Ok we have just finished an atrocious NBA all-star game, so now we can get down to the business at hand. That business is, who wins the 2023 NBA Championship? The usual suspects lead the list, the Celtics, Bucks, Suns etc… There are some teams you don’t expect to see, like the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With a record of 38-23, the Cleveland Cavaliers are second in the Central Division while fourth in the Eastern Conference.
They won eight of their last ten games and were hot right before the All-Star break.
Cleveland’s offensive rating is 115.0, which ranks them 10th. It also has a defensive rating of 109.3, which ranks it the highest in the league.
Donovan Mitchell is the offensive leader with 27.3 points per match in four consecutive games. Mitchell’s shooting percentage is 48.0%.
With 21.7 points per game, Darius Garland is the second-leading scorer on the team. He also leads the team in assists with eight per game. Garland shoots 46.8% from the floor.
Two very big men in Cleveland are able to start defensively.
Jarrett Allen & Evan Mobley are among the most talented big men duos in the league.
Allen averages 9.9 rebounds per game and 1.25 blocks per match, while Mobley averages 8.9 rebounds per game with 1.4 blocks.
Cleveland ranks eighth in defensive rebound percentage.
The Cavaliers boast four excellent starters who are all under 26 years old.
Cleveland is home to a young, talented team that has the potential to be successful in the future and now, provided the team remains intact.
With a record of 35-22, the Memphis Grizzlies are first in the Southwest and second in the Western conference.
They had been struggling before the All-Star break and lost six of their last ten games.
Memphis’ offensive rating is 113.7, which ranks in the middle of the league. It also has a defensive rating of 109.8, which ranks third in the league.
Ja Morant is the leader of the team, with 27.3 points per game and 8.3 assists per game. Morant has scored at least 27 points in seven of his ten previous games. In eight of his last ten games, Morant had eight assists or more. He’s shooting 46.6% from the field. Morant is fourth among league players in shooting percentage.
Desmond Bane, who averages 21.5 points per match, also averages 4.2 assists per match. Bane shoots 46.5% from the floor.
Dillon Brooks is also a great defensive player for the Grizzlies.
Memphis’ defensive abilities are strong enough to make a run for the postseason, but their offense will need to be more efficient. Brooks plays an average of 30 minutes and scores 14.8 points per contest, but he has only scored 14 points or more in 10 of his last 10 games.
The Grizzlies have the defense to compete for the NBA Championship if they can improve their offense.
With a record of 31-29, the Dallas Mavericks are ranked second in the Southwest Division. They are sixth in the Western Conference.
They had been playing well before the All-Star break and won five of their six last games.
Dallas’ offensive rating is 115.5, eighth in the league, and its defensive rating is 115.2, 24th.
Dallas boasts one of the best guard duos in all of the league.
Luka Doncic is the team’s leader, with 33.3 points per game and 8.1 assists per match. In seven of the ten games he played before the All-Star break, he scored at least 30 points. Doncic shoots 50.5% from the courts. He is the league’s first player in terms of usage percentage and points per game.
Kyrie Irving scores 28.3 points per game and provides 7.0 assists per match. Irving shoots 53.3% from the floor.
Irving and Doncic have only played in two games together. They each scored 25 points or more and received five assists or more in each game.
Defense is going to be a completely different story.
Dallas will struggle to stop rival teams from scoring, even though Irving and Doncic make up one of the most elite guard duos in league.
Dallas made a trade for Irving and traded Dorian Finney Smith, their best wing defender, to get Irving.
They are already 24th in defensive rating, and with Irving’s trade, their defense will be even worse.
Dallas must outscore its opponents to go far in the playoffs.
With a record of 38-19, the Philadelphia 76ers are ranked second in the Atlantic Division.
They had been playing well before the All-Star break. In their last ten games were 7-3.
Philly’s offensive rating is 115.7, which ranks sixth. It also has a defensive rating of 111.7, which is sixth in the league.
Joel Embiid is the leader of the team, with 33.1 points per game. In nine of his ten previous games, Embiid scored at least 28 points. Embiid’s shooting percentage is 53.7%. He is third in the league for usage percentage and points per game.
