A month of NBA basketball is in the books, and the Eastern conference is still a darn mess. Derrick Rose’s unreliable ankles coupled with injuries to both Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson have put the Chicago Bulls back in circumstances they’ve been far too accustomed to over the past couple seasons. With the Bulls in disarray and LeBron’s Cavaliers playing poorly of late, the East-leading Toronto Raptors (13-2) have cemented a three and a half game lead over the Washington Wizards (9-5). The Kidd-coached Milwaukee Bucks, led by the trio of Brandon Knight, Jabari Parker, and the Greek Freak have been a pleasant surprise to this point, earning a respectable 9-7 record and the 4th seed in the conference. I wouldn’t say that the Bucks are by any means deserving of a playoff spot, but given the significant number of under performing teams in the Eastern conference (like the Bobcats and Knicks), if the Bucks were to make the playoffs I wouldn’t be surprised. The Bucks’ performance so far has surpassed the expectations of many, which they do deserve credit for. Jason Kidd’s leadership is definitely impacting the Bucks’ young nucleus quicker than most imagined it would.
Look for the Raptors to stay near the top of the NBA power rankings with consistent play throughout the rest of the season, if they can stay healthy. The Cavs shaky play to start the season should subside, as I predict they’ll finish with one of the top three seeds in the weak Eastern conference. Stay tuned.