Ranking each Eastern Conference playoff team based on their best player

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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The Eastern Conference may not have the star power that the West has, but make no mistake, this conference has a lot of competition and scrappy teams. There are the Boston Celtics, who have been the league’s best team this season by a wide margin and are hungry for a championship.

There are the New York Knicks, who are down Julius Randle, but have so much toughness and grit that they cannot be counted out. There are teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers, that have their own issues but can get hot at any moment. 

It is hard to rank the teams in the East (besides Boston), so I have come up with a better way: ranking them based on their best players. Like I did with the West, here are my rankings of the teams in the East based on their best players.

8. Orlando Magic

Best player: Paolo Banchero

In his second season, Paolo Banchero has been as good as advertised. He was named an All-Star for the first time in his career and was a huge reason why the Magic improved from 34-48 last season to 47-35 this season and clinched the fifth seed in the East. 

Banchero himself has also improved his efficiency to a degree this season. His field goal percentage rose about three percent (42.7 to 45.5), his three-point percentage was about four percent (30 to 34), and his assists went up as well (3.7 to 5.4). He has been the Magic’s best-all around offensive player.

Banchero has a lot of potential to be a great playoff player down the line, but this is his first time in the postseason and does not have the support system to succeed. That could be seen in the Magic’s two losses to the Cavs. Banchero has almost as many turnovers (15) than field goals (18). A rough start for the budding star.

Given the abundance of great talent in the East and his lack of postseason resume, this is where Banchero belongs. He is a rising star making his playoff debut and growing pains are expected.