James Harden ranks second in the team with 21.4 goals per game. He is also first with 10.8 assists per game. Harden is the league’s leader in assists per match.
Tyrese Maxiey contributes well to the offense with an average of 19.8 points per contest and 3.6 assists per match.
Philadelphia is ranked third in defensive points allowed and eighth for steals per match in the league.
The 76ers can compete for the NBA title if Joel Embiid is healthy during playoffs.
With a record of 33-28, the Los Angeles Clippers are in second place in the Pacific Division.
They had been playing well before the All-Star break and were 6-4 in their last 10 games.
LA’s offensive rating is 112.8, which ranks 21st in the league, and its defensive rating is 112.6, which ranks 10th in the league.
Paul George is the team’s leader with 23.3 points per match and 5.3 assists per match. George missed 44 of the 61 games this season and will have to stay healthy if the Clippers are to make a deep playoff run.
Kawhi Leonard is another player who has been absent a lot for the Clippers. He has been in 34 of the 61 games. Leonard averages 22.1 point per game and 4.0 assists each game.
Los Angeles ranks 21st for offensive rating because Leonard and George both missed a lot. Since Leonard and George have been playing more, their offensive rating has dramatically improved.
The Clippers have been helped by their bench. Los Angeles ranks third in bench points per match this season.
The Clippers are ranked 10th in defensive rating despite not having George or Leonard for many games. As they get healthier, their defensive rating will only increase.
George averages 1.5 stoles per match, while Leonard averages 1.44 steals per match.
The Clippers are fourth in terms of points allowed per game.
The Clippers can make it out of the West and be a contender for the NBA Championship if Leonard and George can keep healthy during the playoffs.
We now reach the top five competitors.
The Golden State Warriors are the fifth most likely to win the NBA Championship.
With a record of 29-29, the defending NBA Champions Golden State Warriors are ranked fourth in the Pacific Division and ninth in the Western Conference.
They were 5-5 in the ten previous games they played before the All-Star break.
The Warriors’ offensive rating is 114.2, which places them 12th, while their defensive rating is 114.1, which puts them 20th in the league.
Stephen Curry is the leader of the Warriors, scoring 29.4 points per match. Curry missed 38 of the 58 games this season. Golden State’s offensive efficiency ranks among the top in the NBA, with Curry on the court. The Warriors’ offense is severely affected without Curry.
Despite missing 20 games this season in three-pointers made, Curry is currently fifth in the league.
Klay Thompson is another player who has been absent from the Warriors. Thompson averages 21.4 points per game in games he has played.
Jordan Poole averages 20.9 points per game and 4.5 assists per match. Poole and Kevon Leo have been in all 58 Golden State games this season.
Draymond Green is the team leader, with 6.9 assists per match.
Although the Warriors were not as efficient defensively this season, they have shown a tendency to be more aggressive in the playoffs.
They are 14th in defensive rebound rate.
The Warriors can compete with any West team if they have Curry, Thompson and Green healthy.
The Warriors will be healthier and climb the Western Conference standings.
With a record of 41-18, the Denver Nuggets are the first team in the Northwest Division.
The Nuggets had been playing well before the All-Star break. They were 7-3 in their last ten games.
Denver’s offensive rating is 117.6, which ranks first in the league, and its defensive rating is 113.2, which ranks thirteenth in this league.
Nikola Jokic is the team leader, with 24.7 and 10.1 points per game. Jokic shoots 63.2% from behind the basket. He is third in league assists per game, sixth in league field goal percentage and fifth in league actual shooting percentage.
Jamal Murray is the second-leading scorer on the team, scoring 20.2 points per match and recording 5.8 assists per contest. Murray has been sidelined for six games due to a knee injury. Coach Mike Malone dismissed concerns about Murray’s injury.
The Nuggets have had a great team of players in Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. Gordon averages 17.3 points per match, while Porter Jr averages 16.8 points per match.
The Nuggets’ most significant concern is their health. Gordon has missed ten games this season, Murray missed 14 games, and Porter Jr missed 17.
