Eastern Conference Sleeper for 2019-20 NBA Season
The Eastern Conference shocked many NBA fans this past season. After the West had dominated the last couple of years, the Eastern Conference finally had a few title contenders. The end result? The East’s representative, the Toronto Raptors, finally won the NBA Finals for the first time since the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit a few years back. While the Eastern Conference did lose a couple of stars, there are still a few formidable teams in that conference. With this in mind, who will be the sleeper in the East this coming season? The answer may surprise you.
Eastern Conference Sleeper for the Upcoming Season
Eastern Conference Sleeper: Boston Celtics
This is surprising considering many thought the Celtics were title contenders last year. The losses of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford do set them back a couple of notches. However, the team did a solid job making up for the losses in free agency.
Kemba Walker may not be as electric of a player as Irving, but he will be a better fit for the team. Walker is a star as well, as he is a three-time All-Star and just made his first All-NBA Team. He is also a career 19.8 points per game scorer. A scorer who will be on a legitimate playoff team for the first time in his career.
Enes Kanter does not totally make up for the loss of Horford, but he is still solid insurance down low. He is coming off a year where he nearly averaged a double-double (13.7 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game). Not to mention, Boston still has the likes of Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown.
Hayward showed flashes of his old self toward the end of the season last year. Also, Tatum could very well be a future All-Star. Plus, Brown is a nice young talent who will have a place in this league for a long time. Now, let’s take a look at this projected starting rotation; Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Enes Kanter. This particular lineup is still good enough to make some noise in the Eastern Conference.
A Look at the Rest of the Eastern Conference
Let’s take a look at the other post-season teams from the East from last season. The Detroit Pistons did little this off-season to surround Blake Griffin with quality talent. The Orlando Magic did bring Nikola Vucevic back, but hardly did anything else outside of that move. The Brooklyn Nets were the winners of free agency in the East as they did get Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but they will have to wait a whole year before they see how this star duo pans out.
The Indiana Pacers did silently improve as they signed Malcolm Brogdon who will be a great back-court mate for Victor Oladipo. Toronto, who is the defending champions, lost their best player in Kawhi Leonard so they will obviously take a step back this coming year. Then, you have the two favorites from the East for next season in the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers as many avid NBA fans know.
There are only a handful who made moves which surpass the signings the Celtics made this summer. It is insane that the Celtics are being overlooked despite their getting another All-Star point guard to replace Irving. Plus, they had a solid NBA Draft as they snagged Tacko Fall as an undrafted free agent and also drafted Carsen Edwards who could turn out to be the steal of the draft. With all of this in mind, Boston is the clear cut sleeper of the Eastern Conference coming into the 2019-20 NBA season.