With the 2022 NBA Finals officially done as the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in six games, we now look ahead at the 2023 NBA futures and who could win the NBA Championship next season. The Dubs are the early favorite at +450, but the C's aren't far behind at +600. The Los Angeles Clippers, who will be getting Kawhi Leonard back, are also in the mix with +800 odds.
2023 NBA Championship Futures
|Odds To Win 2023 NBA Championship|
|Golden State Warriors||+450|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+800|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+2000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+3300|
Golden State Warriors
What a campaign it was for the Warriors. After missing out on the playoffs the last two seasons, they stormed back in 2021-22 and managed to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Stephen Curry finally won his first Finals MVP and the Big 3 of Klay Thompson, Steph, and Draymond all did their part while also getting some help from key role players like Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Golden State has some moves to make this offseason though, with the likes of Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr, Andre Iguodala, and Kevon Looney, among others, becoming unrestricted free agents. GP2 and Looney in particular were important to the success of this team during the season on both ends of the floor, while Porter Jr did his part too and Iggy is a vocal leader. But the most important thing is the core group is back of Curry, Klay, and Green. Plus, James Wiseman will return to the mix after missing substantial time with a knee injury. That's a big boost to their frontcourt.
The C's were atrocious before Christmas and then out of nowhere, they turned it on and were easily the best team in the Association from January on. No one believed they'd make it all the way to the Finals but Boston definitely impressed, sweeping the Nets, then knocking out the Bucks and Heat before falling to the Warriors. While Jayson Tatum failed to step up on the big stage, he is undoubtedly a star in this league and his best years are ahead of him. Jaylen Brown is also the perfect running mate and he played relatively well all season. There aren't any notable free agents for the Celtics this summer which means you can probably expect a similar roster to return in 2022-23. However, Al Horford and Grant Williams, two important pieces, are due for new contracts. With Ime Udoka gaining crucial experience in his first year as a head coach, the C's should definitely be a contender in the East again with Tatum, Brown, and DPOY Marcus Smart leading the way.
Despite bowing out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs in disappointing fashion, the 2023 NBA futures have the Nets with the third-best odds at +700. That's not exactly a surprise considering they have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. There have been rumblings about Kyrie's uncertain future with the organization due to his inconsistent availability, but there is now a belief he will sign a new extension or at least pick up his $36.9 million player option for 2022-23. KD and Irving are two of the most gifted scorers to ever play this game and with the addition of Ben Simmons, although it's unknown what he'll bring to the table after nearly two years away from the league, the Nets could have a solid Big 3. The problem is, there isn't a lot of young talent around them. Goran Dragic, Andre Drummond, and Patty Mills are all older. Seth Curry will be an important player, though.
Los Angeles Clippers
Now, this is a team you have to like. The Clippers might've lost to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Play-In Tournament after a pretty average season, but they had no Kawhi Leonard due to an ACL injury. He's set to return for next season to link up with Paul George, reuniting their star duo. There is every possibility the Clips are the best team to come out of LA when the 2022-23 campaign rolls around. Norman Powell is now in LA and he is very capable of being that third option. He also brings championship experience to the table and previously played with Kawhi on the Raptors' 2019 title-winning squad. Los Angeles is a gritty team with lots of talent on both ends of the floor and the utmost playoff pedigree with Kawhi, Powell, and PG in particular. People simply can't forget what Leonard is capable of. We saw what he did in Toronto and it could happen again, this time in Southern California.
Sleeping on Giannis Antetokounmpo? Don't make that mistake. The Greek Freak is arguably the most dominant player in the NBA and although the Bucks flopped in the East Semis against the Celtics, they're still a very good team who can't be counted out in the 2023 NBA futures. This is a group that won a title in 2021 because of how well-rounded their roster is. To be frank, if Khris Middleton doesn't get hurt in the early stages of the playoffs, there is every chance Milwaukee gets to the Eastern Conference Finals and perhaps beyond. Giannis just didn't have enough help but Middleton will be back and healthy as ever. The Bucks know what it's like to capture a Larry O'Brien and they'll have all the motivation to do so again.
There are several other teams to discuss as possible early contenders, but the Grizzlies are one who cannot be ignored. One of the youngest franchises in the league, Memphis finished as the No. 2 seed in the West and eventually lost to the Warriors in the West Semis. Many believed they would actually beat Golden State and if Ja Morant didn't get hurt and miss the latter stages of that series, there's every chance the Grizz advance to the Conference Finals. Ja was playing at an extremely high level and the group around him is absolutely solid. Desmond Bane enjoyed a breakout campaign, Dillon Brooks is a terrific role player, Brandon Clarke is a force down low, and Jaren Jackson is a budding star. Memphis has all the pieces to be in the title mix for many years to come.
Who is the best early bet?
Odds are going to change lots between now and next year's playoffs. But if I was going to make an early pick, the Clippers would be it. Paul George led them to the Conference Finals in 2021 without Kawhi. Imagine what this team can do with their superstar back on the floor wreaking havoc on both ends.
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers to win 2023 NBA Championship.
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