NBA preview: It's all or nothing for Bucks in the East

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has a new maximum contract and two consecutive MVP awards, but no appearance in the NBA finals. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)
The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the NBA for the past two seasons but have not yet reached the finals and fell in the conference semifinals against Miami Heat in the Florida bubble in September.
Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has pledged to stick with the franchise after signing a maxi deal this off-season. And the bucks have improved their roster. Will it be enough The east has become top heavy, and Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, Philadelphia and Toronto have title aspirations too.
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A team-by-team preview of the Eastern Conference for the 2020-21 NBA season.
ATLANTIC DEPARTMENT
TORONTO
2019-20: 53-19 (2.)
Eliminated in the second round from Boston
Hello: Aron Baynes (FA), Malachi Flynn (draft).
Goodbye: Serge Ibaka (FA), Marc Gasol (FA).
Outlook: Keeping point guard Fred VanVleet on a four-year $ 85 million deal was a smart move by the Raptors that will keep them updated at the conference. Kyle Lowry remains the heart and soul of the team, but Pascal Siakam is the one with the all-around skill who needs to take another step forward so that Toronto can advance from the east.
BOSTON
2019-20: 48-24 (3rd)
Eliminated in the Miami conference finals
Hello: Aaron Nesmith (draft), Jeff Teague (FA), Tristan Thompson (FA).
Goodbye: Gordon Hayward (Handel), Enes Kanter (FA).
Outlook: Injuries are already taking a toll on the Celtics as security guard Kemba Walker will be sidelined with a left knee injury and Center Thompson has a hamstring injury until January. That means Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart will have to bear the burden until the Celtics are complete.
PHILADELPHIA
2019-20: 43-30 (6.)
Eliminated in the first round from Boston
Hello: Seth Curry (Commerce), Danny Green (Commerce), Dwight Howard (FA).
Goodbye: Alec Burks (FA), Kyle O'Quinn (FA), Josh Richardson (Handel).
Outlook: Doc Rivers has real stars in the midst of Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. It will be key to make Embiid more consistent and Simmons, a terrible outside shooter, to use his other skills to his advantage. Tobias Harris is a nice third track, but the 76s lack depth.
BROOKLYN
2019-20: 35-37 (7.)
Eliminated in first round by Toronto
Hello: Jeff Green (FA), Landry Shamet (Commerce).
Goodbye: Garrett Temple (FA).
Outlook: The consensus is that the networks have the talent to fight for an NBA championship. It starts with Kevin Durant, who missed last season to recover from an Achilles tendon injury, and Kyrie Irving. But the networks have solid role-players in Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and DeAndre Jordan. It's up to first year coach Steve Nash to bring this team together.
NEW YORK
2019-20: 21-45 (12.)
Didn't qualify me for playoffs
Hello: Alec Burks (FA), Nerlens Noel (FA). Austin Rivers (trade), Obi Toppin (design).
Goodbye: Taj Gibson (FA), Maurice Harkless (FA), Bobby Portis (FA).
Outlook: The Knicks remain a team in transition under the new trainer Tom Thibodeau. Second year security guard RJ Barrett has to keep advancing while the forward lineup will feature Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Noel and Toppin scoring points but battling for minutes.
CENTRAL DEPARTMENT
MILWAUKEE
2019-20: 56-17 (1st)
Eliminated in the second round by Miami
Hello: D.J. Augustin (FA), Torrey Craig (FA), Jrue Holiday (Commerce).
Goodbye: Eric Bledsoe (Handel), George Hill (Handel), Kyle Korver (FA), Robin Lopez (FA).
Outlook: The Bucks can feel safe now that superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has signed a five-year deal worth $ 228 million. Of course, the bucks will only go as far as he takes them, and the two-time MVP hasn't got them to the finals yet. He got more help when the bucks acquired Holiday and new role-players.
INDIANA
2019-20: 45-28 (4.)
Eliminated in Miami first round
Hello: Cassius Stanley (draft).
Goodbye: No key players.
Outlook: The Pacers, who have a new coach in Nate Bjorkgren, need Victor Oladipo to get back in shape after dealing with a torn quad tendon that limited him to 55 games in the last two seasons. Domantas Sabonis missed play in the bladder in Orlando with a foot injury and Malcom Brogdon missed 19 games with a quad injury last season. The Pacers have to be healthy to be a factor.
