(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

NBA Title Favorites 2019-20

Rob Joyce
October 09, 2019 - 3:12 pm
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Last week we outlined all of the movement in the NBA this offseason, with a ton of big names around the league switching teams. That means the hierarchy we’ve been used to the past few seasons could be no more. The dynasty in Golden State looks to be on its last legs – if it’s even still there – numerous teams are loading up in the West, there’s a fight for who’s better in Los Angeles, and the East looks like it could be wide-open.

With so much change, who are the favorites heading into the regular season? We’ve got you covered with the five teams most likely to win it all next June:

5) Los Angeles Lakers:

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

We’re not as high on the Lakers as most. Sure, they (finally) acquired Anthony Davis from New Orleans, but there are still question marks to be answered. For one, LeBron James missed significant time for the first time in his career last season. He turns 35 in December and has never logged fewer than 35 minutes a game on average. He’s phenomenal, obviously, but he can’t be the guy every night.

Davis, meanwhile, is finally out of purgatory and becomes the focal point of the LA offense. Are there enough pieces around LeBron and AD to get past some of the other beasts out West?

4) Philadelphia 76ers:

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

There was a lot of drama in Philly, yet they still managed to win 51 games and came within a bounce of the Eastern Conference finals. One of those making headlines is gone in Jimmy Butler, but they did add veteran big man Al Horford to join the Joel Embiid-Tobias Harris-Ben Simmons trio. Those four plus new addition Josh Richardson could make up the best starting five in the league. But in an 82-game season plus a playoff run, someone on the bench is going to have to step up, because there doesn’t appear to be much depth.

3) Milwaukee Bucks:

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Bucks had their most successful season since 2001, but it had to have left a bad taste. Up 2-0 in the conference finals, Milwaukee lost four straight to eventual-champion Toronto, and now expectations are even higher. Having the reigning MVP and a superhuman in Giannis Antetokounmpo is a good start. Kyle Korver and Wes Matthews were good veteran pickups, and there are really only two contenders in the East in Boston and Philadelphia (sorry, Brooklyn… next year).

2) Houston Rockets:

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Seemingly stuck with a monster contract for an aging star, the Rockets found a taker for Chris Paul’s deal and got the triple-double machine himself in return. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are re-united once again – now can they co-exist? Paul, when healthy, was an excellent fit for the voluminous-shooting Harden. Westbrook, too, distributes, but he also goes into his superhero spells. If it works, it’s the best duo in the NBA. If it doesn’t, then this will look silly in eight months.

1) Los Angeles Clippers:

(Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

For the first time maybe ever, the Staples Center has both of its basketball tenants in realistic search of a title. Kawhi Leonard coming home to California and essentially convincing Paul George to force his way out of Oklahoma City makes L.A. in full “win-now” mode, considering they gave up five first-round picks for him.

Now, there’s a caveat here: George will miss the first chunk of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery over the summer. Those few games might cost the Clips the one-seed in the West, but no matter. The regular season means very little for the top teams. Just get in, and win in the postseason.

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