The race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference figures to be very competitive during the 2020-21 NBA season. For the first time in a while, there are four or five legit championship contenders in the East.
The Milwaukee Bucks have finished atop the East standings in each of the last two years and have the two-time reigning MVP winner in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Boston Celtics have reached the conference finals in three of the last four seasons. The Philadelphia 76ers have two superstars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and they made several good roster moves in the offseason.
The Brooklyn Nets are about to enter their first season with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both healthy. The Toronto Raptors have championship experience and an excellent coach in Nick Nurse. And we cannot forget about the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.
Which team is the best in the East? It's the Bucks, according to NBA.com's annual survey of the league's general managers. The survey asked the GMs to rank the top four teams in the East, and the results were the Bucks at No. 1, the Nets at No. 2, the Heat at No. 3 and the Celtics at No. 4.
Four percent of the GMs in this survey ranked the Celtics as the best team in the East. Seven percent ranked the C's at No. 2, 25 percent view Boston at No. 3 and 30 percent pegged the Celtics at No. 4.
Here are a few other Celtics-related items from NBA.com's annual GM survey:
--Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was among the players to receive votes in the category of "Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2020-21?"
--Ex-Celtic Gordon Hayward going to the Charlotte Hornets was the top vote getter in the "What was the most surprising move of the offseason?" category.
--Brad Stevens ranked fourth in the "Who is the best head coach in the NBA?" category. Erik Spoelstra of the Heat was rated as the top head coach. Stevens tied Nurse for third place in the "Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments?" category.
--The Celtics were in a three-way tie with the Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks for third place in the "Which team has the most promising young core?" category.
--Celtics guard Marcus Smart tied Heat forward Jimmy Butler for third place in the "Who is the toughest player in the NBA" category.
--Tatum was among the players to receive votes in the "Who is the most versatile player in the NBA" category.