NBA Finals Preview: Eastern Conference

Who can make it out of the East and have the best chance at a Larry O’Brien trophy?


The Finals have become one of the most treasured sports events in the entire world.

The stage is set for quite an entertaining NBA postseason. Sixteen teams all working towards one goal: a chance to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy for their respective franchises. The two conferences in which the best teams compete are in for an interesting playoff atmosphere. On one hand, the Eastern Conference boasts superstar talents such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, and many others. On the other hand, the Western Conference features many stars as well. Among them, Nikola Jokic, De’Aaron Fox, Steph Curry, and teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis are all competing for the chance at a world championship ring.

Despite the two conferences common goal, they are assembled very differently. One could argue that the West is bolstered with better players, and more talented rosters, while the East is made up of better teams overall. In the East, there were seventeen games separating the top seeded Bucks and the eighth seeded Hawks. In the West, there were only eleven games separating the top and bottom seeds available for playoff contention. So why is this article being written? To preview all sixteen teams’ chances at hanging a championship banner in their stadium’s rafters next season. This scale will be expressed in the form of letter grades, A being the best, and F being the worst.

The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to compete for their second championship in franchise history.
First, we’ll start with the Bucks. The Milwaukee ball club took the top spot in the East, behind another MVP caliber season from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak was tremendous, becoming the first player to average thirty points per game, ten rebounds per game, and five assists per game, on better than fifty percent shooting. His supporting cast has all the makings of a championship team as well, highlighted by star-studded defensive specialist and point guard Jrue Holiday. This team is full of shooters who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Their first-round matchup is the Miami Heat. Overall chances at a championship: A.

In honor of All-Time great Celtic Bill Russell, who passed away during the season, the Celtics have committed to wearing a patch with his number on their jerseys every game.
Next, the Boston Celtics. Possibly the most recognizable franchise in all of sports, the C’s are competing for their eighteenth championship, which would push them past their rival Lakers for most all-time. They, much like the Bucks, have all the makings of a championship squad. Led by arguably the best duo in the NBA, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics hope they can get enough production from their role players, which is absolutely vital if they want to capture a championship trophy. They take on the Atlanta Hawks in their first-round matchup. Overall championship chances: B+.



The Sixers hope to capture a title after a heartbreaking past few years in the playoffs.
Next, we have the Philadelphia 76ers. The city of brotherly love is confident in their chances this year, championing the likely MVP Joel Embiid and running mate James Harden as much as possible. They have all the characteristics of a championship contender. They have depth in the rotation, shooters, exceptional defenders, and two of the best players in the game to carry them to the Promise Land. They will play the Brooklyn Nets in their first best-of-seven series. Overall chances: B+.


The Cavs make their return to the postseason for the first time since LeBron’s second departure. Hopes are high that they can assert themselves in a big way.
Fourth, we have the Cleveland Cavaliers. This young, vibrant team is still a few years away from being classified as serious contenders, but they find themselves at the top of the East nonetheless. Led by All-Star starter Donovan Mitchell, and backcourt mate Darius Garland, the Cavs hope that they can sneak their way into the Finals. What they lack in depth, they make up for in youth, as their entire starting lineup is twenty-six or younger. Overall chances at a championship: C+.


The Knickerbockers are fifth in the East and are looking to take down the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first-round.
Next, the Knicks. New York has been disappointed year after year, but they have been given hope by the exciting production from newcomer Jalen Brunson, and gritty power forward Julius Randle. They have all the grit that is necessary for a title, but they are talent deficient. The Knickerbockers would be happy with anything greater than a first-round exit, but make no mistake, this team will not settle for anything less than a championship. Overall chances at a title: C+.

Now we’re getting to the end of the food chain. These teams simply don’t have the tools to even get past the first round, let alone get into the Finals. For them, I will save you your time.

Brooklyn Nets: D-. This team is full of talented role players; guys who would be a great fit on other teams and would be praised for their support of superstars, however, they just don’t have what it takes to win a playoff game.

Miami Heat: C+. The Heat are better than their record indicates. They have an abundance of experience and adequate talent to get to the second round. The only problem with that is that they are playing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first-round.

Atlanta Hawks: F. In my opinion, this is the worst team in the playoffs. They are one trade away from being a dumpster fire franchise, and despite having talented individual players on their roster, they have not been able to piece things together.