With LeBron James agreeing to a deal with Los Angeles, the Eastern Conference is literally anyone's for the taking. A team other than the Cavs or Heat will win the East for literally the first time in almost a decade.
But will anyone every dominate the East like LeBron has for all these years? The answer is probably no, but it doesn't mean a guy can't take over on a smaller scale. In this list, we count down the five most likely stars to take the newly emptied throne in the Eastern Conference.
5. John Wall
By far the least likely of the bunch, Optimus-Dime will have to take the Wizards further than they've ever been if he wants consideration for the Eastern throne.
Moreover, he'll have to improve on what has been a largely inconsistent outside stroke to truly maximize his impact. Still, out of most other point-guards in the East, John Wall certainly has the flash, swagger, and talent to become the new face of the Eastern Conference.
4. Joel Embiid
The 76ers have high-key built one of the Conference's best young teams. With Simmons, Saric, Covington, and Fultz, the Sixers will be in the fold for many years to come. But, of course, the team revolves around Joel Embiid.
With career averages of 22 points per game, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 47.8% shooting, The Process has proven himself a star after just two seasons in the league. The only question for him centers around his health, as injuries have been the story for most of his career. If he can remain healthy, though, Joel has the perfect high-profile personality and game to make the East his.
3. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie has always held one of the more fascinating stories of the NBA. He started in Cleveland, where he was tasked to help lead the Cavs through the post-LeBron James era. But when James came back, he quickly became a number two option and helped his new-look Cavs superteam win a Championship. But before Kyrie saw LeBron head to the West this year, he moved on himself to the Celtics.
With that incredible story and his incredibly bizarre takes, it makes Kyrie Irving an interesting off-court person as much as he is an interesting on-court player. We know his game is there, and it's certainly flashy enough to earn attention, but can he maintain his alpha-dog status in Boston as guys like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum develop into stars themselves?
2. Ben Simmons
This probably comes at no surprise, seeing as to how Ben Simmons' game largely mirrors LeBron's. The reigning rookie-of-the-year is one of those players that just makes everyone around him better.
He defends, rebounds, passes and can finish around the rim in a fashion not many can top. In fact, the only thing holding him back from MVP-candidacy is his shooting ability, which is sorely lacking. Outside of 10 feet, Simmons is a brick-machine.
If he can find a stroke, however, nothing is stopping Simmons from setting the East on fire.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
With LeBron gone, Giannis is, arguably, the best player on the East coast. And there's a good chance it'll stay that way, too.
At just 23 years-old, Antetokounmpo is due to keep improving, despite averaging an impressive 26.9 points per game last season. Like Simmons though, Giannis' big question mark concerns shooting. While admittedly making some progress last season, his stroke from the outside is a glaring hole in his game.
But aside from that, The Greek Freak will not only become the best player in the East but probably the thir dbest player in the league.