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Ranking the title contenders entering the 2022-23 NBA season

These franchises will be in the mix for the championship.

2022 NBA Finals - Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors celebrates with the Bill Russell Finals MVP Trophy after winning Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals on June 16, 2022 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Entering every NBA season, there’s only a certain of number of teams capable of winning a title. That chase for the championship appears to be more open in recent seasons, as stars continue to move around chasing what they believe is the ideal situation for them. Here’s a look at which teams we believe can win the championship in the 2022-23 season.

Golden State Warriors

Title odds: +600

The defending champions have some drama to deal with heading into the season stemming from Draymond Green’s altercation with Jordan Poole but this team is built to win it again. The Warriors have yet to lose a playoff series since 2014-15 where Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson play in every game. Until that happens, it’s hard to bet against this group.

Milwaukee Bucks

Title odds: +800

If Khris Middleton was healthy, the Bucks might’ve been repeating as champions last year. The guard is still recovering from a wrist issue to begin the season. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday will hold things down for the time being and they’re more than capable of doing that. This team is loaded and hungry for another title shot.

Boston Celtics

Title odds: +600

Head coach Ime Udoka is suspended for the year, causing some issues internally for the organization. That’s unlikely to bleed onto the court but let’s not forget the Celtics were .500 for a large portion of last year with plenty of finger pointing going on. This team has the talent to win it all. The question is whether last year’s chemistry is still intact.

Los Angeles Clippers

Title odds: +550

The Clippers likely enter the season as favorites to win per DraftKings Sportsbook despite never reaching the NBA Finals in the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era. The former is back after sitting all of last year with the ACL injury, while the latter showed he could be a true superstar in a leading role. This is the deepest roster in the league, so winning won’t be a problem. The big questions will be health and chemistry in key moments.

Brooklyn Nets

Title odds: +700

For all the turmoil the Nets have, they’ve also got supreme talent. If Ben Simmons can get back to All-Star status, Brooklyn’s trio has a great chance to win a lot of games. The roster is deep and has enough versatility to overcome any minor injury issues. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has caused some headaches in Brooklyn but it’ll all be worth it if they deliver a title to this franchise.

Philadelphia 76ers

Title odds: +1500

The 76ers have had some big playoff failures in recent years, so there’s understandably some hesitancy to back them here. However, the combination of Joel Embiid and James Harden is enough to provide the foundation for a winning team. The 76ers have a great starting lineup and enough depth to hang with the best teams. They aren’t the favorites but the talent and roster is there.

Phoenix Suns

Title odds: +1200

The Suns would likely be above the Sixers but there’s too much bad mojo here stemming from last season’s Game 7 loss and the investigation into Robert Sarver’s workplace behavior to feel good about this group entering the year. It’ll take some time for the chemistry and cohesion to return for Phoenix. If Deandre Ayton gets going, it’ll open things up for Devin Booker and Chris Paul to take another step forward. The Jae Crowder situation needs to be resolved but the last two seasons have showed Phoenix is for real.

Denver Nuggets

Title odds: +1800

Nikola Jokic is going for the MVP three-peat and as long as he’s healthy the Nuggets have no reason to worry about the playoffs. However, their title chances hinge entirely on the health of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Those two have had a lot of issues over the last few seasons, which makes it tough to trust them to stay healthy for an entire year. This team has the roster but it might not have enough star power for the whole season.

Miami Heat

Title odds: +2000

The Heat might be the most underrated team among the contenders and it’s easy to see why. Jimmy Butler is probably last on the list among stars, and Bam Adebayo hasn’t quite made that final leap yet. If Miami stays healthy, it likely makes the Finals last year. The Heat have shown they can overcome a lot of injury issues. Can they take that last step and get back to the Finals this year?

Los Angeles Lakers

Title odds: +1800

The Lakers failed miserably last season, with injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James playing a big part in that. If both stars are healthy, this team has the potential to win it all. The Lakers likely round out the list of true title contenders, although they are only on here because of James’ willpower. Until Davis proves he’s a star, even James won’t be enough to lead this team to a championship.

Fringe title contenders

The Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies could conceivably make the Finals, although they likely fall below these teams in terms of being labeled title contenders. Doncic has Dallas in a great spot but there’s no second star to support him. The Grizzlies have a lot of young talent looking to grow together but they are now on everyone’s radar and won’t be overlooked. It’s tough to put these teams among the contenders at this point but both are playoff locks and could make a deep postseason run if things break their way.