Which NBA team has the best chance to win the Finals?

Which NBA team has the best chance to win the Finals?

Colten Stoutenburgh, Reporter

        The NBA season is finally underway and many fans are hoping that it’s the year for their favorite team. The ultimate goal is to be the final team standing, but only one team can be the champion every year. The Golden State Warriors won the Finals last season and they have now won 4 out of the past 8. There were a lot of changes this off-season and here is my ranking of who I think has the best chance to win the Finals. Remember that this is not based on it right now, but once playoff time comes around who will win it all? 

  1. Spurs – The Spurs have been a very good NBA team for a while, but they have taken a major step back this year. They traded away their best player Dejounte Murray and did not get any other very good players in return. The majority of their team is very young and while they develop and turn into better players for the future they will probably be one of the worst teams in the league. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell are good enough to get them some wins but I think they still end up with the least in the NBA. 


  1. Thunder – Oklahoma City could be okay, but they probably won’t be for another year or two. They ended up with the second pick in the draft this past summer and drafted Chet Holmgren. Sadly for them, he tore his ACL and will be out the entire season. They have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who is a top 40 player in the NBA, but he has struggled with injuries in his career. Similar to the Spurs, they have a lot of young players that aren’t amazing right now and will probably struggle this season. They should be an exciting team to watch. 


  1. Rockets – The Rockets could surprise people and be higher this season, but they will probably be one of the bottom teams in the NBA. They have a pair of good young guards in Kevin Porter Jr and Jalen Green. Outside of them, they have a super-inexperienced team. They will be rebuilding for a few more seasons before being a competent team again. Rookie Jabari Smith Jr has also been playing pretty well at the start of his NBA career. 


  1. Pacers – Tyrese Haliburton is one of the better young guards in the league and will help them not be the worst team in the league, but one player can only do so much. Benedict Mathurin is a really good rookie that they picked with the 6th overall pick in the draft this past season. Myler Turner and Buddy Hield are both good players, but will probably be traded throughout the season according to rumors. Outside of that their team is lackluster and probably won’t be very good. 


26. Pistons – Detroit will be one of the most fun teams to watch led by Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, but it most likely won’t lead to a lot of wins. They are a very inexperienced team with a lot of young pieces. Hopefully, one of them can take a jump and improve compared to last season. If not though I’m not sure how successful this team can be. Saddiq Bey is a breakout player candidate and should have the best season of his career. Jalen Duren has also been one of the top rookies early on.


  1. Magic – They ended up with the first overall pick last season and drafted Paolo Banchero who is good. He is the rookie of the year frontrunner and rightfully so. They have a good amount of decent players but lack a star or superstar play. Carter Jr and Franz Wagner will help them win games and those two are the only reason they are not last on this list. 


  1. Hornets – The Hornets have missed the playoffs for the last 6 seasons and I expect them to miss the playoffs again in 2022-23. Their leading points-per-game scorer from last season (Miles Bridges) is done for the foreseeable future after getting into trouble with the police. Lamelo Ball is a really good player that will be the main reason they win games. Other than that they have Terry Rozier who is decent and Gordon Hayward who is always injured. They got a lot worse in the off-season and did not bring in any players that will contribute a ton for them. 


  1. Kings – Sacramento has not made the playoffs in 16 years. I think it turns into 17 after this season. They lack a superstar and are just a little worse than a lot of teams in the western conference. Fox and Sabonis are both All-Star-level players, but the rest of the team is just good, not great. 


  1. Knicks – They brought in Jalen Brunson to be their future point guard and that was a really solid signing for them in free agency. They will be close to making the playoffs, but I think they fall short this season. The knicks have a lot of question marks when it comes to their young guys and what version of them you will get. RJ Barrett could be really good and the same with Quentin Grimes. Just depends on what version of this team you get.


  1. Wizards – Washington is trying to do what it can to be good and I think they might be pretty solid this season. Bradley Beal is a very talented player and Kristaps Porzingis is a decent option 2. He has struggled with injuries, but when healthy he has been good. Kyle Kuzma has also turned his career since being traded from the Lakers and is very underrated. This Washington Wizards team could be quietly pretty good this season. 


  1. Jazz – Utah decided to trade their 3 best players over the summer, but they still have a decent roster. They have surprised many people early in the season. As great as they have been there is no way they can keep this up for the entire season. They will be solid, but not as good as they have been. They have a bunch of young players that have been given up on by other teams. They will prove some people wrong, but I think the best they are is the 10th seed in the West when it is all said and done.  


