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Eastern Conference Champion Predictions

The BetDeluxe team analyses, dissects and picks through the log-jam that is the Eastern Conference in a bid to find a winner.

Only seven games separate first to eighth in the Eastern Conference.

The BetDeluxe NBA team has narrowed the Eastern Conference Championship winner down to four teams with a huge trade potentially likely to prove pivotal for two teams. 

Eastern Conference Championship Prediction

Philadelphia 76ers

The signing of James Harden might just have very well meant Philadelphia 76ers are now the favourites to win the East.

Already boasting the talent of MVP favourite Joel Embiid, the Sixers flicked Ben Simmons off to Brooklyn in exchange for Harden in a move that adds another dimension to this already strong Sixers team. 

The 76ers have added a bonafide star next to another bonafide star. 

The knock on the 76ers in recent times has been their reliance on Embiid to do all the heavy lifting. 

Harden coming in, takes the pressure off Embiid to perform at a high level in every game, even though he is capable of doing so. 

If Embiid can be kept as fresh as possible heading into the pointy end of the season regular season, the Eastern Conference is in the hands on Philadelphia. 

Adding that bit of offensive spark in the form of Harden is exactly what the 76ers are after. 

They currently rank 21st in the NBA for point scored per game and Harden is surely set to bolster that number. 

More power on offence will compliment the 76ers already strong defence which only concedes 106 points per game. 

Striking a better balance between scoring and clamping down opposition is what Harden will provide. 

A more well-rounded 76ers team is going to look super dangerous towards the end of the regular season.

Eastern Conference Championship Prediction

brooklyn Nets

Even with James Harden leaving, the Brooklyn Nets still have the most talented squad in the NBA.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be joined by Ben Simmons after a trade was organised to get him to Brooklyn from Philly. 

Durant is poised to return from an knee injury and his influence is going to ensure the Nets have a big push towards the top of the Eastern Conference after a lacklustre middle period.  

Losing 10 games in a row saw the Nets plummet down the table, but it was not a true reflection of this team. 

Getting Durant back alongside Irving and Simmons is going to be menacing for any opposition to deal with. 

The acquisition of Seth Curry gives the Nets some much-needed poise with ball-in-hand. 

Curry was part of the Harden-Simmons trade and is far from the ‘steak knives’ in the deal. 

He is going to be a very important cog in this Nets team, especially if Irving cannot play home fixtures due to COVID protocols. 

Should things swing in favour of Irving and he is allowed to play all home games, combined with the return of Durant, the Nets will surge in the back end of the season. 

There seems to be a sense of timing about the Nets as they get ready to peak heading into the playoffs. 

Eastern Conference Championship Prediction

Chicago Bulls

The surprise packet of 2021/22 has definitely been Chicago.

But well past the halfway mark of this season, the surprise is no more and the Bulls have turned into what looks to be a genuine playoffs team. 

Not given much of a hope coming into this season, the signing of DeMar DeRozan has, so far, proven to be a stroke of genius on behalf of coach Billy Donovan. 

DeRozan, despite being the ripe-old age of 32, has never had a better season as he leads the Bulls towards the playoffs and a potential Western Conference Championship. 

The Bulls are the best sharp-shooters in the game at the moment with a league-high 48.3% conversion rate on field-goal attempts. 

One of those shooters has been Zach LaVine who has combined brilliantly alongside DeRozan. 

There is room for improvement on LaVine’s form itself after it was revealed he had been battling with soreness in his left knee. 

He has had treatment and been given some time to rest and that should be able to have him back firing into the second half of the season. 

If he can get into form alongside DeRozan, there is every chance the Bulls win the East. 

The best teams usually have a dynamic duo that feed off each other and, for the Bulls, it is DeRozan and LaVine. 

Speaking of duos, the Bulls are still awaiting the return of defensive stalwarts Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball from injury, with both set to have a significant impact in the back end. 

“Carushow’ is on the mend from a fractured wrist, while meniscus surgery has kept Ball out for the last month. 

Ball was averaging a career-high 13 points per game and 5.4 rebounds a game prior to his setback.

He is an effective role player and a hard man to replace as a starter, but Coby White has done a fantastic job to hold up his end of the bargain. 

The Bulls have, so far, weathered the storm of injuries beset upon them and can build some serious momentum heading towards playoffs. 

Eastern Conference Championship Prediction

Miami Heat

The Heat is well and truly back in Miami.

Sitting in first place as the NBA headed into All-Star weekend has Miami in control of its own destiny. 

Marquee guard Jimmy Butler looks to have shaken off all those niggling and annoying injuries that plagued his season in 2020/21. 

Butler has been back to his best and it is not shock that the correlation between his form has meant Miami is reaching the heights of NBA Finals season back in 2020. 

Butler (21.8 ppg), Tyler Herro (20 ppg) and Bam Adebayo (18.6 ppg) have worked well in tandem and, should the trio stay fit, the Heat can continue to do damage. 

It is amazing to think that only Kyle Lowry, Herro, Butler and Adebayo have only played a total of 69 mins together this season. 

The key for the Heat to become a genuine 

But for all the bazzaaz and flair it has in offence, defensively is where the Heat have excelled this season. 

There is scope for improvement on offence, but Miami has put together strong defensive structures to make up for that and it has meant it is only conceding 104.4 points per game, which has it ranked fifth in the NBA.  

Miami also has a distinct advantage over a lot of its rivals based purely on the chemistry and depth of its squad. 

All players know exactly what their roles are and there does not seem to be a too many weak points when this squad is fit. 

Lowry bring a level of professionalism and stability, he is a consummate point guard who defends strongly.

He and Butler do not need to score a lot to impact the game and, whether they’re scoring or not, their defense does not drop off.

Lowry is the type of player who can get 10 rebounds in a night; aside from Russell Westbrook, there is no point-guard in the league who can be relied upon to deliver those numbers. 

If he keeps us this form alongside his team mates, the Heat can sow up the Eastern Conference and make their second NBA Final Series since 2020. 

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