Among all the Robert Sarver selling the Suns, and Ime Udoka's one-year suspension drama, the fact NBA games are around the corner has fallen into the background. A lot of star players are coming back from injuries and that means a new order of title favorites. Here are the top 5 title contenders for the '22/'23 NBA season.
1. The Golden State Warriors - 6.50
You want to be the champ? Beat the champ. The Warriors lost Gary Payton II., and responded with Donte DiVincenzo. Time and time again, Golden State has proven fitting into their system is as important as being talented. That's why Kelly Oubre didn't work, and DiVincenzo will.
Other than that, the championship roster is back with one other major difference. Klay will truly be 100% from Day 1 of the season. Is there anything more you need to hear?
2. The Boston Celtics - 7.00
The Celtics? Are the oddsmakers insane? Not only was their head coach suspended with a lot of drama surrounding the team, but Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL shortly after joining the team, and Robert Williams III. had to have knee surgery. On top of all of that, Danny Ainge snagged the perfect guy to take over Udoka's place - Will Hardy is the head coach of the Utah Jazz.
So why is Vegas holding the Celtics in such high regard? Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown with serious Finals experience, that's why. Don't forget Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Malcolm Brogdon, and the fact it seems they have the best guy to slow Giannis down in Grant Williams. Once Williams III. returns, the Celtics still have the makings of a defensive juggernaut, and we all know what they say about defense - it wins championships.
3. Brooklyn Nets - 8.00
The NBA's soap opera team, the Nets have had a drama-filled offseason. I get the position. As long as you have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on your team, you are a title contender. But these guys are so unpredictable, I'd stay away from this one. The "if they are on the court" part is a huge "if." Did I mention Ben Simmons is their third guy?
4. Los Angeles Clippers - 8.50
If you want to take a swing at one of the teams with the best NBA odds, the Clippers are my pick. It's not just about Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. If there's a title contender that can boast insane depth, it's the Clippers. You ready?
John Wall, Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Norman Powell, Ivica Zubac, Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris Sr., Luke Kennard. The Clippers have 11 legit NBA players on the roster. That means Kawhi and PG13 can manage minutes, minimize injury risk, and be ready when it matters most. Btw, didn't think it was possible, but Kawhi got even stronger.
5. Milwaukee Bucks - 8.50
The best player in basketball Giannis Antetokounmpo, the best perimeter defender in Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton coming back to drain those clutch shots in the 4th when everyone is panicking about Giannis. The Bucks are champions who had their down year, ready to claim the title again.
Just to point out how insanely competitive the NBA will be this year, I'll list teams that didn't crack the top 5 and can legitimately win the title. The Suns (best regular season record last year), Mavericks (Luka Doncic), Nuggets (Jokic, Murray is coming back), Grizzlies (Ja Morant and the second deepest team after the Clippers), Heat (Jimmy "Mr. Playoffs" Butler, Kyle Lowry in shape, Bam Adebayo and Erik Spoelstra), and the 76ers (Embiid & Harden, the deadliest pick and roll in the NBA).