Milwaukee Bucks: Ranking top East teams following key free agency deals

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ONTARIO – MAY 25: (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the biggest moves of free agency now behind us, where do the Milwaukee Bucks and their rivals rank in next year’s Eastern Conference race?

The Western Conference will remain a bloodbath for teams hoping to make the playoffs next season. The Eastern Conference won’t provide a similar dynamic, particularly considering just how far it drops off toward the back of the pack, but that’s not to suggest there isn’t plenty of cause for intrigue in what’s become the less discussed half of the NBA.

The interest in the East will likely spike again heading into the the 2020-21 season when Kevin Durant will be slated to return to health with the Nets, but in the meantime there’s at least six teams in the Eastern Conference who can realistically aspire to attaining homecourt advantage in next year’s playoffs.

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The Milwaukee Bucks remain toward the forefront of that conversation, but a summer of major change in free agency has led to the pack around them re-shuffling somewhat.

Last season, the Bucks, Raptors, 76ers and Celtics made for a consensus top-4 teams in the East. This year, it seems more likely that there’ll be a highly competitive top-6, even if there will remain an additional upper tier within that grouping.

With no disrespect intended toward the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and the Jimmy Butler solo project currently known as the Miami Heat, they likely fall just below the current level of the other teams likely to be in the playoff mix in the East next season.

Of the teams that currently seem like safe bets for the postseason, how should we expect it all to shake out? Let’s take a closer look at the six teams in question, and offer a far too early ranking of the East’s leading teams following the major free agency moves of the summer.