Are the Milwaukee Bucks favorites to win the Eastern Conference?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 31 (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 31 (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Wesley Matthews, Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 07 (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks Eastern Conference competition: Miami Heat

After looking at Boston you get to the Heat, 76ers and Nets. Miami was the number one seed in the conference last season and is known for their tough in-your-face defense. To me Miami is still a superstar away from being real contenders, everyone loves Jimmy Butler but he can’t do it alone. The Heat are very well coached by Erik Spoelstra but even with PJ Tucker and Kyle Lowry brought in last year, didn’t have enough to return to the Finals for the second time in three years. The pairing of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo is still a solid foundation.

Milwaukee Bucks Eastern Conference competition: Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers retained James Harden, signed PJ Tucker, and traded for De’Anthony Melton. Harden took a pay cut to help round out their roster that needed some more defense and toughness. Adding Tucker and Melton gives the 76ers exactly that. Melton also gives ball handling for the backup guard position and a 39% 3-point shooter over the past two seasons. Joel Embiid has been on a mission for an MVP award and being “snubbed” for First Team All-NBA by finishing as the second best center to Nikola Jokic is likely to fuel another big season. That said this team has to show that they’re a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs, their blowout loss to Miami in game 5 and subsequent elimination in game 6 were uninspiring.

Milwaukee Bucks Eastern Conference competition: Brooklyn Nets

The Nets were picked to win the East from a survey taken by ESPN in 2021 and now come into the 2022-23 season as a relative unknown. These last couple seasons have really been a circus for them, so to say they are being doubted coming into the 2022 season is an understatement. However, they still have a roster that consists of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, both of whom have incredible basketball talent. The Nets dealt James Harden to acquire Ben Simmons who hasn’t played a game for Brooklyn yet but will give the Nets arguably the best defender they’ve had in the Kyrie, KD era. They also re-signed Nic Claxton, traded for Royce O’Neale and signed TJ Warren. Claxton has shown steady growth as a defensive anchor and scoring option down low for the Nets the last couple seasons, O’Neale will fill the void left by the departure of Bruce Brown who is now with the Nuggets and Warren, who is coming off an injury to his foot, could add some size and scoring behind Kevin Durant. The Nets have some very interesting potential with these moves.