Who are the favourites for the 2022-23 NBA Championship?|
With the start of the 2022-23 NBA season just over a month away, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the favourites to lift the NBA Championship this season.
With the season fixtures announced in mid-August, fans can already start looking ahead to some of the key fixtures. Opening weekend kicks off with the Golden State Warriors taking on the LA Lakers on 18 October. They will be presented with their championship rings ahead of the game and this will give the team a huge boost heading into that opening fixture.
In an 82-game season, it’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint, however, anyone harbouring championship credentials will want to get off to a good start. Making the playoffs is the first step for many of these teams. As Golden State and the Boston Celtics proved last season, your regular season wins count for nothing once you make it to the playoffs.
Golden State enjoyed a 53-29 season, placing third in the Western Conference. The Celtics had a 51-31 season over in the Eastern conference to finish second behind Miami Heat.
The Phoenix Suns entered the playoffs as huge favourites. They completed a 64-18 regular season and they were heavily favoured to push on until they suffered a surprise defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semi-Final, whilst Golden State overcame the Memphis Grizzlies and the Celtics took a narrow 4-3 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.
It was at this stage that the Warriors began to believe. They crushed the Mavericks in the Conference Final, winning 4-1 whilst the Celtics once again took a narrow 4-3 win against the Miami Heat to set up the NBA Finals. Despite Boston taking a 1-0 lead and a 2-1 lead, the Warriors would go on to win their fourth championship in the past eight years, winning games five and six for a 4-2 victory.
With this sort of form, it is perhaps no surprise to find the Celtics and the Warriors at the top of the list of favourites for 2022-23. The Celtics are 6.00 with Betway to lift the NBA Championship in 2022-23 and the Warriors are priced at 7.00 with the Bucks at 8.00 and the Brooklyn Nets at 9.00.
Analysing the favourites
Here is a close look at four of the favourites for the 2022-23 NBA Championship.
After their breakthrough season in 2021-22, reaching the NBA Finals, the Celtics will be keen to back up their strong playoff performance and prove to everyone that they are no one-season wonders.
With no major departures at the end of the season, the Celtics didn’t need a huge transformation of their roster as we head into the new season so we can expect a team that has added a year of experience playing together, as well as a team that has suffered the disappointment of Finals defeat, looking to make amends.
They have added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to their roster and Jayson Tatum should continue to develop at just 24 years old.
It would be surprising not to see the Celtics challenging in the playoffs once again this season, looking to go one step further than last time out. You could definitely argue that they have the roster for it.
Golden State Warriors
The reigning champions are back in familiar territory as they look to once again defend the NBA Championship in 2022-23.
Many people expected the Warriors to fade away last season following the departure of Kevin Durant. Instead, they would go on to prove all the doubters wrong by taking home their fourth championship in eight years.
Whilst they weren’t as dominant as their back-to-back championship victories with Durant in the team, no one can question their winning mentality and their ability to get things done at the business end of the season.
It is widely anticipated that this will be another season that ends with the Warriors having a strong run in the playoffs once again. Time will tell whether their ageing trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green can carry the team once again to glory, however, you wouldn’t bet against it.
Their run to the Conference semi-finals last year will have given the Bucks plenty of encouragement heading into the new season and whilst they fell short last time out, they will once again head into the season as one of the favourites for the NBA Championship.
They were unlucky that injury deprived them of Khris Middleton in their match-up against the Celtics last time out, otherwise that series could have been a different story altogether. Without Middleton, the Bucks didn’t have the firepower across a seven-game series, coming up just short.
This time out, the Bucks will be running with a very similar roster to last year having picked up a number of new recruits last season. Joe Ingles and first-round draft pick MarJon Beauchamp were their biggest outside additions and they also resigned a number of key players.
The 2020-21 champions will be hoping to call on their experiences from that season as they head into the new season. How they manage their regular season matches, and the premium they put on wins during the season could determine how they negotiate the playoffs as they hope to push on from the disappointment of last season and reach the NBA Finals.
Of the top four favourites, the most uncertainty sits around the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Durant requested a trade back in June, despite having four years left on his contract and despite opting into the final year of his contract, it is also possible that Kyrie Irving will also be moved on as the team look to build from the bottom up.
Given the cloud that still hangs over the Nets, predicting what will happen next season is a bit of a lottery. Even if Durant and Irving are not there next season, the Nets will still be competitive.
Ben Simmons, part of the trade that took James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers is one to watch this season. He missed all of last season with health issues, however, he is a three-time All-Star and has two first-team All-Defence honours to his name.
Young players Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas, Kessler Edwards and Day'Ron Sharpe will also be exciting to watch as they try to develop into a new young core for the team.
This could end up being a season of transition for the Nets, however, one thing that is for certain is that they will be well worth watching.