The Eastern Conference lost a bundle talent which made the East a bit more mysterious and intriguing.
Blockbuster trades between the top two teams in the conference, stars being shipped away for underwhelming packages, “tankathon” kicking into full gear; it has certainly been a wild offseason in the Eastern Conference. Some notable players have departed out of the east which leaves quite a few teams in a tank mode, some of them were playoff teams just last year. If your team misses the cut, chances are you will be looking at the Tankathon standings for the entire season.
The two superior teams in the East are expected to remain the same despite both the Cavs and Celtics flip flopping their All-Star point guards. As for the rest of the East, it is projected to look entirely different.
1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics added tremendous talent to their ball club this offseason; they also traded some away. Danny Ainge notably deducted Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder, which accounted for 3 of their five starters. However, they added some star power and young talent to their team.
The new-look Celtics will feature a squad headlined by Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Danny Ainge believes he has found the formula to success in Beantown, and he’s hoping Kyrie can lead the troops to an Eastern Conference championship.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Lose one star point guard, and add another. The Cavs were forced to trade Kyrie Irving, and it worked out way better than anyone could have expected. They added a point guard of arguably equal talent in Isaiah Thomas, a lockdown defender and premier role player in Jae Crowder, all while adding that oh so precious 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick.
In some ways, it was the dream scenario for Cleveland, but with Isaiah Thomas expected to be out for a good portion of the season, the Cavs regular season win total will not be higher than the Celtics. While it is anticipated for Boston to struggle a bit with some new faces at the beginning of the season, Cleveland may not be healthy enough to match the Celtic’s final tally of wins.
3. Washington Wizards
Both John Wall and Bradley Beal took the next step in their careers last season, posting career highs in points and assists. The dynamic duo is quickly establishing themselves as the best backcourt in the Eastern Conference.
Wall and Beal weren’t the only players to elevate their careers, Otto Porter did so as well, which earned him a fat max contract from the Brooklyn Nets which was later matched by the Wizards. With all notable players returning, and the top guns getting a year older, Washington should see an increase in wins next season.
4. Toronto Raptors
With concerns of Kyle Lowry bolting Toronto for San Antonio, Lowry quickly shut that down and returned to Toronto on a monster deal. The Raptors had success in retaining Ibaka and Lowry and should be ready to compete for a top spot.
In order for the Raptors to become a serious threat to the top 2 teams in the East, Lowry and DeRozan must stay healthy at all times.
5. Milwaukee Bucks
We very well could be entering the year of the Greek Freak. After emerging as an NBA Superstar, Antetokounmpo could lead his team deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs. At just 22 years old, Giannis seems to be ready to take the bull by the horns, and take the keys to his franchise.
The Bucks are surrounded by young and talented players such as Khris Middleton Malcolm Brogdon and Jabari Parker. Those three players will be the key to the Bucks’ success this season. There are many reasons to be very high on Milwaukee this year.
6. Miami Heat
After going 30-12 the second half of the season, the Miami Heat have become a legitimate threat to do damage next season. Dion Waiters has seemed to figure out how to consistently score in the NBA, and that will play a huge role in their success.
However, the Heat are also equipped with Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and Justice Winslow who are no slouches themselves. One thing is for sure, the Miami Heat will be fun next season.
7. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have made some major improvements for next year. They added a serviceable presence in Dwight Howard to be an inside presence and protect the paint. This squad headlined by Kemba Walker appears to be ready to actually compete considering the talent at all positions.
This next season will be both Walker and Howard’s chance to prove the critics wrong and have a successful season with one-another.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
Talent, talent, and some more talent. The Sixers are lead by young and promising studs mixed in with a few veteran players to keep them in check. Joel Embiid has emerged as the future and center-piece of the Sixers “Process” and their patience may give them some playoff experience this season.
Ben Simmons will likely enter the Year as the favorite to win Rookie Of the Year as the entire organization has been praising his talents. We can only wait and see how productive the Sixers will be next year.