With just a few months left until the 2023 Finals, it’s becoming clearer who this year’s top contenders are.
The most exciting time of year is nearly here for basketball fans. Regular season games are in their most competitive month, as the playoffs are right around the corner (beginning in mid-April). Everything leads to the highly anticipated Finals series, where two teams will fight it out to the finish for the prestigious Larry O’ Brian trophy and permanent bragging rights. Although the Championship tournament doesn’t kick off until June 2nd, it’s starting to become easier to see which teams are in the best position to win it all. Here are just a few franchises that are major contenders.
The Phoenix Suns made it all the way to the Finals last year (their 3rd appearance on the grand stage), but were beaten out by the Milwaukee Bucks, and especially by the talent of their powerhouse forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, this year the Arizona organization is back for revenge with a 53-13 record that has made them the current leaders of the Western Conference. The figures over at sports betting Betway also place the Suns at a top spot to be the outright winner and, with such a strong defensive and offensive mix, the franchise is clearly one to be reckoned with.
Golden State Warriors
Next up are the Golden State Warriors, led by one of the league’s most valuable and talented players, Stephen Curry. Add the newly returned shooting guard Klay Thompson to the mix and the team is well-equipped for a shot at Finals glory. Thompson was away for more than two years due to injury leave and his renewed presence on the court is clearly giving the Warriors a leg up. This season they are also showcasing a top-tier defense that includes the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. If given the opportunity, it’s definitely worth checking out these guys perform live. And, if you do happen to find yourself at a Golden State Warriors game in the great state of California, afterward you can head from San Fran to LA and check out these top sights in the City of Angels.
The Milwaukee Bucks may have won it all last season, but they are hungry for a back-to-back Championship title in 2023 and the figures support this. The reigning champs have won an impressive 42 games so far this season, with two-time MVP Giannis proving to be a reliable asset even in nail-biting situations. The power forward was hugely influential in bringing a Finals title to Milwaukee, ending their near 50-year winning drought. The Bucks are a mighty force in the East, and they’ll just need to continue competing with other top talents from the 76ers and the Heat in order to go all the way.
The Nets are also no strangers to a strong starting lineup, with major playmakers from Kevin Durant to Kyrie Irving shaking up things on the court. In fact, in a recent 132-121 win over the Hornets, Irving made history in an offensive blowout that saw him contribute a whopping 50 points to the scoreboard. It isn’t a stretch to say that his scoring skills from that game reminded many fans and commentators of another elite shooter – Michael Jordan. No other player in Nets history has had multiple 50-point games, yet Irving has accomplished the feat a total of three times in the past three seasons. Although there is no ‘I’ in the team, with Irving on their side, the Nets won’t need to worry about blowing past competitors, score-wise. If you want to catch the organization playing live in their New York home but you live out-of-state, book your flights in advance and consider your spending budget.
The 76ers are another team that has a good shot at the Finals this year, especially since they acquired superstar player James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets. Not to mention another talented player on their side, Joel Embiid, is slated as a potential recipient of the MVP award this season. Although Embiid has never played in the Eastern Conference Finals, he has won a whopping five All-Star awards, proving he is a dominant center and asset on the court. In the East, the 76ers are mainly competing with the Bucks and the Heat, the surprising leaders of the conference with a 45-24 record. However, with such a strong lineup in Harden and Embiid, there’s no doubt that these franchises should keep their guard up.
The Miami Heat have won just three Finals tournaments since the team’s foundation back in 1988, with their most recent victories (back-to-back ones) happening in 2012 and 2013. Although they do have 6 conference titles, it has seemed a bit difficult for the Heat to reach the end of the season the past couple of years. However, this season the Heat are back on the map as they are currently number one in the East, putting up a good fight every match. This organization is hungry for the post-season and most importantly, a Finals win, but what will help them get there this time around? Well, their strong roster that boasts both defensive and offensive expertise in players like Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Victor Oladipo will be the thing that differentiates them. Additionally, every player on the Heat has an extreme level of motivation this year and that is evident each time they take the court. Of course, only time will tell if they’ll be able to go all the way.
Which NBA franchise are you rooting for this season?
So, there you have it! These are a few of the teams that fans should have their eyes on going into the Finals series. If you can’t manage to get a ticket to the live games in-person, be sure to tune in via a high-speed IPTV provider or with the help of an on-demand sports streaming service. It promises to be a heated 7-game competition no matter who ends up on the court.