The Milwaukee Bucks will win the Eastern Conference. Led by young superstars, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, and Jabari Parker, the Bucks have the fire power to make a strong run in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Giannis is in the middle of an MVP caliber season as he is averaging 27.9 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 4.7 assists per game, and 1.5 steals per game. The Bucks are clicking and gaining ground on the top East teams while those teams are sluggish and falling apart. I believe these teams will continue to struggle throughout the remainder of the season and through the playoffs, which leaves the Bucks to take advantage and win the East.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “what is John thinking? Has he forgotten about how well the Raptors are playing? Has he forgotten about how well Kyrie plays in the playoffs? Has he forgotten about Lebron James?!” No, I have not forgotten these things. But here is why each of these teams won’t win in the playoffs.
The Toronto Raptors in recent years have been a top four team in the East every season. Led by their All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the Raptors play well enough to earn a top four seed in the East and can compete with any team in the NBA. That being said, the Raptors always perform awful in the playoffs. Besides DeRozan and Lowry, who else can take over a game? Who on this team could guard Giannis? From losing to the Brooklyn Nets on a game saving block by Paul Pierce in 2014, to getting swept by the Wizards in 2015, and then losing to the Cavaliers in 2016 and 2017, the Raptors always come up short in May. Despite having Drake on the sidelines for home games, I see similar results happening again this season.
The Boston Celtics have been the closest team to dethrone King James in recent years. But this past offseason, they made a complete overhaul and have started the season hot. Led by Kyrie Irving, the C’s play great team defense and can score in the open court after the force turnovers. But after losing Gordon Hayward just five minutes into the season, who is going to step up and be the Robin to Kyrie’s Batman? Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have proven to be young stars but aren’t developed enough to help Kyrie push through a 7-game series against the Cavs or the Bucks. Al Horford and Marcus Smart are the closest to a quality second option, but neither of those are guaranteed to get you 20 plus points per game every game. The Celtics will fall short despite high expectations entering the season.
LeBron James has dominated the Eastern Conference since his days in Miami. After being on the team that wins the East for seven straight years, which is an absurdly amazing stat, he won’t make it an eight-straight. The Cavs were thought to have the fire power to win the NBA Championship at the beginning of the season. Of course, led by LeBron, the Cavs also have All-Star Isiah Thomas who can score in the playoffs. The Cavs did lose Kevin Love to injury and his return is not known. Other than that, the Cavs don’t have any quality players. Derrick Rose,
Dwyane Wade, and JR Smith are all past their primes. They can come in and give decent minutes, but those young guys on the Bucks will run right past them. I haven’t heard Tristian Thompson’s name while watching a Cavs game in some time, which means the Cavs do not have a threat in the paint. The cherry on top of this is all of the rumors that Tyron Lue has lost the locker room and that Lebron has already mentally checked out and has packed his bags for his new team next season. Though he has stated those rumors are false, LeBron will be in a different uniform next year.
All of these factors are reasons to why I think this is the year the Bucks will win the East and compete for an NBA Championship.
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