Today, I’m ranking the top five teams in the Eastern Conference going into the 2020-2021 season. These rankings are based off of playoff performance, injuries, and seeding. These rankings are my opinion and my opinion only. With that, let’s get into it.
#5: Toronto Raptors
I have the Toronto Raptors at #5 for a couple of reasons. The first is that they were the #2 seed last year, and were one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals. They won the championship with Kawhi Leonard in 2019, and everyone expected them to be a lot worse off in 2020. They still have Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, both All-Stars. They have a very good supporting cast and great chemistry. While I don’t see them making the ECF next year either, they’re still a playoff team and one of the best teams in the east.
#4: Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have been the #1 seed in the East for two straight years, behind 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the main reason they rank #4 is because of the playoffs. For whatever the reason, Giannis and the Bucks always win 60+ games in the regular season, and then make a deep playoff run, but never make it to the NBA Finals. Aside from this, rumors have surfaced that Giannis will leave the Bucks in 2021 as a free agent. They also let Malcolm Brogdon, a solid starter and rookie of the Year, walk away for nothing, and gave Khris Middleton a max contract so that he could not even touch a basketball in the 118 day break of the season due to COVID.
#3: Brooklyn Nets
Yes, the Nets got swept in the first round of the 2020 playoffs. But I have the Nets coming in at #3 because both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are coming back from injury. And until they make a trade (if they do), they still have young players, such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, and former three-point champion Joe Harris. There is a lot of buzz about the Nets this coming season, and chances are they can win the East, if they remain injury-free.
The Celtics are #2 because they almost won the East last year, and have a very strong team themselves. With first time All-Star Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and a developing Jaylen Brown, this team is going to be scary (without Terry). The Celtics young guys are developing and getting better, and they have much better locker room chemistry with Kemba instead of Kyrie. A playoff berth for them is a near automatic next year.
#1: Miami Heat
I had to put the Miami Heat at #1 since they won the East this year, and pushed the Lakers to 6 games in the Finals. Jimmy Butler might be getting older, but he’s still in his prime, and cooperating with his teammates. The young core the Heat have, built of Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, and Bam Adebayo, are getting more and more experience, and are growing as players. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyler Herro’s an All-Star next year. All in all, things in Miami are looking pretty good.
Stay tuned for Ranking the Top 5 Teams in the Western Conference coming into 2021, and as always, have an awesome day!
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