With free agency and the NBA draft behind us, it’s time to start looking forward to the 2021-2022 NBA season and potential playoff teams. Let’s take a look at how the 2021-2022 season might shape up in the Eastern Conference.
- Brooklyn Nets. A healthy Brooklyn Nets squad is the best team in the NBA. They took the 2021 champion Milwaukee Bucks to seven games without two of their all stars, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. This is the team to beat in the East if they can stay healthy this season.
- Milwaukee Bucks. The 2021 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks have stayed mostly intact throughout the offseason. the only notable loss is starting small forward P.J. Tucker, who signed with the Miami Heat. Led by two time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks will be a very tough out in the East.
- Miami Heat. The Miami Heat arguably improved the most out of any team in the 2021 offseason. They traded for Kyle Lowry, signed P.J. Tucker, and resigned sharpshooter Duncan Robinson. With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo still in town, watch out for the Heat.
- Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers were the number one seed in the East last year so it may be surprising to see them as the four seed next season. However due to the uncertain future of Ben Simmons with the organization, the 76ers could see a dip in wins.
- Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta surprised everyone by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season before falling to Milwaukee in six games. Atlanta’s roster is very similar to last season’s so expect a similar season for the Hawks.
- New York Knicks. The Knicks shocked everyone last season by making it to the playoffs as the 5th seed, and they got better this offseason as well by signing Kemba Walker and drafting sharp shooter Quinten Grimes late in the first round. Expect the Knicks to make the playoffs again this upcoming season.
- Boston Celtics. The Celtics have an elite young duo in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown that can carry them in many games. However the Celtics lack a play-making point guard and a true center which will hold them back this upcoming season.
- Chicago Bulls. The Bulls also got a lot better this offseason by signing Demar Derozan and Lonzo Ball. The Bulls already have all star level players in Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic so the additions they made this offseason should be enough to propel them into this season’s play-in tournament and potentially the playoffs.
- Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets made the play-in tournament last season led by rookie of the year Lamelo Ball. Ball should improve in his second year and with wings Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges back the Hornets should return to the play-in tournament.
- Indiana Pacers. The Pacers don’t have any flashy names but they have a lot of solid role players who should be able to lead them to the 10th seed as the rest of the East is fairly weak.