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: New York Knicks

Now this is a long-awaited status for this team, but the New York Knicks are a contender. They are going through their toughest stretch of basketball this season currently, going 3-7 over their last 10 games. Regardless, they will be getting Julius Randle back from injury at some point in the near future and then they can continue the dominance they displayed earlier in the year.

They already had a super strong team heading into this season. Then the front office made some serious moves to show that they are going all in with this Jalen Brunson-led Knicks squad. New York was the winner of the trade deadline with the acquisitions of both OG Anunoby and Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Knicks came just two wins shy of reaching the Conference Finals a season ago. Now they are back and better, with even more development and progression in Brunson’s game. The Knicks fan base may have deserved this status after decades of disappointment, but they need to find out if Brunson is the tier 1 superstar needed to get over the hump.