By Thomas Jeffrey
This NBA season is very unique from ones in recent years for one reason: there is a plethora of teams that could make it out of the Eastern Conference. LeBron and the Cavs are no longer the clear favorite to represent the East in the Finals… The Cavs obviously still have a chance, especially since they have the best player in the world at their disposal, but there are other teams that have very good chances of dethroning the King and making it to the Finals.
The Toronto Raptors are having one of their greatest seasons in recent history. The current top seed in the East just snapped the Rockets’ 17 game win streak, and DeMar DeRozan is playing great basketball, averaging 24 points per game. With its all-star backcourt consisting of DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the Raptors are arguably the hottest team in the league and have a great chance of winning the East. It very well may be “God’s Plan” that the Raptors make it to their first NBA Finals in franchise history.
Behind the Raptors are the Boston Celtics, a team with one of the most talented rosters in the league. Kyrie Irving leads the Celtics with 24 points per game, alongside veteran power forward Al Horford. One thing is very scary about the Celtics: they have a surfeit of young talent. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier are all rising stars that are already contributing greatly to the team. With the leadership, experience, and talent that the Celtics possess, they are more than capable of having a very successful postseason.
Finally, the Indiana Pacers are rising up the ranks in the East. The current third place team is led by first time all-star Victor Oladipo and premier defender Myles Turner. Oladipo, who was one of Indiana’s recipients for Paul George, is so far a great replacement for George, as he is averaging 24 points per game. The budding stars of Oladipo and Turner combined with solid role players like Darren Collinson and Domantas Sabonis make the Pacers a considerable threat in the East.
The Eastern Conference is extremely deep. It is filled with talented teams that can challenge either the Warriors or Rockets for a world championship. So whether it’s the Cavs, Raptors, Celtics, Pacers, or somebody else, the Eastern Conference playoffs is going to be very interesting to watch.