Who are this season’s big contenders for the NBA Championship
We’re now about a month into the NFL season, and the oval ball game is providing plenty of talking points both on and off the field. For many of us, attention now turns inexorably towards the parquet floors of the NBA and this season’s basketball betting. There are endless subplots in the basketball league even before you start to talk about which records will be broken, or which teams will tank to get the best draft pick. Chief among them must be whether Golden State can keep up their title-hoovering record of recent years, or whether they’ll be knocked off their perch by one of the teams around them.
This is a big year for a lot of teams, Golden State among them. With a draft coming up that is more than usually stacked with riches, there could be something of a shift in the power dynamic after this season, and time will tell in whose favour that tilts. But with the pressure amping up on the best teams, here are the three big contenders along with a summary of what they’ll need to keep in mind with a new season around the corner.
Golden State Warriors
When you’re on top, you’ve earned the right to be talked about first. And one thing we need to say is that Golden State has got a fight on its hands to be one of the teams contesting the championship at the end of the season. Of course, Steph Curry is still there, draining three-pointers like a vampire, and you can back him to hit more than 300 on Cloudbet.
However, the loss of Garry Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. is going to be hard to process on the court even if they’ve recruited well in bringing in JaMychal Green among others. Still, you don’t win titles by being unable to adapt, so the Warriors - who have won more than anyone else in recent years - have to be given due respect at the top end of the race.
How time has passed since they were the poorer relations in the LA basketball game. The Clippers have moved out of the Lakers’ shadow in terms of playing personnel, now is the time for them to find a championship-winning formula on the court. The Clippers’ fans won’t need reminding that they are the oldest NBA franchise never to have competed in the finals, and if they don’t get there this year then coach Ty Lue will have to bear some degree of culpability. He certainly can’t point to a lack of on-court talent, because this roster is filled with it; they could arguably field two playoff-contending starting fives from the quality they’ve accumulated.
If there is to be a contender from the East, then it will surely be Boston. They’ve kept together a playoff team, added quality where it was needed in Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari and had a young set of players already who are only going to have improved over the last year. Is it the best Celtics squad since the 1980s? It might be - we’ll need to see them compete for a few titles before we can really make that call.