There’s no denying the fact that the moment LeBron James made the decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, the entire Eastern Conference rejoiced- probably except for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James has been lording over the East since he returned to the Cavs 4 years ago. And even during his 4-year stint with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh while playing for the Miami Heat, LeBron James was virtually unstoppable as he went to the NBA Finals, 8 consecutive times in the last 8 years. He destroyed many teams in the East, primarily the Toronto Raptors who got swept by LeBron’s Cavs multiple times in the playoff and, the Boston Celtics who came within one win away from eliminating the Cavs in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.
Having said that, the East will now need a player who will take over LeBron’s place as the conference’s best player for the 2018-2019 season and beyond. Fortunately, the East isn’t short of players who can take over LeBron’s place.
There’s no denying the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the teams who tried to lure LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard during the first few weeks of the free agency. While the Sixers failed to land both the King and Leonard, do they even need LeBron James to take the East’s top spot?
Joel Embiid is why.
Coming off a season that saw him average 22 points, 11 rebounds and, almost 2 blocks per game, Embiid can make a strong case for the MVP next season especially if he stays healthy. With Embiid being the East’s best center right now, there’s no denying the fact that the Sixers will now have a better chance to rule over the East especially if reigning Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmons continues to provide the help.
This one’s pretty much a giveaway. In fact, many are saying that it wasn’t to Kyrie Irving, the King wouldn’t win one for the “land” back in 2016.
And many rued Kyrie Irving’s absence in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals as the Celtics came within one win away from dethroning the King.
With LeBron James about to wreak havoc in the Western Conference, Kyrie Irving is expected to lead these young Celtics alongside Gordon Hayward.
Why the question mark?
There’s no assurance that Kawhi Leonard will even play for the Toronto Raptors. But if in the scenario that Kawhi Leonard plays for the Raptors, and he’s healthy as he was before injuring his right quad, he can once again be the league’s best two-way player. Thenn again, that if Kawhi Leonard will play for Toronto.