Will Bucks win the Eastern Conference?
After finishing the regular season with an NBA-best 60-22 record in 2018-19, the Milwaukee Bucks fell short in their quest to come out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Is Milwaukee the right team to bet on as favorites to win the Eastern Conference this season?
According to oddsmakers, the Bucks are 8/5 favorites to win the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers are close behind with 2/1 odds, while the Boston Celtics have 8/1 odds. The Indiana Pacers are listed at 10/1 odds and the Brooklyn Nets are at 12/1. A full list of teams can be found on our NBA Future Odds Page.
The Bucks followed up a phenomenal regular season last year with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals as they swept Detroit in the first round and bested Boston in five games in the conference semifinals. But Milwaukee squandered a 2-0 series lead against eventual NBA champion Toronto in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, dropping the final four games to see its season end in disappointing fashion. The Bucks are in good position to bounce back, however, as they have one of the NBA's most dynamic players in league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game last season with a PER of a whopping 30.95. Milwaukee also brings back guard Eric Bledsoe, small forward Khris Middleton and center Brook Lopez among others but must replace production from the departed Malcolm Brogdon.
Philadelphia still has a Big Four in place with the incoming Al Horford taking a bit of the blow off the loss of Jimmy Butler to free agency. But with J.J. Redick also out of the picture, the pressure will be on the core of center Joel Embiid along with point forward Ben Simmons and forward Tobias Harris to carry the team to new heights. The Sixers lost to eventual NBA champ Toronto in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in May, losing on a wild game-winning shot as time expired. With Toronto having lost Kawhi Leonard to free agency, the Sixers could easily take another step forward in the conference. But it will be essential Embiid stays health and the Sixers find long-distance shooters to replace the production of Redick and help space the floor.
The Celtics will be an interesting team to watch this season as Kyrie Irving is off to Brooklyn, replaced by veteran Kemba Walker. The previously mentioned Horford is also out of the picture, meaning players who played secondary roles to Irving such as Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward will now be expected to provide more in the scoring department. Walker will also help fill that void, so it could be a seamless transition and due to Walker being a model teammate compared to Irving it could do wonders for team chemistry.