By Ryan McKinney
As the beginning of the new season kicks off, we look to see which team will come out on top as there are many big contenders. Starting in the Eastern Conference, many teams have a real shot at winning the title including the Celtics, Bucks, Cavaliers, and the Heat.
The Boston Celtics seek to come out hot like the team finished last season. They have many stars including young forward Jayson Tatum. Through the first three games, Tatum averaged 34.3 points per game and killing it so far for the Celtics this year. While doing so Tatum says, “I’m feeling better than ever and I’m having a blast too.”
The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to bounce back from their semifinal playoff exit last season. The Bucks are led by the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo uses his strength to score almost all his points in the paint. He is a driving force in the Bucks success, and they will need him to stay out of injury trouble if they want a shot at the title this year.
The Cleveland Cavaliers received a new addition to their team that has already shined in their surprising 7-1 start to the season. Their new addition is guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz as he already has a forty-point game on the stat sheet during an overtime thriller against the Celtics. The Cavaliers have been cruising so far but let see if they can keep it up with their tough schedule ahead of them.
Lastly for the Eastern Conference is the Miami Heat as they’ve had a rough start to the season. So far, they’re 4-6 through their first 10 games, and it is mainly due to their lack of toughness on the defensive end of the court. Although this may be true, Coach Eric Spoelstra always has a plan to fix the issues and with so many offensive weapons it’s safe to say they’re contender in the East.
Moving on to the loaded Western Conference, many teams have a shot at the title. The teams include the Trailblazers, Suns, Warriors, Jazz, and Timberwolves. Surprisingly, Lebron James and the Lakers have started the season slow. Many of the Western title favorites are filled with new recruits and pickups that have brought them success so far this season.
Through the first few games, the team that started in first but has slid to fourth are the Portland Trailblazers. The Trailblazers are led by Damian Lillard and recruit Jerami Grant. The roster is also very deep with many young threats that has the potential to make a championship dynasty. The future for this team is bright and I can’t wait to see what kind of success they’ll have this season.
The next finals favorite in the West are the Golden State Warriors coming off their historical run last year. The Warriors are led by guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. With the two of the main players healthy, the team’s offensive flow goes way better along with a much better three-point percentage. Along with them, the team contains young stars like Jordan Poole and emerging stars like Andrew Wiggins. So far, the Warriors are on a rough start due to the squad “lacking purpose” says head coach Steve Kerr. Overall, I think the Warriors have the best chance to win the title this year due to their long winning streaks and extremely deep roster.
Another strong contender in the West is the Phoenix Suns because of the dynamic duo on the squad. This duo consists of guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker as they both are dying for a finals visit again. Two years ago, they lost to the Bucks in six games in which Antetokounmpo had numerous 50-piece games. Besides the point, the Suns have a real chance at the title this year as many players seek revenge and look to do better than last years playoff run.
Moving on, the Minnesota Timberwolves have thrived with their new strategy. After trading for Rudy Gobert in the offseason the Timberwolves now have the two best centers in basketball on the same team. Karl Anthony Towns has struggled a little bit with defensive shifts, but he’ll pick that up and the team is still succeeding otherwise. Overall, the Timberwolves could be the team that shocks fans this year and take the trophy.
Lastly, the Utah Jazz have surprised everybody so far this year despite losing their two best players in the offseason. They received young star Collin Sexton from the Cavaliers who is shining this year now that he gets his own spotlight. Sexton is the main reason the Jazz are currently second place in the West right now, so let see if the team can keep it up.
Overall, there are many teams that have a chance to win the title this year, but my prediction is that the Golden State Warriors will beat the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. Then the Boston Celtics will beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals creating a rematch. In this finals series, I have the Boston Celtics gaining revenge and beating the Warriors in a tight seven game series.