NBA - US Sports: Five teams that can challenge for NBA title in 2022/23

22 June 2022 17:58:23 GMTPlus10
Which teams are well placed to dethrone the Dubs next year?

Golden State Warriors landed a fourth championship in eight years in 2022, but who are their biggest challengers in the 2022/23 campaign?

The NBA Draft takes place this week and free agency begins at the end of the month.  A number of teams will be able to improve their rosters in the months ahead before the new campaign gets underway, while others already have teams in place who could challenge for the title.

The Dubs are the team to beat and they are rated at +500 to pick up back-to-back titles by winning the championship in 2023, but there are plenty of legitimate challengers and here are five teams who could dethrone Steph Curry and Co next year.

Boston Celtics

Championship odds: +600

We'll start with last year's runners-up, as the Boston Celtics will look to go one better next season after losing out in six games in the Finals Series. 

With a core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, the Celtics have a team that should have at least one championship in them and next year may just be their year. Tatum has only just turned 24, while Brown is 25 and as such these two stars can improve further.

The Celtics have now reached the conference finals in four of the last six seasons and after ending an 11-year wait for another Finals appearance last season they should be hungrier than ever to go all the way next year.

Milwaukee Bucks

Championship odds: +750

Milwaukee Bucks won the championship in 2021 and could be contenders again next season.  The Bucks lost in seven games to Boston in the second round this season, but the fact they took them so close - and held a 3-2 lead after five games - suggests they could have enjoyed an extended run in the postseason if they had avoided the Celtics early on.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton on their roster, Milwaukee will always have a chance to challenging for honours - and some smart business during the offseason could see them come through the East again next year after their early exit in 2022.

Phoenix Suns

Championship odds: +900

Phoenix Suns reached the Finals in 2021 and were the best team in the regular season last year, finishing with what was comfortably a league-best 64-18 overall record.

The Suns hit a dip in form at the wrong time, however, and after dropping two games in their first-round series with New Orleans Pelicans the warning signs were there.  Phoenix suffered a shock defeat to Dallas Mavericks in the next round as they blew a 2-0 lead and ultimately went down in seven games, with Luka Doncic in inspired form for the Mavs.

You need a bit of luck to win the championship and Phoenix's ran out this year.  Of course, they have a supremely talented roster and if Devin Booker can continue to perform and they keep hold of Deandre Ayton they will be contenders, while Chris Paul is showing no signs of slowing down just yet despite turning 37 in May.

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Memphis Grizzlies

Championship odds: +1600

Memphis Grizzlies announced themselves as serious challengers last season as they claimed second seed in the Western Conference with a 56-26 overall record.

Ja Morant won the Most Improved Player award and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the running for MVP honours next season.  The Grizzlies are not a one-man team, however, and they came close to seeing off the Dubs in the playoffs despite losing Morant to injury.

If Memphis have a bit more luck with injuries next season and Morant can continue to improve as he has done over the last few years, they will be serious challengers in a highly competitive Western Conference.

Los Angeles Clippers

Championship odds: +750

Last season was a bit of a write-off for the Clippers, they were without Kawhi Leonard for the entirety of the campaign and fellow star Paul George also missed large chunks of the action through injury.

However, the Clippers still managed to finish the season with a winning overall record of 42-40 and they came in eighth in the West, before falling short in the play-in tournament, so the signs were encouraging despite those huge injury issues.

Leonard and George should be fit for the start of the new season and the Clippers are likely to strengthen further. 

There are reports the LA outfit could snare Kyrie Irving as he is expected to leave Brooklyn Nets and if they were to put together a big three of Leonard, George and Irving they would have a real chance of becoming the first Clippers side to land a championship.

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