As the NBA has grown, it has been split down into different divisions and conferences. There are two conferences – the NBA Eastern Conference and NBA Western Conference. The conferences are then split into three different divisions, all with five league teams.
Since it was first established, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has grown in size and its current format was first established at the start of the 2004-2005 NBA season. It was then that the number of teams expanded from 29 to 30 when it was joined by the Charlotte Hornets. This saw the New Orleans Pelicans move over from the Central Division of the Eastern Conference to the Southwest Division in the Western Conference.
Eastern Conference Quick Facts
These are some of the most important and interesting facts about the Eastern Conference
- Formerly known as the Eastern Division
- Founded in 1970
- The 2020 – 2021 NBA Champions: Milwaukee Bucks (Clinched Conference titles 2 times)
- The team with the most Eastern Conference titles is the Boston Celtics (9 titles)
Eastern Conference Teams
Team Division Location Year
Atlanta Hawks Southeast Atlanta, Georgia 1970 – present
Boston Celtics Atlantic Boston, Massachusetts 1970 – present
Brooklyn Nets Atlantic Brooklyn, New York 1976 – present
Charlotte Hornets Southeast Charlotte, North Carolina 2004 – Present
Chicago Bulls Central Chicago, Illionois 1980 – Present
Cleveland Cavaliers Central Cleveland, Ohio 197o – Present
Detroit Pistons Central Detroit, Michigan 1978 – Present
Indiana Pacers Central Indianapolis, Indiana 1979 – Present
Miami Heat Southeast Miami, Florida 1989 – Present
Milwaukee Bucks Central Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1980 – Present
New York Knicks Atlantic Manhatten, New York 1970 – Present
Orlando Magic Southeast Orlando, Florida 1991 – Present
Philadelphia 76ers Atlantic Philadephia, Pennsylvania 1970 – Present
Toronto Raptors Atlantic Toronto, Ontario 1995 – Present
Washington Wizards Southeast Washington DC 1970 – Present
Former Teams that Moved to Western Conference
- Buffalo Braves (now Los Angeles Clippers) moved to the Western Conference in 1978
- Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings) moved to the Western Conference in 1972
- Houston Rockets moved to the Western Conference in 1980
- New Orleans Jazz (now Utah Jazz) moved to the Western Conference in 1979
- New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) moved to the Western Conference in 2004
- San Antonio Spurs moved to the Eastern Conference in 1980
The Eastern Conference 2020 – 2021
There was a lot of interesting outcomes in the 2020-21 regular season. Boston Celtics only managed 7th place in the conference and the Philadelphia 76ers came top of the table. Despite only coming third in the conference, Milwaukee Bucks ended up beating the two teams above to reach the NBA finals – and win. Each game proved to be important and the Bucks made them count.
Regular Season Results
Won Lost Win %
- Philadelphia 76ers (e) 49 23 .681
- Brooklyn Nets (x) 48 24 .667
- Milwaukee Bucks (c) 46 26 .639
- New York Knicks (x) 41 31 .569
- Atlanta Hawks (se) 41 31 .569
- Miami Heat (x) 40 32 .556
- Boston Celtics (x) 36 36 .500
- Washington Wizards (x) 34 38 .472
- Indiana Pacers (z) 34 38 .472
- Charlotte Hornets (z) 33 39 .458
- Chicago Bulls (o) 31 41 .431
- Toronto Raptors (o) 27 45 .375
- Cleveland Cavaliers (o) 22 50 .306
- Orlando Magic (o) 21 51 .292
- Detroit Pistons (o) 20 52 .278
(x) – clinched playoff berth
(c) – clinched division title – Central
(z) – clinched play-in tournament
(o) – teams eliminated from playoffs spots
(se) – clinched Southwest division title
The Upcoming Season
The last season was excellent for the Bucks. They may have only managed the third spot in the regular-season games but it was enough to get them into the playoffs. They then managed to beat the two teams above them and make it to the NBA finals, where they faced off against the Phoenix Suns. Despite losing game one and game two, the team managed to pull it back and they ended up winning the NBA finals 4-2. So, they are the current NBA champions.
But what can we expect for the upcoming season? Well, there is no doubt that there will be team changes ahead. Looking at the form and changes, many believe that despite having a fantastic end of the season, Milwaukee Bucks won’t top the tables in the 2021-22 season. The favourites for that honour are the Brooklyn Nets, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks as second favourites. Again, it doesn’t; look great for the Celtics as they aren’t even predicted to be in the top 8 this season.
It will be an interesting start to the season as we expect to see free agents make moves to the top teams.
Rating the Top 5 Teams
1. Milwaukee Bucks
With an NBA finals win, right now it’s only fair that we ut them top of the table, even if it’s a controversial decision. They won’t be happy with third place in the regular season and will be desperate to be better than the others next season. We would recommend putting aside the funds necessary for Chris Paul if they want an even better 2021/22 season. and if they want to hold on to their MVP, they’ll be looking for a big season.
2. Boston Celtics
There is a lot of young, up and coming talent in the Boston Celtics – and they are certainly worth watching in the future. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are arguably the most promising young duo in the NBA right now. Then there’s Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward who can add another dimension if they stay fit and healthy.
3. Brooklyn Nets
This team has heaps of potential, especially if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are playing at the level that we know they are capable of. However, these are big ifs and how they perform very much rests on these factors. There are a lot of expectations placed on the team right now.
4. Miami Heat
This is a curious place for Miami Heat – and some may argue they belong above the two teams they beat convincingly last season. How well they do in the upcoming season very much depends on a few factors – such as will Jimmy Butler, at 31 years old, be able to maintain his level of play alongside the youngsters Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson.
5. Toronto Raptors
A lot of their possible success rests on the shoulders of Kyle Lowry, who is not as young as he used to be. but still holds his place as a registered trademark of the Raptors. He is a very important member of the team and can change the course of a game single-handed. They have underperformed recently and will certainly need to make some changes to compete with the biggest teams.
Eastern Conference FAQs
Which is the Best Team in the Eastern Conference?
The best team last season in terms of the most game wins in the Regular Season was the Philadephia 76ers. However, the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA playoffs and made it all the way to the finals, where they defeated Phoenix Suns 4-2. Boston Celtics are historically the most successful team in the conference, with 9 previous wins.
What Teams are in the NBA Playoffs?
The teams that made the 2020-21 NBA playoffs were the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards.
What Teams are in the Eastern Conference of the NBA?
There are 15 teams in total: Philadephia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and finally, the Detroit Pistons.
Who Won Conference 2021?
It was the Philadelphia 76ers that won the 2020/21 regular season
Which are the Best Teams in the NBA History?
Arguably, the best teams in NBA History was the Boston Celtic 1986-86 team – achieving a winning percentage of .817 and the Los Angeles Lakers team of 1971-72 that managed a winning percentage of 0.841.