The Eastern Conference has had a bit of a shakeup over the past few weeks. The Raptors have gained solid control over the top seed. The new-look Cavs are looking good so far. The Bucks have made their way into the top four and the Sixers are 4-0 since the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
Everyone has to admit it. The Cavs are looking scary good right now. They routed the Celtics in their second game after the purge and their additions stood out. Clarkson stood out putting up 17 points. Hood got 15 points and Hill got 12 points. The three of them got three boards.
The new team is looking younger and faster. The average age of the Cavs went down almost four years to 27 years old with the new additions. They made their game much more fast paced. Just watching the Cavs Celtics game, you could already see how much this team was clicking. All five starters scored 8:20 into the game, and one of those guys is named Cedi Osman (it’s okay if you’ve never heard of him).
Speaking of Osman, he’s been playing really well lately. He played 39 minutes (!) against the Hawks and put up 17 points. Ty Lue and LeBron must trust him a lot. He’s getting a lot of playing time.
“I mean, I like what he brings. It’s a big disadvantage [for the opponent] having [James] at the 4, because now you’ve got four guys that push it out on the break. I think that’s big. I think having Hood come off the bench and being a scoring power, a scoring threat, being able to run things through him, I think is big also. I like where we’re at right now, and we’ll just kind of go from there and see how it plays out.” – Ty Lue
Hood, being just one of the pickups during the trade deadline, has been impactful towards the Cavs, along with, in my opinion their best pickup, Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson is looking like a piece the Cavs have been missing. He’s a player willing to take a big shot and a player who’s not afraid of the spotlight. He proved he can pick off where he left off in LA, after he went 6-10 for 14 points with three rebounds and four assists against OKC. You could say he trusts his teammates, seeing as one of them is the best player in the world.
“These guys, they welcomed us with open arms. Even when we landed, the hours that we spent before this game, you could see that dudes really care, and it’s a cool vibe.” – Jordan Clarkson
I hate to put the Cavs in the spotlight, just like always, but they have earned it. They have played well, and are shaking up what looked like a clear race between the Celtics and Raptors (and yes, I do believe the Celtics are still side-by-side the Raptors even though the Raptors blew them out). The race has been expanded, and the Cavs are now a part of it again. You could even say the Bucks are contenders.
Similar to the Raptors, the Bucks have failed to get any real big wins this season, yet, they still stand at the fourth seed in the East. Are they real contenders in the East? Well, they haven’t proven it yet, but if Jabari Parker can find his rhythm again, Giannis, Bledsoe, and Parker could potentially be the next big three.
This Eastern Conference is starting to look solid, despite all of the jokes people made in the offseason. Although, it is starting to look like LeBron and the Cavs are the team to beat again. Hopefully the Celtics and Raptors can give them a run for their money and make the playoffs entertaining!
It’s also interesting to note that the Pistons are not looking any better with Blake Griffin, but let’s just wait until Reggie Jackson is back.