The Eastern Conference is more competitive than ever! And for the first time in years, the East is arguably up for grabs. So, who has what it takes to win? Here are three Eastern Conference teams that are potential contenders.
1.) Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets have one of the best players in the league. Kevin Durant is a two-time NBA champion and a one-time MVP. Durant is having an exceptional season that could lead to another MVP, but he has competition in Steph Curry.
Durant leads the league in scoring with 29.4 points while shooting 53 percent from the field. He recently had an outstanding performance against the Detroit Pistons, when he scored 51 points and shot 50 percent from 3-point range. Durant is playing well, and if the Nets play well, they’ll remain on top of the East. But they will do it without one of their key players.
With Kyrie Irving’s status still up in the air (though there are reports he may return), the Nets are without one of the best players. So, while they’re doing well now, can they keep it up come playoff time? If so, the Nets are a team to keep an eye on. But they’re not the only ones.
2.) Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are a surprise this season. They are second in the East with a record of 17-10, which is an improvement from last year. The Bulls were 11th in the East last season, and after a busy offseason, they’re a legitimate playoff team.
The Bulls acquired Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan in the offseason, and the moves are paying off. DeRozan averages 26.4 points, and Ball averages 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists. With the new additions complementing players like Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, the Bulls are on the right track.
The Bulls are currently in a tricky situation, as 10 of their players are in health and safety protocol. The NBA decided to postpone Chicago’s next two games due to their outbreak in hopes of controlling the outbreak. So, it will be interesting to see how this situation pans out. However, once Chicago gets healthy, they’ll be a tough team. And they could surprise fans once more and get to the Finals.
3.) Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending champions. They beat the Phoenix Suns in the 2020 Finals to win their first championship in 50 years. The Bucks have a chance to repeat, but it won’t be easy.
The Bucks started the season a little shaky but picked things up. They found themselves towards the bottom of the East, but they recently climbed to the third seed of the conference.
Giannis Antetokounmpo averages 27.0 points and 11.6 rebounds this season. Antetokounmpo, the reigning Finals MVP, continues to grow as a player and can dominate at any moment. As NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal once said, Antetkounmpo brought back “olde school bully basketball” in his run in the 2020 Finals. And coming from O’Neal, that’s high praise.
Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have a tough road ahead of them, but with the “Greek Freak” dominating, Milwaukee can get to the Finals (again).