Contenders and Pretenders in the Eastern Conference: Are the Miami Heat for real?

With their recent surge in the standings, the Miami Heat look like they are still contenders.

Miami Heat v New Orleans Pelicans
Miami Heat v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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Contender: Milwaukee Bucks

The last couple of seasons following the Milwaukee Bucks championship season have ended in heartbreak for Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. After being on the embarrassing losing end of an 8th seed upset in round one of the NBA Playoffs just a season ago, the Bucks management decided to make a drastic change. They traded fan favorite Jrue Holiday for superstar talent Damian Lillard.

We all know how the summer-long drama with Lillard panned out. After wanting Miami and only Miami, the longtime Portland star had to settle for Milwaukee. With that being said, a duo of Antetokounmpo and Lillard is still one of the top in the entire association.

Just because of how lethal that combo of players can be, the Bucks are absolutely a contender. They also still have a supporting cast of names that include Kris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis among others. Surely they’ve gone through it a little bit with coaching changes and team inconsistencies, but they have a group of guys that are capable of reaching heights this season.