The NBA’s Eastern Conference is beginning to take shape.
After a somewhat odd start to the season, which included a few curious and inconsistent trends, the NBA’s Eastern Conference is beginning to reveal itself as it takes shape. There have been a few expected starts – such as the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, and Miami Heat.
The expectation was that those three teams would be good this season and they’ve been every bit as expected. Whether they’ve been a bit better than expected is relatively irrelevant. They’ve been good and, for the most part, have sat atop the conference through the first few weeks of the season.
Beyond those three teams is where it’s been interesting.
Three teams, however, that are beginning to progress to the mean are the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Atlanta Hawks.
Before the season, the narrative was that these three teams would be top 6 teams, at the very least, in the conference. Through the first month of the season, they have been everything but that.
The Celtics got off to a 2-5 start and looked like a team that was quickly fading in the East hierarchy. Though, after stumbling out of the block, the Celtics have recovered. Over the past few weeks, the Celtics are 7-3 and have climbed all the way back up to the 9th seed in the conference.
The best news of all is the fact that they’re just getting healthy too, for the first time, really, all season. Boston has yet to play their best basketball of the season and it seems like the team is finally hitting their stride with first-year head coach Ime Udoka.
The Bucks have suffered a similar path through the first month of the season as well. Milwaukee lost four of their first 10 games and have been decimated by injuries. Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve begun to dig out of that early-season hole and have won five of their last seven games are now over .500 for the first time in a month.
Milwaukee is 9-8 and sitting in the 8th spot of the East.
The Hawks have been a much more interesting experiment this season. They won three of their first games of the season, but then went on to lose eight of their nine next games. Roughly a week ago, the Hawks were 4-9 and at a big crossroads in the early season.
Since then, though the Hawks have won four straight and are showing signs of life in the East.
Each of these three teams is beginning to show life in the East and are starting to make their way up the standings. It wouldn’t be outrageous to suggest that each of these three teams will be sitting in the top six in a couple of weeks.
The Eastern Conference is beginning to take shape. Contenders are starting to take their rightful place in the standings and we’re starting to see more and more just how good and deep the East will be this season.