The 7 Best Players in the Eastern Conference Right Now

It’s a commonly held belief that for pure quality, the NBA’s Western Conference greatly outguns the Eastern.

In terms of recent NBA Championships success this is certainly borne out by the stats. Since 1998 the West has notched up more than double the number of wins with 13 compared with the East’s six. There are many theories about why this situation has arisen but with the Boston Celtics out and out favorites in the NBA Championship odds to carry off the 2022-23 championship, maybe the tide is on the turn.

It can also overlook the fact that there are many superb players in Eastern Conference teams, perhaps with even more superstar status than many Western Conference teams can boast. Yes, the latter have the edge when it comes to MVP awards. But perhaps the success of the first in our list suggests their grip on this particular trophy could be loosening at last.

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Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Some might consider the nickname that Embiid has given himself – “The Process” – just a little bit arrogant. Yes, you do have to put faith in the process but he has shown time and time again that it works. As well as this year’s MVP award, after two years of being a runner-up, the figures bear him out. At an average of 33.1 points per game there’s clear water between him and his nearest rival, the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s also his strength in all areas that’s so impressive making him not only a great center but a real sharp shooter as well.

LeBron James, Miami Heat

However good Embiid might be, he still has a long way to go before he can reach the status of the great LeBron James. He might be the highest-ever points scorer in the game, breaking a record that has stood for four decades, but that is only part of the story. His 6’8” frame is the physical manifestation of the dominance he has in the sport. So it’s no surprise that he’s considered as being the natural successor to Michael Jordan as “The Face of the NBA”.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

“The Greek Freak” may have been a runner-up to Embiid in this season’s MVP award but he remains a strong fans’ favorite. He probably wasn’t too upset by his second place having won no less than twice in previous seasons. And his scoring average of 31.1 ppg is certainly up with the best of them. Again, here’s a player who is as strong in defense as he is in offense and who forms the real backbone of the Bucks squad. At just 28 he can also be considered to be at the peak of his powers right now.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

If the Celtics do fulfil the predictions, and hopes of fans, and go on to win the championship then Tatum will surely be instrumental in their success. Last season he took them all the way to the final, only to be denied victory by the Golden State Warriors. Across the playoffs last year he averaged 25.6 ppg and in the regular 2022-23 season the figure was 30.1 putting him up there with the very best of them.

Trae Young  Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks were unlucky to come up against Tatum and the rest of the Celtics in the first round of this year’s playoffs and the 2-4 scoreline was no big surprise. But Trae Young can probably look forward to many more opportunities in the future. This season his figures continued to impress with a 26.2 ppg average. His importance to the team was also underlined by the fact that he averaged almost 35 minutes on court per game.

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Division winners Miami Heat have also looked good prospects to reach the final all season long and Jimmy Butler has been described as being the “heart and soul” of the team. He’s a determined and gritty player which any team would want to have as a stalwart of their defense. So it’s no big surprise that he was the NBA 2020-21 steal champion. Regarded as being one of the toughest players in the NBA, his Hollinger efficiency rating is a very impressive 27.82%.

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LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

Our final candidate for the Eastern Conference’s finest is also the youngest. From being the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year he has matured greatly over the season. Admittedly, his average points per game of a little over 23 may not be up with the very best, but we can expect him to grow better and better as time goes on. So expect him to be in the MVP running before very long.

Of course, there are many more great players in the East but these seven are truly outstanding. As to if any one of contenders will go on to be the season’s champions, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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