The Eastern Conference is already noticeably better than last season.
Here’s notes on 3 winning teams so far.
Injuries & lineup notes: Kyrie Irving- out (medical protocols), Joe Harris- injured (left ankle), Blake Griffin- out of rotation (not getting minutes)
- Health/injuries were a concern during last year’s playoffs for Brooklyn’s big 3 and the club hoped to get them back at 100% this season. Kevin Durant & James Harden returned ready to go, however Kyrie Irving remains away from the team. The Nets have still managed to start out 1st in the East standings without Irving, led by Durant & Harden. New additions like LaMarcus Aldridge & Patty Mills have helped out a great deal on offense, but team defense still needs to be better for Steve Nash’s group if they want to win a title. Hopefully James Johnson, Nic Claxton, DeAndre’ Bembry, Blake Griffin, and Bruce Brown can help make the difference on that end.
Injuries & lineup notes: Brook Lopez- injured (back), Donte DiVincenzo- injured (recovering from ankle surgery in G League), George Hill-injured (right knee), Semi Ojeleye- injured (calf), recently signed DeMarcus Cousins, Wesley Matthews, and Javonte Smart
- The Milwaukee Bucks are playing like a team who could get back to the Finals in 2022. Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo keeps improving, which is scary for the rest of the NBA. Not to mention their bench is playing better as well, as returning guys like Bobby Portis & Pat Connaughton are making strides along with plenty of new depth in George Hill, DeMarcus Cousins, and Wesley Matthews. Their returning starters (Giannis, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez) and new addition Grayson Allen bring great basketball IQ’s, expect the Bucks to be a tough beat all season.
Injuries & lineup notes: Jimmy Butler- injured (tailbone), Bam Adebayo- injured (thumb), Markieff Morris- injured (neck), Victor Oladipo- injured (quadriceps)
- Injuries have yet again hurt the Miami Heat this season. Despite getting out to a nice start and still being a #4 seed in the East at the moment, Miami is currently going through a tough stretch without All-Stars Jimmy Butler & Bam Adebayo. Getting back an improved Tyler Herro and adding Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, and Markieff Morris has definitely helped on both ends, but at times still isn’t enough, which is where a guy like Victor Oladipo could make a big difference for this Heat club if he can eventually return. Also keep an eye on Duncan Robinson’s shooting numbers throughout the season, he’s only shot 36.8% from the field and 33.2% behind the three point line in his first 25 games.