NBA Season Preview – Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference Preview

The 2022-2023 NBA Season is upon us (finally!!!). The AfroBallers got you covered on getting ready for one of the most competitive and exciting seasons we have ever had.

How it works

We will break down all teams in categories, rating each team based on their talent level, what they have shown to be capable of in recent years and how volatile their health or team chemistry is.

Our categories:

  1. Larry O’Brien Block – teams with a real claim to the title, essentially the ones we expect to see in the Conference Finals in May/23.
  2. Playoff Locks – fans might believe some of the teams here deserved to be in the previous category, but they can’t all be title favorites. This category pertains to all teams that should guarantee a Playoff spot without going through the Play-In Tournament.
  3. Play-In Contenders – talking about fighting for a Playoff seed, the teams here have the highest variance of quality of all 4 categories. The top half of this group are legit Playoff teams. The bottom is filled with potential surprises. Whatever the case may be, this is not a category for the fainthearted.
  4. Wembanyama Sweepstakes – either out of the gate or midway through the season, teams here will tank. The real measure of success for their season is how high of a chance to get the #1 pick on next year’s loaded Draft.


You can watch our team’s discussion about the Eastern Conference here:

Larry O’Brien Block

Milwaukee Bucks

Positives: the best player in the world & without Khris Middleton they were 1 game away from the NBA Finals. The Joe Ingles addition is also compelling.

Challenges: can their aging core around Giannis stay relatively healthy?


Boston Celtics

Positives: continuity of an extremely talented team and the high level addition of Malcolm Brogdon.

Challenges: the effect of the Udoka situation, Robert Williams’ health and their very thin bench.

Playoffs Locks

Cleveland Cavaliers

Positives: added Mitchell to a team with 2 All-Stars, while their best player by the end of the season might not even be any of them.

Challenges: young & with a lot of adjustments to make with such a high profile addition, plus perimeter/wing defense.


Toronto Raptors

Positives: the legion of versatile 6’8″ guys, legit good players in every position, potential breakout season for Scottie/Precious & All-NBA season for Siakam.

Challenges: no real big man, no backup PG & OG’s health.


Miami Heat

Positives: a solid squad that usually overdelivers regardless of the situation, plus likely better seasons for Adebayo, Oladipo & Vincent.

Challenges: lost key starter PJ Tucker & lack of real wing-big tweener to replace him.


Philadelphia 76ers

Positives: solid additions in the offseason along with a full year of the Embiid & Harden era.

Challenges: Harden gave up on his last 2 teams in consecutive years, the trend is not positive for the Sixers.

Play-In Contenders

Atlanta Hawks

Positives: Murray addition and Okongwu’s development.

Challenges: depth and perimeter defense.


Chicago Bulls

Positives: no. 1 seed in the East before injuries derailed the team last season, Pat Williams is back & Ayo ready for a breakout season.

Challenges: Lonzo’s knee and Vucevic’s offensive decline.


Brooklyn Nets

Positives: 3 All-NBA level players in their roster.

Challenges: the least stable stars in the NBA fresh out of their best one asking for the team’s HC & GM’s heads.


Washington Wizards

Positives: a full season of Beal and KP to go along with a nice supporting cast.

Challenges: Beal and KP’s ability to actually stay on the court and overall quality of defense in their roster.


New York Knicks

Positives: RJ’s development, adding the first true PG since Jason Kidd & Randle cannot be any worse than he was last season.

Challenges: No real #1 guy on the roster & Randle could be at least just as bad.


Detroit Pistons

Positives: they’re young, talented, exciting & I’m buying all the Saddiq Bey stock!

Challenges: just as easily as their youth & talent could explode for wins, their youth & inexperience could implode for losses.

Wembanyama Sweepstakes

Charlotte Hornets

Positives: LaMelo & Scary Terry.

Challenges: losing the 2nd best player cripples any team, even worse when it’s in the circumstances in which they lost Bridges.


Orlando Magic

Positives: Franz Wagner breakout season, Banchero living up to the hype & Wendell Carter keeps improving.

Challenges: Their roster is too young & too thin to compete in a loaded East.


Indiana Pacers

Positives: Tyrese Haliburton.

Challenges: Very likely to trade 2 of their top 3 players for draft picks in Hield and Turner being shipped out of town.

Jay Ernani
Jay is a Basketball enthusiast, former Basketball player and coach, with experience in the game in the United States of America and in Brazil, at High School and College levels. He is passionate about the history of the game, defense and strong team culture. He is also into analytics, which are a recurrent part of his articles.

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