With less than 45 days for the season to begin there’s a lot of debate going on around as to who will win the title this season. Nobody can actually predict who the title winner using logic and basketball reasoning. What we can however do is predict who will be the top contenders for the title.
This article features 6 teams (3 from each conference) who, I believe, will be the top contenders for the coveted prize of an NBA championship ring.
Let’s start with the Eastern Conference because it was way easier for me to predict the top 3 contenders. Also, the east holds no surprises whatsoever, when it comes to the top 3.
The Pacers recorded a 49-32 season last time around. There’s no doubt on my mind that they would easily surpass the 50-win mark. They won the Central division title and their 7 game struggle with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals just proved how eager this team is to win a championship. However, they aren’t going to be satisfied with a trip to the Conference finals this time.
The Pacers had a quiet but extremely fruitful off-season in terms of addressing their problems and plugging their holes. Their main problems were offense and lack of depth in their bench. Danny Granger’s return will add enough spunk to their offense to improve their chances this time.
Their acquisitions of C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan will add more depth to their bench. Their squad looks terrific, physical, young and dominating. With Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West and Danny Granger as their core, this team definitely looks good enough to be a top 3 contender.
However, the interesting point is, although the Pacers have improved when compared to last season, is their improved squad enough to land them with an improvement in terms of result?
They’re the primary challengers to the Heat’s dominance in the Eastern Conference. The return of Derrick Rose will add immense depth to their roster. Without him, the Bulls were primarily a defensive team. They restricted their opponents to a paltry 92.9 PPG (3rd best in the NBA). They also scored an equally paltry 93.2 a contest. With Rose back, their offense will be taken care of.
With Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng at Shooting Guard and Small Forward respectively, the Bulls have a very effective perimeter duo. Factor in Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah and the Bulls have a defense which is even better than last time. Mike Dunleavy gives them the much needed offensive abilities of the bench. Overall, the Bulls have one of the most balanced, well-coordinated and well-coached teams and they’re quite probably one of the few legitimate title contenders this season.