The Eastern Conference hasn’t been that competitive if you compare it with the Western Conference over the last decade, but finally, it looks like that’s going to change during this year’s playoffs.
Thing is, with LeBron James out of the picture, the Eastern Conference is wide open and the path to the NBA Finals is going to be a major bloodbath, judging by what we’ve seen so far this year.
Three of the top four candidates had a very good trade deadline, especially the Philadelphia Sixers and Toronto Raptors. We’re going to witness some of the best playoff series we’ve seen in the Eastern Conference.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been comfortably sitting at the top of the East for some time now, and every time they face a Championship contender, it looks like they’re desperate to make a statement and wind up dominating from start to finish.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing on an MVP level and Khris Middleton has also been playing the best ball of his career. Mike Budenholzer turned Brook Lopez into a three-point threat, and now that they also landed Nikola Mirotic, this team is going to be absurdly fun to watch.
The Toronto Raptors looked great all year long amid Pascal Siakam’s surge and Kawhi Leonard’s arrival, and adding Marc Gasol is just a huge power-move for a team that entered the win-now mode in the offseason.
Kyle Lowry has found his groove as a creator and Leonard is the best two-way player in the league, and with that great second unit, it looks like the only thing that can stop the Raptors are the Raptors themselves.
Boston, on the other hand, didn’t make a move prior to the deadline but have been on the rise for a couple of weeks now and it looks like Brad Stevens has finally found the way to make them click again.
Talent wise, Boston is arguably the only team in the league that could beat the Warriors, with Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier.
Last but not least, the Philadelphia 76ers now have arguably a top 3 starting lineup in the league following the Tobias Harris trade, and the team finally looks tailor-made for a playoff series against Boston.
Elton Brand did a fantastic job getting a 1st and 2nd round pick plus Jonathon Simmons for Markelle Fultz, and they look like a dynasty in the making right now. But, who’s going to come on top?