  1. Lakers – Lebron James and Anthony Davis are the only reason why this team will win games. They struggled out of the gate being the last team to win a game, but I trust that a team led by Lebron will eventually turn out okay. I doubt they make the playoffs. They should be an okay team by the end of the season though. They need to make a trade or two to pick up 3-point shooters because currently, they have a bunch of players that can’t shoot. If they don’t make any trades I could see this team around the 25th best, but I think they will switch it up eventually. 


  1. Bulls – DeMar Derozan had the best year of his career last season and for about the first two months they had the best record in the Eastern Conference. If they can stay healthy and get back to that point or even similar to that this team could be really good. Lonzo Ball is out for a while which is a major loss for them. They will need a bounce-back year from Nikola Vucevic as well if they want to make it into the playoffs. Zach Lavine is one of the best scorers in the NBA and Ayo Dosunmu has looked good in the first few weeks of the season. 


  1. Heat – The Heat are a good team but they are a lot older than most of the teams in the league at an average of 28.3 years old. That is the second oldest in the entire NBA. The league is turning into a much faster-paced league with a lot of young players excelling. They will struggle to keep up with some, but their experience will matter once playoffs come around. Jimmy Butler has proven he is one of the best players in the entire league and they have some really good other players in Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. All 3 of them averaged over 19 points per game last season. 


  1. Trail Blazers – This placement relies completely on Damian Lillard. He is a top-10 player when healthy and sadly he missed the majority of the season last year. He is back at 100% and with him, they have a chance to win a game every night. Anfernee Simons looked really good and had a breakout season last year when Lillard was out and should take some of the pressure off of Lillard. They made a trade for Jerami Grant which is a super underrated move. Josh Hart and Gary Peyton are two really good defenders that can do a little bit of everything for a team. Jusuf Nurkic has not been very good the past few seasons and is a downfall for them. This team should be good enough to win around 40 games though.


  1. Nets – The season could not have started worse for the Nets, but I haven’t given up all hope for this team. They have one of the best players ever, Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving is having his off-the-court issues and Ben Simmons has struggled to start the year. Who knows what will happen after they fired their coach, Steve Nash? Early in the year, they haven’t played well at all. I am taking a gamble and am saying this team will somewhat figure it out throughout the season. They have all the right pieces to go far in the playoffs, but they NEED to get all their players on the same page and play well together soon. 


  1. Mavericks – After a shocking playoff run I think the Mavs will fall off a bit in 2022. Luka Doncic is the only reason this team will stay afloat. If any injuries happen to him this team won’t win a game which is a concern. Last year he played 65 games out of 82. When he did not play last year they won 8 out of the 17 games. Not terrible, but they also lost their second-best player over the off-season to the Knicks (Jalen Brunson). They made a trade to acquire Christian Wood which so far has been good. Not sure if those two can bring this team anywhere higher than the 14th-best team in the league.   


  1. Hawks – Over the summer the Hawks made one of the biggest moves by trading for All-Star guard, Dejounte Murray. They finally have a guy who can handle the ball not named Trae Young. They will take some time to learn to play together because last year they both had the ball all the time and will now have to share it. Down low they have John Collins and Clint Capela who are both good. They won’t be super good this year but should be good enough to make the playoffs and be contenders next year. 


  1. Timberwolves – The Wolves made the most surprising trade of the off-season when they got Rudy Gobert (3x All-Star) from the Utah Jazz. They traded away 5 draft picks and several bench players that they had. Anthony Edwards is a superstar in the making and has been great to start the season. They have a top 25 player in the league in Karl-Anthony Towns. D’Angelo Russell will also try and have a bounce-back season. This team will need to gain some chemistry before they hit their full stride. When they do though they could be a really dangerous team. 


  1. Nuggets – Led by the back-to-back MVP, Nikola Jokic this team should be pretty good. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are both coming off major injuries and will need time to adjust and get back into game form. Aaron Gordon has come out of the season playing a lot better than expected and has been one of their best players so far. Hyland off the bench is pretty good as a spark plug scorer if they need it. They should be pretty good but will need time to get back to the team they were before the injuries. 


  1. Raptors – On paper, the Raptors don’t look like a top 10 team, but the way they play is like a top 10 team. The combination of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, and OG Anunoby are all good underrated players. They are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA as well. I’m not sure how, but this team always puts together wins. They won the Finals in 2019 and ended up losing their best player that year, Kawhi Leonard. Maybe they aren’t as good as they were that year, but they are a really good team that people need to respect. 


