The NBA season may still be a few months away but the Eastern Conference continues to see an improved flux of talent.
Whether it’s the prospects of Damian Lillard joining Miami, or the reigning MVP potentially moving on from Philadelphia, the Eastern Conference has been full of news and rumors over the last few weeks. While there hasn’t been a major change in stars to this point, the picture is getting clearer on the teams that will compete for a title, and those searching for answers in the draft lottery.
Today, we go over the entire Eastern Conference to find which teams will be good, or bad, and whether the odds agree with them heading into the 2023-24 season.
15. Washington Wizards
The Wizards just lost two of their better offensive pieces Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porziņģis. They are going to be in for a rough year ahead.
14. Detroit Pistons
Detroit was the worst team in basketball last year but received just the fifth pick in the draft lottery. They have a ton of young talent but will be expected to struggle again going into another year against a loaded top group in the Eastern Conference.
13. Toronto Raptors
It seems everyone is waiting for the Toronto Raptors to eventually begin their rebuild. This season may be the start of it. Nick Nurse is gone, as is most of the guard play that was key in winning them a championship a few years ago. It’s going to be a rough couple of years ahead.
12. Indiana Pacers
Indiana doesn’t strike as a team that is talented enough to win in the Eastern Conference. Still, there’s plenty of talent here to turn some heads and win some games. They’ll be competing in the Play-In Tournament all year.
11. Chicago Bulls
Injuries have derailed this team for a while now and may continue to do so without a superstar on the roster.
10. Charlotte Hornets
The excitement of Brandon Miller in Charlotte to pair with LaMelo Ball is certainly something that will put fans in the stands. Will it be enough to get into the Play-In Tournament though? Time will tell.
9. Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero had a great rookie season and has the Magic as a team that could surprise some people this year in the Eastern Conference. A strong 2023 draft class could help as well.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Is this the last year for Trae Young to do something in Atlanta? It certainly could be if the team doesn’t win a playoff series.
7. Brooklyn Nets
Mikal Bridges is an ascending player but outside of him, the Nets are average but not great. They’ll be in the bottom seeds of the Eastern Conference but not more than that.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
A lot of people may be surprised by this, but James Harden wants out, Joel Embiid is sending cryptic messages and there is no hope in sight for another superstar joining them. While the reigning MVP has been awesome, the rash of injuries he has sustained throughout each playoff run should be enough to worry some fans about his effectiveness this season.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs still are a very good team, but if they can’t find a way to get out of the first round this year, there’s a chance he could be moved. Cleveland has a boatload of young and aspiring talent but will need to find another gear to stay competitive in the East.
4. New York Knicks
The Knicks are a difficult team to judge in the Eastern Conference. They have a star point guard, a deep bench, and very solid depth inside. The issue? They don’t have a superstar on their roster and it was the reason they were bounced by Miami last year. It should be more of the same this year if they can’t find a top target.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
Mike Budenholzer is gone and the Bucks are now tied directly to how good Giannis ends up being this year. They’ll still be a hard out for any team in the Eastern Conference but this is a roster that is getting older.
2. Boston Celtics
Boston has let go of the soul of the roster in Marcus Smart in the hopes of adding some big-man scoring. They still need a point guard and that could get in the way of them winning the conference altogether.
1. Miami Heat
Until a team can consistently beat Miami in the playoffs, they will remain the top team in the Eastern Conference. It also doesn’t hurt if they end up acquiring Damian Lillard too. If that trade ends up happening, the Heat will easily be favorites to repeat.
Odds to win Eastern Conference (According to Fan Duel)
Boston Celtics +200
Milwaukee Bucks +280
Miami Heat +450
Philadelphia 76ers +650
Cleveland Cavaliers +900
New York Knicks +1700