Over here at Hot Hot Hoops, we will be doing a five-part roundtable leading up to the Miami Heat’s 2022-23 season-opener on Wednesday, Oct. 19 against the Chicago Bulls. Today, we will be continuing with part 4 of our series: Which Eastern Conference team are we highest on, not including the Heat?
Which Eastern Conference team are you highest on that’s not the Heat?
Daniel Riccio: There are many teams that could be a threat to the Heat in this stacked Eastern Conference. However, out of all of them I cannot ignore the Milwaukee Bucks. The team that swept Miami in the playoffs in 2021 and won an NBA championship that same year. Boston and Miami both avoided playing a healthy Bucks team last playoffs with Middleton out, but still was able to push Boston to the brink of a game 7 in the east-semi’s. Giannis having his co-star back healthy could be a game changer for the Bucks, who still also have Jrue Holiday and many valuable role players.
Matt Hanifan: I’m all in on the Philadelphia 76ers. I understand the risk of betting on a James Harden-led, Doc Rivers-coached team to make it deep into the playoffs, but with the additions of P.J. Tucker (sad face), Danuel House, Montrezl Harrell and De’Anthony Melton, assuming Harden and Embiid stay healthy, I could absolutely see them making it out of the East. The Bucks are another safe pick for me, in part because they took the Celtics to seven games without Khris Middleton in the Eastern Conference semis last year. But I’m drinking all of the Sixers cool-aid right now. Maybe I look like a dummy in the end, maybe I don’t. But they’re the team I’m highest on. The East is really good and really deep, so nobody is a super safe bet to do anything!
Naveen Ganglani: The 76ers. I think they’re going to be the top-seed in the East after the regular season. They have a roster that’s fit to win tons of games. My concern with them will be in close games and in the postseason. Until then, they’ll be highly successful.
Surya Fernandez: The Boston Celtics would have been my pick if it wasn’t for the bizarre coaching scandal that overshadowed what had been a highly successful offseason. We’ll just have to see how much that will affect them. I just don’t see the Brooklyn Nets putting it all together so quickly. I’m going with the Bucks, they are a known commodity in a pool of talented East teams on paper. Plus, it would be fun to see them go up against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in another rematch.