The Nuggets are in total health and have Jokic as a star, Jamal Murray as a Robin to Jokic and Gordon and Porter Jr. as solid contributors.
Denver’s defense is above-average, and they would be even more if they could stay healthy.
Denver is a contender for the championship at full strength
With a record of 41-17, the Milwaukee Bucks are first in Central Division and second in the Eastern Conference.
They were the most popular team in the league before the All-Star break. They went 10-0 in their last 10 games.
Milwaukee’s offensive rating is 112.7, which ranks 22nd in the league, and its defensive rating is 109.6, which ranks 2nd in the league.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the team leader, scoring 31.8 points per match and 12.2 rebounds per match. Antetokounmpo shoots 53.8% from the floor. Antetokounmpo is third in league scoring per game, second in rebound per game and first in percentage usage.
Antetokounmpo has a wrist injury. He could not play in the All-Star game because he had to wear a wrap around his wrist.
With 19.4 points per match, Jrue Holiday is the second-highest scorer on the team. He also has 7.1 assists per game.
Milwaukee’s offense will improve when Khris Middleton is fully healthy. This season, he has only played in 17 of the 58 games. Middleton averages 13.6 points per match, but is playing less than 22 minutes per contest.
Milwaukee has been powerful defensively.
Jrue Holiday is a great defensive guard in the league.
Antetokounmpo is a great defensive player.
When the Bucks are at full strength with Antetokounmpo and Middleton, Holiday and Lopez, they have one of the most talented teams in the league.
Milwaukee is one of the top contenders for the NBA Championship if they can keep their health in check.
With a record of 32-28, the Phoenix Suns are third in Pacific Division and fifth Western Conference.
They had been playing well before the All-Star break and won seven of their last ten games.
Phoenix’s offensive rating is 113.5, 18th in the league, and its defensive rating is 112.0, eighth in the league.
Once Kevin Durant is back, the Suns’ offense should be in the top three. Durant was traded to the Suns from the Brooklyn Nets. Durant hasn’t played for the Suns since he sustained a knee injury. Durant hopes to be back soon after the All-Star break.
Durant averages 29.7 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per match, 5.3 assists per match, 0.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest. Durant, when healthy, is undoubtedly the best player in this league.
Devin Booker averages 26.6 points per contest and 5.5 assists per match. Booker and Durant are a formidable offensive combination.
Chris Paul is the glue of the Suns. He is the ideal player to play alongside Durant and Booker and will be the engine of the offense. Paul averages 9.1 assists per match, and that number will only increase when Durant returns.
DeAndre Ayton, another significant contributor to the Suns’ success, is also one of their four top players. Ayton averages 18.7 points per contest and 10.1 rebounds per match.
Durant, Booker and Paul all missed extended periods this season. Durant and Paul played in 39 games, while Booker was in 33.
The biggest obstacle to the Suns’ success in the West will be their health.
The Suns are at full strength with Durant’s addition and have the best team in the Western Conference.
They are a solid defensive team. While the loss of Mikal Bridges during Durant’s acquisition may hurt their defense, Durant is an excellent defensive player.
It will be difficult for the Suns to defeat them in seven games if they can keep their players healthy.
With a record of 42-17, the Boston Celtics are the first team in the Atlantic Division.
They had been playing well before the All-Star break. Their last ten games were 7-3.
Boston’s offensive rating is 116.9, which places them third in the league, and their defensive rating is 110.6, which places them fourth in the league. They are the only league team to rank in the top five for both of these categories.
Jayson Tatum is the team leader, scoring 30.6 points per game and second with 8.6 rebounds per match. He ranks sixth in league usage percentage and sixth in points per game.
Jaylen Brown is also a star. He is second in the team with 26.5 points per game and third with 7.0 rebounds.
Boston is a great defensive team.
Robert Williams played in 23 games this season, but he’s a great defender.
Marcus Smart, who played in 42 games this season, has also been absent. He is one of the most respected defensive guards in league.
The Celtics are a deep team with starters and reserve players contributing to offense and defense.
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