The NBA trade deadline and buyout period can go a long way towards crystalizing the pecking order going into the playoffs. Some teams that were on the outside looking into the playoff picture are now on the inside track, and others in the middle may be set to ascend to the top.
Of course, the beauty of the kind of transition that teams undergo at this time of year is that we’re never really sure how things are going to play out. Sometimes the matches that look best simply don’t pan out, and now and then an underrated addition can be just what a team needed to surge.
3 Eastern Conference NBA teams to watch down the final stretch
Typically the lesser of the two conferences, the Eastern Conference has made a push for respect this season. Particularly at the top, there are three legitimate championship contenders between the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
All three teams were fairly quiet at the deadline, making most of their big splash moves either in the offseason or early in the season (like the Nets, who traded for James Harden). In essence, the majority of the win-now moves made by teams in the East were in an effort to catch these three teams.
We’re going to take a look at three teams you have to keep an eye on during the final stretch run of this NBA season (not necessarily all three aforementioned teams, mind you). We’ll start with the top team in the East, the Brooklyn Nets.