With the Trade Deadline now behind us, teams can now set their sets on winning the NBA Championship. But after another wild deadline day, which teams in the Eastern Conference have the best chances of reaching the NBA Finals?
4. Miami Heat
Quietly standing at the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat continues to be a team top contenders cannot ignore. Despite Jimmy Butler missing fifteen games this season, Miami sits at 37-21, and has seen much improvement at the point guard position with the new addition of Kyle Lowry
Tyler Herro is playing like he did in the bubble, averaging 20 points per game and was in All-Star game conversations. Bam Adebayo continues to be a great defensive presence and one of the best big men in the entire NBA as well.
To top it all off, the Miami Heat have a very deep bench and one of the best coaches in the NBA. They will not be an easy out for any team in the conference, and still have an outside shot to win the East.
3. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are the most puzzling team to rank on this list, largely due to the availability of their best players. Brooklyn currently stands at eighth in the standings, and has been battling to stay in the hunt with star Kevin Durant injured and Kyrie Irving only able to play away games.
With the departure of James Harden, Brooklyn now welcomes defensive star Ben Simmons. Although he struggled in last year’s playoffs, he has a deep skillset and can do anything one asks him to do on the floor… except shoot
No team in the east has more individual talent than the Brooklyn Nets. If Brooklyn can come together as a team and play to their full potential, they will be NBA champions.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
No team improved their roster more at the trade deadline than the Philadelphia 76ers. After spending the first half of the season dealing with Ben Simmons refusing to play, general manager Daryl Morey was able to deal Simmons off for superstar and future hall-of-famer James Harden.
Philadelphia now has one of the best duos in the NBA with Harden and MVP favorite Joel Embiid. Embiid has a chance to be the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to lead the entire NBA in points per game, and he continues to average more points than minutes played per game.
If the 76ers do make the NBA finals, it will be because of their role players stepping up. While there is not much depth outside Harden and Embiid, players such as Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris have both shown flashes of being a legitimate third star.
James Harden and Joel Embiid are looking to bring the first NBA championship to the city of brotherly love since 1983, and I believe they have a real shot of doing so. But there is still one more team more likely to represent the eastern conference.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
After winning last year’s NBA championship, it is difficult to justify ranking the Milwaukee Bucks anywhere but first here. The roster is somehow improved from a season before, and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is showing no signs of slowing down.
At the trade deadline, the Bucks acquired big man Serge Ibaka, who has always been a great rim protector, but now has an ability to stretch the floor offensively. The presence of Ibaka and Antetokounmpo down low will provide much needed support defensively against players like Joel Embiid come playoff time.
Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton continue to play their roles well, as their contributions in the NBA playoffs a year ago is a major reason why the Bucks are reigning champs. While the eastern conference seems much more wide open compared to years past, Milwaukee stands alone as the cream of the crop until they are dethroned.