Ultimately, the answer lies with four teams. There has been a highly competitive battle among the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and the Chicago Bulls in that past weeks. Consequently, there has been a shift in the rankings of the top four teams. The Heat, due to a two game winning streak, are currently the number one team in the East. The Indiana Pacers, due to a two game losing streak, are now the number four team.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may be the team to eventually come out on top. But, the return of players from injuries such as Paul George and Dwyane Wade have definitely threatened the team’s chances. The Cavaliers need to prove that they can play just as well without LeBron James. As we have seen with the last season, the Cavaliers cannot depend on LeBron James. Players like Kevin Love need to establish a bigger and more consistent role for the team to get a championship. Hopefully the team will kick that idea into gear once their injured players return.
The Pacers are surprisingly playing extremely well. Coach Frank Vogel has done a phenomenal job with the team. Paul George has returned to his dominant position as he is one of the top scorers this season. In fact, he made a career high of 48 points against the Utah Jazz despite the Pacers’ loss in overtime. However, will the team be consistent throughout this season? Time will tell.
Another team that is playing well is the Miami Heat. Wade’s return is only one of the factors for the team’s success. Hassan Whiteside has become an influential addition to the Heat this season. The seven foot powerhouse averages 4.6 blocks per game with 13 points per game. The Heat seem to have the right elements to be consistent throughout the season.
What is not surprising is the ranking of the Bulls. The Bulls have the perfect elements to remain a top-tier team. However, the question is what will take them that next level? When will fans get to see the Bulls as the Eastern Conference Champions? The team has been able to adapt very well to the health status of Derrick Rose. But, what will change to give them that extra push?
Obviously no playoff predictions can currently be made. It is all about consistency for each of these teams. But, there is no doubt that the eastern conference is very competitive.
Spark Sports NBA Analyst