After the NBA announced their plan to return, it was decided that 22 teams would play in Orlando with a chance to make the playoffs and win the NBA Championship. Out of those 22 teams, 9 of them are in the Eastern Conference. Currently, the Milwaukee Bucks are at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 53-12 record and they will most likely not fall.
The question which arises is which teams pose the greatest threat to NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks?
5. Indiana Pacers: Indiana has a chance to face their division rivals in round 2. The Pacers however would not pose a threat to the Bucks due to the same reason why the Nets would struggle; lack of star power. Victor Oladipo is coming back from injury, but he’s a huge question mark.
Domantas Sabonis was an All-Star but he is not the man you want defending Giannis. Myles Turner is also a great defensive piece but it’s not enough to overcome the Bucks, especially with sub-par depth.
4. Miami Heat: Miami is the most improved team since last season as they have a plethora of new young talent. On the defensive side, the Heat can limit Giannis to an extent with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Their flexibility on the defensive end is a strength, but their 15th overall offensive efficiency makes them skeptical. Coach Eric Spoelstra is the wild card here.
3. Toronto Raptors: The defending NBA Champs managed to do this last year, so why aren’t they first?
They lost Kawhi Leonard, who was primarily responsible for guarding Giannis. However, Nick Nurse is innovative on the offensive side of the ball and the Raptors’ bench has been incredible this year.
There is no doubt this series would be incredible, but who would be the Raptors’ closer in these games?
2. Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers season has been a weird one. They have one of the most talented starting 5’s in the league yet they are currently the 6 seed due to coaching and chemistry issues.
They have the potential to represent the Eastern Conference in the finals or lose in the first round. Philly’s lack of shooting can be prevalent in this series and the questions around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid’s health and cohesion must be answered.
1.Boston Celtics: The Celtics have one of the best starting 5’s in the league. Their offensive efficiency is in the top 10 in the league and their defensive efficiency is top 3.
On offense, the Celtics have four potential players to score over twenty points. The Celtics have the defensive philosophy and personnel to defeat the Bucks in a neutral court setting. But, the C’s need to figure out how to stop Khris Middleton as in the past, he has taken advantage of the Celtics.
Brad Stevens has proven himself to be one of the game’s premier coaches, and along with Jayson Tatum’s ascension to superstar status, the Celtics have the pieces to contend for a championship.
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