This coming season there should be a real battle for the top place in the Eastern Conference with several teams capable of securing the number one seed ahead of the playoffs.
However, as last year has shown, being the top seed in the East does not guarantee that your team will reach the Finals.
The Heat finished the regular season atop the Eastern Conference with 53 wins and 29 losses but it was the second-placed Celtics that faced the Warriors in the NBA Finals after eliminating Miami in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
These two teams will among those to look for when the 2022-2023 NBA season begins. Coming off a surprisingly successful season, Boston will look to once again make a deep playoff run and compete for a title.
With its core left unchanged, the team, led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, will be a force to be reckoned with. Though the Celtics’ season could be jeopardized by a potential suspension of the head coach Ime Udoka.
Pat Riley’s Miami cannot be overlooked. The team has continuity. Led by the head coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat could make some noise in the East as well.
Naturally, the Bucks, that won their first title in 2021, will remain a strong force in the NBA. Having what many consider the best player in the world in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee has high goals.
The acquisition of James Harden just before the trade deadline last season did not bring immediate success to the 76ers, but this season the former league MVP should feel even more comfortable on the team. With Joel Embiid played MVP-level basketball and Tyrese Maxey turning into a star, Philadelphia could finally be ready to be a contender.
Last season the Cavaliers made a strong start and were on the top teams in the East for a few months. If not for injuries, one could speculate how the season would have gone for them. By adding Donovan Mitchell this offseason, the Cavs have high ambitions.
Despite two superstars on the roster in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets failed to go past the first round in the playoffs last season. After lots of controversy, the duo remained in Brooklyn and are reportedly determined to prove critics wrong. Add to that newcomer Ben Simmons and it is a dangerous team on paper. If they can get their off-court issues under control, the Nets could finally prove they belong among the elite teams.
Like Cleveland, Chicago had a strong start of the year before dropping down in the standings due to injuries of their leaders. The Bulls should be considered a playoff team for sure, but with so many talented teams in the East, it will be a tough task for them to secure a high seed before the playoffs.
The Hawks made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 where they were eliminated by the eventual champions the Bucks. Last season was a different story with Atlanta having to settle for the 8th seed and a play-in spot. Trae Young will have co-All-Star Dejounte Murray help him on the court which turn out to be one of the most dangerous backcourts in the league.
The Raptors turned into a solid team in the East over the last decade which culminated in them winning their sole championship in 2019. However, since then Toronto has not been able to make a deep playoff run and it is tough to see them doing it this coming season.
The Hornets and the Wizards are likely to battle for a play-in spot and a chance to make the playoffs. It was Charlotte that finished 10th last season.
It could be a long season for the Knicks, Pacers, Magic and Pistons. None of these teams made the postseason last year and without significant improvements this summer could be in a similar situation next season.
The Celtics are currently installed as favorites to finish top of the 2023 Eastern Conference, with the Bucks a close second. You can see the latest Eastern Conference odds below:
- Celtics – 3.50
- Bucks – 4.00
- Nets – 5.00
- Heat – 7.50
- 76ers – 8.50
- Cavs – 15.00
Odds provided by NBA odds site Betway.