Is there a clear-cut favorite in Eastern Conference?
With the Cleveland Cavaliers taking a severe step back after the departure of LeBron James, the Eastern Conference is now wide open for another team to grab supremacy. Which team should be bet on to win the Eastern Conference for the 2018-19 season?
A few of the favorites
The Celtics were maybe the NBA's biggest surprise last season as it withstood a gruesome leg injury to prized free agent Gordon Hayward in the season opener, plus a season-ending knee injury to trade acquisition Kyrie Irving in March. Despite the loss of its two biggest stars, Boston finished with a 55-27 record and the second seed in the NBA playoffs. In the postseason, the Celtics proceeded proceeded to defeat the Bucks in seven games and the 76ers in five games before falling to the Cavaliers in a thrilling seven-game series. The biggest positive for Boston is that a young core learned how to win and gained confidence from it despite being short-handed. In addition, the Celtics have one of the NBA's best coaches in Brad Stevens. Look for Boston to be right toward the top of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are favored to win the East with 5/6 odds. A full list of odds can be found at our NBA Future Odds Page.
The process has been long and arduous for the Sixers organization, but a serious corner was turned last season. Center Joel Embiid played the most games in his career by a wide margin and averaged 22.9 points and 11 rebounds, playing in 63 contests. He should make another leap this season and hopefully will again up his games played count. Point guard Ben Simmons is a triple-double threat every game he appears and averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game. Power forward Dario Saric, small forward Robert Covington and shooting guard JJ Redick comprise the rest of the starting lineup. Point guard Markelle Fultz missed much of his rookie season with a shoulder injury, but could be poised to make a huge jump next season as long as he remains healthy. Philadelphia is still young at key spots, but should give Boston and other teams everything they can handle in the bid to win the East. The 76ers have 17-5 odds to win the conference.
After the announcement Wednesday morning of the trade with San Antonio that brought over Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors saw their odds to win the NBA title increase from 60/1 to 40/1. As for the Eastern Conference, Toronto has 11/2 odds. Leonard will team up with All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry to form another one-two punch, replacing Lowry's former backcourt running mate in DeMar DeRozan who went to the Spurs in the trade. Toronto could look for more minutes and production out of occasionally dominant center Jonas Valanciunas. Veteran center Serge Ibaka is another steady presence, while young guards Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright will continue to trend upward. Stretching the floor will be the main attribute of Danny Green, who also came over in the trade. Toronto will have to figure out its chemistry with Leonard on the fly, but will be an exciting team to watch after earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference last year.