5. Eastern Conference Turnover
James has now left the east, which means a team not led by James will represent them in the finals. The Raptors lost their head coach. While they may maintain some success due to a similar roster, they will likely take a step back this season. The Bucks are one of the few teams in the east that really only added talent rather than subtracting it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been at or near the top of the conference for four straight years since James returned. They finished fourth in the conference last season, but are expectedly taking a tumble down the standings. Rumors have started to circulate of the team trying to trade away pieces to save money and start their rebuild. As long as the Bucks remain healthy, they should likely overtake the Cavaliers in the standings.
Two seasons ago, the Bucks lost a tight series against the Raptors. Per Basketball-Reference, they were the superior team in the majority of their metrics. Their major issue was on the offensive end, as they scored less than 100 points in four out of six games. Casey steadily drove the Raptors up the Eastern Conference ranks, but he’s now in Detroit. The team hired a new coach in Nick Nurse. While he’s qualified, there will undoubtedly be growing pains this season.