This NBA season appeared to be a very entertaining one for a lot of players and teams and six days before the 2021 All-Star Game, we know that was actually true. Teams and players have excelled this season when nobody expected to be good and have made the competition even harder than in prior years.
Some organizations have made a great job changing their narratives and the first four ranked in the Eastern Conference are the prime sample of that. One NBA fan called @mkesteelersfan shared a picture showing the differences between the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers in 2016 and how things have changed for them in five years.
2016 ➡️ 2021
How the tables have turned pic.twitter.com/nHhr7zcoBy
— (@mkesteelersfan) March 1, 2021
At that moment, the Bucks were 12th, Knicks 13th, Nets 14th, and Sixers 15th in the Eastern Conference starting rebuilding processes that have paid off for them. In 2015, Giannis Antetokounmpo was in his third year in the league and now is a 2x NBA MVP. The New York Knicks selected Kristaps Porzingis in the prior draft, raising a lot of eyebrows around their fanbase.
The Nets were seeing their consequences of their infamous trade with the Boston Celtics when they received Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry. The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Jahlil Okafor in the prior draft, one of their failed experiments before they landed Ben Simmons in 2016.
Now, these teams are fighting for the top of the East, with the Sixers going from winning 10 games in that year to be the leaders of the conference right now. You can say the Nets ‘cheated’ because they used free agency and trades to build their current squad but that’s part of the game, too. They’re second behind the Sixers, followed by the Bucks, who remain a competitive side in the NBA led by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The biggest surprise of this list are the New York Knicks, who struggled and struggled to be competitive and it wasn’t after they assembled a talented young team that they didn’t make the leap. Right now they’re 18-17 and rank 4th in the East.
NBA fans reacted to this, some trolling, others praising these teams for making it after five years and others just remembered how hard those times were.
Who gives a fuck??? Lmfaooo
— something else (@dielit12) March 1, 2021
Knicks are 4th in the East pic.twitter.com/wQPblpn5hB
— Nick Ciaccio (@NickCia_) March 1, 2021
YOOOO YOU GOT A BANGERRRR WOOOOOOOO
— #JJToGB (@Taebucks34) March 1, 2021
I mean it only took 2 years to go from this to this pic.twitter.com/f6pLATqv9G
— Salvatore Sultana (@Slye2ThaLef) March 1, 2021
Yes because you can obviously trade love and Drummond
— () (@Sexton_is_GREAT) March 1, 2021
I remember those 10-72 days… I hope the 76ers never go down that path for the rest of My lifetime… Dark Times
— 22-12 (@YungGreen_) March 1, 2021
Knicks in fourth brings a tear of joy to my eyes
— Judges lost gap(0-1) (@P27Ant) March 1, 2021
Relax lol Knicks won't finish top 4 & Bucks ,76ers & Nets were in last year just 1 was number 1 & 2 were at the bottom not a surprise Nets are up that high or 76ers now Knicks yeah kinda of
— Remarri (@RemarriGreen) March 1, 2021
Bruh we only half way through the season let’s cheeeeeeel
— take care yo chicken (@schecITout51) March 1, 2021
Been a long journey but proud pic.twitter.com/RK6fVI7fMs
— Elve (@akaElve) March 1, 2021
Knicks fans deserve this happiness
— Kaushik Ram (@KaushikRam25) March 1, 2021
this should bang
— (@Le_MickeyMouse) March 1, 2021
Out of these four teams, the first three are seen as legit contenders in the conference, with the Knicks having a bright future ahead.