CHICAGO
2019-20: 22-43 (11.)
Didn't qualify me for playoffs
Hello: Garrett Temple (FA), Patrick Williams (draft).
Goodbye: Kris Dunn (FA).
Outlook: Billy Donovan left Oklahoma City to coach this young Bulls team. Coby White had his moments as a rookie last season. Zach LaVine can score, but his defense needs work and the Bulls as a whole are in the works, especially third year big man Wendell Carter Jr. Chicago has not made the playoffs since a 2017 first round loss to Boston more disputed.
DETROIT
2019-20: 20-46 (13.)
Failed to qualify for playoffs
Hello: Saddiq Bey (draft), Jerami Grant (FA), Killian Hayes (draft), Mason Plumlee (FA).
Goodbye: Luke Kennard (Commerce), Christian Wood (Commerce).
Outlook: Apart from Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, the Pistons are a no-name team. Grant caused a sensation in last season's playoffs with the Nuggets, while the draft landed them Hayes (No. 7) and Bey (No. 19). But the pistons were terrible last season and are not expected to improve significantly.
CLEVELAND
2019-20: 19-46 (15.)
Didn't qualify me for playoffs
Hello: JaVale McGee (Commerce), Isaac Okoro (Design).
Goodbye: Tristan Thompson (FA).
Outlook: It's a shame that Kevin Love, once the third wheel of an NBA championship team, is on this team that has no chance of the playoffs. Cleveland, which has two talented young guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, landed number 5 overall on one of the best wing defenders in Okoro.
SOUTH EAST DIVISION
MIAMI
2019-20: 44-29 (5.)
Eliminated by the Lakers in the NBA Finals
Hello: Precious Achiuwa (draft), Avery Bradley (FA), Maurice Harkless (FA).
Goodbye: Jae Crowder (FA), Derrick Jones Jr. (FA).
Outlook: The Heat will always compete under Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra. Jimmy Butler has a lot of help in Bam Adebayo who signed a five year extension, Goran Dragic who re-signed for two years, and young snipers Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro.
ORLANDO
2019-20: 33-40 (8.)
Eliminated in Milwaukee's first round
Hello: Cole Anthony (draft), Chuma Okeke (draft).
Goodbye: D.J. Augustine (FA).
Outlook: Although this squad lacks a star player, the Magic have found a way to get into the playoffs over the past two seasons. Orlando has solid top performers in Nikola Vucevic, who was All-Star for the first time last season, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross, and that core will help them fight for a post-season berth again.
CHARLOTTE
2019-20: 23-42 (9.)
Failed to qualify for playoffs
Hello: LaMelo Ball (design), Gordon Hayward (trade).
Goodbye: Nicolas Batum (FA), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (FA).
Outlook: Bad news for Hayward again. The all-star forward, who was awarded a $ 120 million four-year deal during a sign-and-trade deal, sustained a hand injury. He has dealt with foot and ankle injuries while playing for the Celtics. Ball, the third overall winner, has shown signs of being a very good passerby.
WASHINGTON
2019-20: 25-47 (10.)
Failed to qualify for playoffs
Hello: Deni Avdija (designer) Robin Lopez (FA), Russell Westbrook (trade).
Goodbye: John Wall (Handel).
Outlook: Westbrook and Bradley Beal's backcourt has the potential to be one of the best in the NBA. This was what the Wizards did when Wall was healthy, which wasn't often the case in the last two seasons. Davis Bertans, who re-signed for $ 80 million for five years, and Rui Hachimura will again have major contributions this season.
ATLANTA
2019-20: 20-47 (14.)
Failed to qualify for playoffs
Hello: Bogdan Bogdanovic (FA), Danilo Gallinari (trade), Onyeka Okongwu (draft), Rajon Rondo (FA).
Goodbye: Dewayne Dedmon (FA), Jeff Teague (FA).
Outlook: With Trae Young at the top, the Hawks should reach the playoffs. Not only are they deep, they're young and full of talent in John Collins, Clint Capela, Bogdanovic, and Gallinari. The addition of Okongwu gives them a physical presence within.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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