This past NBA season saw the rebirth of the Golden State Warriors dynasty, as the Dubs captured their fourth Larry O’Brien Trophy in the last eight years.
As we look ahead to the 2022-23 campaign, Golden State (+600) is once again the favorite to repeat. However, with several teams expected to be back to full strength, not to mention potential additions through free agency, the opportunity is there for numerous clubs to lay claim as title contenders.Notable clubs behind/tied with the Dubs:
Boston Celtics +600
Milwaukee Bucks +600
Los Angeles Clippers +600
Brooklyn Nets +700
Phoenix Suns +1000
Currently holding the longest odds are the Detriot Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and Orlando Magic, all at +50000.
With that in mind, let us have a look at some critical teams at the top of the 2022-23 NBA Championship odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook:More Likely Finals Participant to Return?
Of course, we will have to see what plays out this offseason, but for now, my money is on Jayson Tatum and company. The East, in my view, remains the weaker of the two conferences, with the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat posing the biggest challenge to Boston’s title hopes, the same three teams the Celtics beat en route to this year’s NBA Finals.
The Celtics have the benefit of youth on their side, as their core of Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Robert Williams will all be 28 years old or younger by the time next season rolls around. Golden State, meanwhile, for all of its experience, will have one of the league’s oldest starting five, headed by its original championship trio of Stephen Curry (34), Klay Thompson (32), and Draymond Green (32). There is also an argument that this year’s triumph was the weakest of the Dubs’ previous championship rosters.
This is not to suggest the Warriors won’t be one of the league’s better teams, they likely will, but it’s fair to wonder if some of the younger legs out of the West will be too much for Golden State to overcome.Clippers Highlight Ultra-Competitive Oddsboard
The slim odds at the top immediately stand out to me, with the Warriors, Celtics, Bucks, and Clippers all listed at +650 or better. Of those four, the team I am most intrigued by are the Clippers at +650.
Playing the majority of last year without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, LA still managed a 42-40 regular-season record. That was good for ninth in the Western Conference before the Clips ultimately failed to make it out of the play-in tournament. With Leonard and George reportedly back to full health, Ty Lue and company are poised for a deep playoff run.What About the Suns?
The other odds that jump out are the Suns at +1000, especially after they were embarrassed by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the second round. Still, the Suns boast an impressive group led by Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Mikal Bridges. Phoenix won 64 games last season, and while they may lose Deandre Ayton in free agency, they should be able to find a worthy replacement via a sign and trade. Monty Williams and company will be motivated to put last year’s disappointing finish behind them.What to Make of the Brooklyn Nets
We’re barely a week into the NBA offseason, and the drama is already swirling in Brooklyn. Holding the fifth-best odds at +700, the Nets and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving ended their standoff regarding his contract situation, but have they alienated fellow superstar and teammate Kevin Durant with their stance on Kyrie?
Irving had reportedly compiled a list of teams he would play for in the event of a sign and trade, while Durant was said to be pondering his future with the organization. While both may remain in Brooklyn, which seems more likely now that Irving has opted in, the Nets are impossible to judge until a final resolution is reached.