The 2021-2022 regular season was eventful for many teams in the league, as they faced numerous challenges. Especially in the east, where the eastern conference was mayhem for the losers and winner of the conference.
Each team responded differently to the challenges they were faced against, ultimately deciding their fate of whether or not they qualified as a winner or loser.
Here are the eastern conference losers and winner for the 2021-2022 regular season:
Loser: New York Knicks
After making the playoffs last season, the New York Knicks failed to accomplish this outcome in consecutive seasons.
The Knicks’ failure to reach the playoffs can link to Derrick Rose’s midseason injury and the lack of production from stars.
First and foremost, the Knicks lost their guard Rose for the second half of the season, as he was recovering from an ankle injury.
This loss hurt the Knicks significantly because guards like Kemba Walker and Immanuel Quickley failed to match Rose’s production.
On top of the guards not showing up after Rose’s departure. Julius Randle failed to match the production that he displayed last season.
When comparing last year’s stats to this year’s, Randle’s stats have declined in almost every NBA statistic.
Expect the Knicks to make noise in the free agency market and in the NBA draft this offseason to recover from this disastrous past season.
Winner: Detroit Pistons
Now, it might seem unbelievable that the Detroit Pistons are listed as a winner of the 2021-2022 regular season, but hear me out real quick.
Reflecting on the season, the Detroit Pistons finished this season at the bottom of the league, with a 23-59 record.
This is the most wins for the Pistons since the 2018-2019. The 18′-19 season is when they last made the playoffs as an 8th seed, finishing with a 41-41 record.
The argument for the Detroit Pistons being in the winners’ conversation of this regular season comes from the potential seen in the players’ in the rotation.
Since trading for Marvin Bagley III and inserting him into the rotation. The Pistons posted an 11-16 record, with seven losses being under 5 points.
A lineup involving Marvin Bagley III, Cade Cunningham, Jerami Grant, and Saddiq Bey was the Pistons most talented starting lineup this past season .
The more this group plays together, the better their team chemistry will build. These four could be a dangerous group in the eastern conference next season.
On top of obtaining Bagley, the Pistons have been projected to birth a top 3 pick in the NBA draft.
Some mock drafts have the Detroit Pistons drafting Paolo Banchero, the skilled freshman power forward from Duke University.
Do not be surprised if the Pistons contend for the playoffs next season, with all of the talent that will be on the roster.
Loser: Washington Wizards
After making the playoffs last season, the Washington Wizards failed to make consecutive appearances, as they finished in 11th place.
Ultimately, the blame for this is poor teammate chemistry and a season-ending injury to their star player.
For starters, the Wizards lost their star player Bradley Beal midseason at a pivotal time. The Wizards were never able to recover from his departure from the starting lineup.
Beal was out for majority of the second half of the season as he was recovering from a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Before Beals injury, the Wizards were in position to contend for the play-in tournament. His absence hurt the teams chances as his availability is vital to the teams success.
Be on the lookout for what happens with Beals contract with the Wizards. Beal has the decision to either extend his contract or opt out of it to play elsewhere.
Another thing that hurt the Wizards’ chances was the teams chemistry, which was not the best before trading Spencer Dinwiddie.
The players on the Wizards felt that Dinwiddie could not play to his standards. This ultimately resulted in them wanting him traded.
This confrontation was not the only one that occurred in the locker room this season. Other players on the team often got into arguments with each other.
The Wizards did make a few trade moves to address the poor team chemistry. Unfortunately, it was not enough to push them to the postseason.
Expect the Wizards to make noise in the free agency market as they aim to return to the playoffs next season.
Each of the teams listed will be expected to make a lot of improvements this offseason. Whether it be in the NBA draft or free agency market.
The losers of the eastern conference will aim to qualify a winner next season, and the winners of the conference will strive to stay afloat the winning path.
Stay on the lookout for what these teams do to better prepare themselves to contend for the playoffs next season.
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