One of these five teams could bring the Larry O'Brien Trophy back east.
The NBA season is dramatic enough as is, but the players and front-office personnel wanted to make it even more exciting with trade requests and...shenanigans. Does that cover the big controversies with Boston and Phoenix? Anyway, those situations are messed up, but in this article, we're talking about the on-the-court stuff.
I wanted to lay out what I think will be the top five teams in each conference. The ones who have a real shot at winning the title. Like a semi-power ranking. As always, I like to start where the sun rises, in the East.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Yes, they basically have the same roster as last season, but it was a damn good roster. Size, strength, athleticism, and shooting stirred together to create a juggernaut. They almost took out a scalding-hot Celtics team without their second-best player in the playoffs. I see this team starting off pretty slowly, but once they get their full roster back, they're going to be tough. Giannis keeps getting better and that is frightening for the rest of the League.
2. Boston Celtics
This team could easily be in the 1-spot, but head coaching turmoil and the incredible ability to turn the ball over is going to land them in the second spot. The defense is an A+ and will be an A++ once the Time Lord (Robert Williams) returns. Tatum and Brown are going to do their thing, which is score and facilitate. Williams is so important to the success of this team, making it vital for others to step up in the paint until he's back. It's also essential while they try to keep Big Al fresh.
3. Brooklyn Nets
The Real Housewives of the Barclays Center were completely run off the court against the C's last season and have a lot to prove. Obviously loaded with talent with one of the best players ever in KD and (imho) the best ball-handler ever in Kyrie. Add a healthy Ben Simmons, who can play a center/guard combo, and we might be looking at one of the most unique and difficult-to-guard starting five lineups in the League.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
Man, people are loving this squad. I don't blame them with Embiid and Harden working well together and rising star Tyrese Maxey. The thing is, Philly is just a regular season team...they have no nuts in the playoffs. PJ Tucker is a sweet add and will help round them out. Harden isn't the offensive superstar he used to be, which will require Embiid to do more. The supporting cast is going to have to bring it if they want to make a dent in the competitive Eastern Conference playoffs.
5. Miami Heat
I don't like putting this team so low in my ranks. I know I'm gonna kick myself after 82 for not putting them higher up. Their roster hasn't changed much; they just know how to win ball games. Butler, Bam, Lowry, and Herro will carry the offense and we know the defense and tough-nosed playstyle will be present every night. Health remains the biggest concern with this team. Injuries hampered them last season.