The post-2024 All-Star break Eastern Conference NBA power rankings

Who are the favorites to make it out of the East after the NBA All-Star break? We re-rank every playoff contender's title chances ahead of the final push to the postseason.

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics / Maddie Schroeder/GettyImages
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Limping challengers

6. Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler
San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Record: 30-25; Net rating: plus-0.3

Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson will miss a few weeks with injuries and Jimmy Butler has missed enough time that he’s been eliminated from All-NBA consideration. The Heat have been healthy only for short stretches this season and were finally seeming to get to full strength before losing Rozier to a knee sprain and Richardson to a dislocated shoulder against the Celtics last Sunday.

Still, they have won six of their last eight going into the All-Star break and Erik Spoelstra has landed on rotations that work. Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are playing maybe their best two-way basketball of the season, and they are getting big contributions from Jaime Jaquez Jr., Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson.

The Heat are deep, and their best basketball is still ahead of them. Erik Spoelstra will have his team peaking at the right time.

5. New York Knicks

Jalen Brunson
New York Knicks v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Record: 33-22; Net rating: plus-4.8

Few teams were as hot as the Knicks before injuries threw a rock into the machinery. They lost four straight going into the All-Star break while dealing with injuries to OG Anunoby and Julius Randle.

But when healthy, the Knicks are every bit a contender in the East. Jalen Brunson is worthy of making MVP ballots and Tom Thibodeau’s defense ranks third in defensive rating since adding Anunoby to the mix. With Anunoby, the Knicks have someone to defend the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler in a playoff series. Brunson, Randle, and newly-acquired Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks will make enough shots. Heat fans don’t want to hear this, but the Knicks are dangerous.

4. Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid
Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Record: 32-22; Net rating: plus-4.5

A lot of people are writing off the 76ers after Joel Embiid’s injury. He was diagnosed with a “displaced flap in the meniscus of his left knee,” which required surgery. He’ll be re-evaluated at the beginning of March. 

Sixers GM Daryl Morey told reporters he’s optimistic Embiid can return this season.

"We're hopeful. Feedback has been more good than bad since first we heard about what led to his procedure. So we're hopeful, and we're building the team to make it better this year. Obviously, it's not at 100 percent. But we felt like with Joel playing at an MVP level, where hopefully he could get back to that, this is a year that we have a real shot."

Daryl Morey

If Embiid returns at 80% of what he was prior to the injury, the 76ers will have a shot. He was that good, that dominant before going down. Tyrese Maxey seems like a playoff bucket-getter, and trading for Buddy Hield will add some needed shooting.