4 and are being criticized for having a light schedule.

The Magic are one of the best teams in the East, but they may be the fourth seed in the playoffs. 

The Chicago Bulls will be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and it will have nothing to do with them being the best team in the East.

Chicago plays divisional games against Indiana, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit three times each in its schedule this year. That’s eight to 10 easy victories against some teams that are nowhere near playoff contention.

I'm assuming that the Boston Celtics will win the Atlantic Division.

Regardless of who wins that division, they will most likely be the third seed. They all play one another three times each. The Boston Celtics and possibly the New York Knicks will prevail from their weak division.

It is the Magic’s misfortune that they play in unarguably the best division in the Eastern Conference. The Heat, Magic and Hawks will make the playoffs. That is three out of eight seeds coming out of one division.

After each team plays one another 12 times in such a shortened season, there will be a handicap that benefits Chicago and whoever comes out of the Atlantic.

Unfortunately for the Magic, all the back-to-backs may place them as the fourth or fifth seed based on a poor schedule. The same goes for the Heat and the Hawks.

This may affect a young, short-term minded NBA player like Dwight Howard.

In the world of instant gratification, Howard may see a fourth seed as another failure by the Magic. When, in reality, the record will be due to a shortened season combined with a horribly weighted Eastern Conference.

The playoffs will reveal the true strength of these teams.

Hopefully for the Magic fans, they'll show up this time.