We’re almost halfway through the NBA season and 2023 is fast approaching. This sounds like a good time to rank the contenders in the NBA. These are the teams I believe can really win championships this year, but some need a break more than others. In a season defined by restless parlance, there are probably more contenders than ever before…
The Cavs and Pels are in the same category for me: A year away. Junior teams often need a shared playoff experience to win a ring. Cleveland missed the playoffs last season, while New Orleans was eliminated in the first round. Both have some reinforcements to their liking. Donovan Mitchell and Zion Williamson. These guys can and have made a significant impact on these clubs so far. Still, they need some playoff season before they’re done.
Phoenix lives on the brink of disaster and an inspiring story. by Devin Booker injury is a concern. So is depth. The team needs to trade. Chris Paul she looks older than usual. And despite all the hurdles and lacking starting rosters for most of the season, the Suns are just three games behind title in the West. I can’t leave this team.
8. Brown Bears
I hate to look down on Memphis like this, and I’ll justifiably draw the ire of Grizzlies fans. Grizz has been near the top of the standings all season. Ja Morant, Yaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane played just four games and 55 minutes together. Still, the lack of shots on this team started to worry me. For example, can we trust players like John Konchar, Santi Aldama and David Roddy in a playoff series? Are these the guys who will be playing? There’s still some rotational gymnastics to solve here. And Ja is clearly Ja. I just need to see a little more rep from the supporting cast in the big moments.
Now things get difficult. The Sixers have been amazing this season and both James Harden and Joel Embiid They’re climbing the rankings even without spark plug protector Tyrese Maxey, who will soon be back from injury. Still, reports of “Harden may want to return to Houston” are confusing. Do we need to worry about the investment level? And the East is really loaded this year. Overall I was impressed with Philly. Keeping them this low has more to do with how I feel about the other teams on this list.
It may even be very low. I’m not convinced that healthy Steph, Dray and Klay can be beaten in a playoff series. This team needs more vets and I think it will be before this post-season starts. A piece or two can unlock this whole thing. Then you look at Dubs’ worst league away record and think the regular season must mean something, right?
The Joker is giving us MVP-level games for the third season in a row, Jamal Murray is back to normal, and Aaron Gordon is a secret All-Star. Meanwhile, off-season signings Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown provided solid support. This is the best team Denver has come up with. Nikola JokicAnd that’s probably the best chance he’s ever had of winning a championship. My fear? The seventh-worst defense in the league. Can they get it to work around MPJ and Jokić in a playoff series? Denver needs a significant improvement on this side of the floor to be taken more seriously. You also can’t count an MVP.
They’re starting to put things together, and Kawhi again shines as a two-way Terminator. It’s ultimately a bet on Clips’ lineup flexibility and top talent. In another season, I don’t think I can put them this high. In a year with no clear crushing power, Los Angeles has more time to assemble its veteran team more slowly. Clips has a proven playoff coach and two-time Finals MVP with a high IQ rotation. Even though all the ingredients are here and far from cooking, I trust this final product more than most.
On the one hand, Milwaukee’s defense. On the other hand, half-court attack. I’m excited to see this team include Joe Ingles and Khris Middleton in the rotation, and I hope the last one can be helpful, especially when the scoring hits a stalemate and Giannis is asked to play one-on-one. It is very difficult to separate the top three teams on this list. Milwaukee’s defense has dropped slightly since the start of the season, with offense in the last third of the league. I do not like this combination, although there are good reasons to believe that both will improve.
This nets The hottest team in the NBA and Kevin Durant He plays as MVP Kevin Durant. Brooklyn is in the top ten both offensively and defensively, and the defense in particular has improved tremendously since the start of the season. The role players were great and don’t look now but Ben Simmons He seems very comfortable in the defender/distributor role that everyone is clamoring for him to play. Ultimately, what really excites me is that this version of Durant has an argument for the best player in the world. You don’t want to see Durant like that in a playoff series. If this team—a huge, giant, room-filling IF—can avoid distractions, it’s a serious problem for the rest of the league.
A good team for the modern NBA. This Celtics It is the realization of what the Clippers are trying to be. Incredible flexibility to play big or small. Defense in any position. Extraordinary shot. Depth. Final experience. Boston checks every box. The Celtics are on track to have the best offense in NBA history and are now seventh on defense after a slow start to the season. If there’s one team leaving the group, it’s Boston.