  1. Pelicans – New Orleans has one of the most fun and exciting teams in the league. When Zion Williamson is healthy he is amazing. Two seasons ago he averaged 27 points and 7 rebounds. Brandon Ingram has turned into a star for the Pelicans after being traded from the Lakers. CJ Mccollum is always a reliable player that they got from the Trail Blazers last season. Outside of them, they have a bunch of young players that are good at certain things. Herbert Jones is easily one of the best defensive players in the league, Trey Murphy can shoot the ball well, and Jose Alvarado/Dyson Daniels are good backup point guards. If this team stays healthy they should be really good for a while. 


  1. Grizzlies – Ja Morant and the Grizzlies surprised everyone last season by winning 56 games with only 26 losses. This was good enough to have the second-best record in the league. They lost to the eventual champions last year in the second round of the playoffs. Morant had gotten injured and did not play the last few games in the series. They did contend with the Warriors and still put up a really good fight. If it wasn’t for a few shots and an injury they could have won that series and I would not have been surprised. For this season though they have struggled with injuries. The second-best player on the team, Jaren Jackson Jr is out until late November at the earliest but probably won’t play until late December. Zaire Williams is out for a while along with Danny Green who will be out for the entire 2022-23 season. Ja Morant has struggled with injuries in his career as well. Injuries are a major concern with this team, but if they stay healthy they could easily be a title contender in the Western Conference. 


  1. Cavaliers – The Cavs made a big off-season move and traded for Donovan Mitchell. To start this season he has been unbelievable. He has played at an MVP level and if he stays like this for the entire season they could be a top 3-4 team. I’m thinking that they fall off a little considering they have a top 3 record in the league currently. By the end of the season when playoffs roll around their inexperience will be what holds them back. They are built for the future but are contending now. This team will be a contender for many years to come. 


  1. 76ers – The start of this season could not have been worse for the 76ers. Injuries and a tough schedule early on have them in a little hole to begin the season. Joel Embiid is a superstar and is the former back-to-back MVP runner-up. James Harden looked amazing before the injury that will hold him out for at least a month. Tyrese Maxey has also played at an All-Star level early in the season. They will be fine once they get back and healthy and should be a team that competes for a title once playoff time rolls around. 


  1. Clippers – Kawhi Leonard is back and healthy and Paul George is a top-15 player when on the court. Led by those two will already make them a contender. John Wall is finally back and is looking pretty good. Outside of that, they have guys that can shoot the ball well and play defense. They may be the best team in the Western Conference if they can piece it all together. Early in the season, they may see struggles while they build up chemistry, but I trust that they figure it all out by the end of the year. 


  1. Warriors – The former champs brought back the majority of the roster besides a few minor changes. For some reason, though they have not been able to piece together wins. They have been terrible defensively and outside of Stephen Curry, they haven’t had a ton of help on the offensive side. Despite all this, I think they have the 2nd best chance to win the Finals in the Western Conference. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are both coming off the best years of their career last year. They have an aging Klay Thompson and Draymond Green which is why I don’t have them in the top 3, but they will still be really good in 2023. 


  1. Suns – The Suns are coming off a shocking loss in the playoffs last season, but I think they are still the best team in the West. Led by Devin Booker and Chris Paul they have a top backcourt in the league. Ayton is back down low and he could take a year 4 jump. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson are both young good forwards and Bridges was a finalist in defensive player of the year last season. They have all the pieces to put together another Finals run! 


  1. Celtics – At number two it’s the Celtics who barely lost in the Finals last season. They ended up losing 4-2 to the Warriors, but the series felt a lot closer than that. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are two top 20 players. Robert Williams and Marcus Smart are two of the best defensive players in the league. They also traded for Malcolm Brogdon. When he is healthy he is a really good player that can average 18 points per game if needed. The roster is built rell and I would not be surprised if they won the Finals this season. 


  1. Bucks – Finally, the team I think has the best chance of winning the finals is an obvious pick the Milwaukee Bucks. They won the Finals two years ago and I think they can do that again this season. They have the best basketball player in the world, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are two really good options as well. Brook Lopez can handle it down low. The rest of the roster is made up of guys who can shoot and that’s what is needed to be successful around Giannis. They started the season 8-0 and that is without their second-best player (Khris Middleton). That shows how good this team is. They are amazing defensively and offensively they are a top team as well. 


This NBA season should be a good one as there are a lot of teams that have a legit shot at winning the Finals. There are many talented teams, but only one can come out on top.