The Milwaukee Bucks own the best record in the NBA ahead of the league's 2019-20 season restart and they are the betting favorites to win the Eastern Conference, so why are so many experts declaring the path to the NBA Finals as wide open?
Even though the Bucks sit atop the East and have the likely back-to-back MVP winner in Giannis Antetokounmpo, there are several teams with a legitimate chance to take down Milwaukee and carve their own path to the Finals.
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One of those contenders is the Boston Celtics. The C's are the only team in the league with three players averaging 20-plus points per game. They have two All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, as well as a deep bench. We also can't forget about Brad Stevens, who's one of the best head coaches in the league.
The Philadelphia 76ers, with one of the top three starting lineups in basketball, are another tough matchup for the Bucks. Philly has the size and length to give Milwaukee trouble at both ends of the floor. The Miami Heat could make a surprising playoff run in the East as well. The Heat are led by superstar forward Jimmy Butler and boast a lineup full of sharpshooters. In fact, Miami is tied for the league lead in 3-point field goal percentage (38.3). The Toronto Raptors are often dismissed from the conference title debate after losing Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, but the defending champs should be a tough out in the playoffs and currently occupy third place in the East.
How do these contending teams stack up against the Bucks? Our Celtics insider Chris Forsberg broke down some interesting numbers in the video below: