It seems a lifetime ago that we last saw the NBA greats step onto the court and play ball. The 2023 season, cut short by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their 17th NBA Championship and everything points towards that happening again this coming season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the shortest price in the Online Sports Betting NBA and by some margin. Bovada, for example, prices a Lakers NBA Championship victory at +210 with the Brooklyn Nets the closest to them with NBA Championship odds of +525.
Only eight teams have managed to win back-to-back championships in the NBA’s long and illustrious history. The Lakers achieved this feat in 1987-1988, 2009-2019 and even won three-in-a-row between 2000-2003. Before becoming the Los Angeles Lakers, the Minneapolis Lakers won back-to-back times in 1949-1950 and three consecutive titles from 1952-1954.
Lakers’ chances of glory received a boost recently when the talismanic LeBron James signed a two-year $85 million contract extension, tying him to the Lakers through the 2023-23 season.
James is an age-defying phenomenon. He’s 36-years-old on December 30 yet shows no signs of slowing down, not in the slightest. James was selected for his 16-consecutive NBA All-Star game and finished the season being crowned the NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time.
If James can stay fit throughout the series it’s difficult to look past Lakes being crowned 2023 NBA Champions.
Kevin Durant Ready to Shine For the Nets
Brooklyn Nets are the current second-favorites for NBA Championships glory with odds of +525. The Nets have only ever reached the finals twice, losing in both 2002 and 2003 when they were known as the New Jersey Nets.
How does a team with a 0.486 record in the 2019-20 season, resulting in a seventh-place finish in the Eastern Conference, soar to second-favorites for the title? By signing an NBA superstar, that’s how.
Kevin Durrant signed for the Nets on July 7, 2019, but he sat out the entire season through injury. Durrant is fresh and ready to tear up the court like only he knows how. He scored more than 22,000 points during a sparkling career, made almost 3,500 assists, and has more than 6,000 rebounds. A player of this caliber is what the Nets have cried out for years for.
Will This Be a Special Year For the Bucks?
Milwaukee Bucks last won the NBA Championships in 1971 meaning victory in the 2023 season would be the 50th anniversary. They’re a +600 shot according to the latest betting markets and that seems a fair price considering their impressive 0.767 record last season.
The Bucks went 30-5 at their Fiserv Forum home but fell 4-1 to eventual finalists Miami Heat in the Conference Semifinals.
Bucks have a trio of legitimate stars in their starting line-up. Small forward Khris Middleton, Point guard Jrue Holiday, and the legendary Giannis Antetokounmpo who averaged a career best 29.5 PPG during the regular season last year.
The Best of the Rest
The three teams mentioned above are the most likely to lift the coveted NBA Championships trophy but you can never write off the chances of some of the excellent franchises in the chasing pack.
Golden State Warriors (+1800) endured a dreadful season last year; their 15-50 record was the worst in the entire NBA. That was mostly down to losing Kevin Durrant to the Brooklyn Nets and Stephen Curry only managing five games thanks to breaking his hand. It’s been almost 550 games since Curry last played a meaningful game and he’s raring to go. Everything positive the Warriors do goes through Curry, expect him to shine during this campaign.
Los Angeles Clippers (+700) should have a major say in where the title ends up, especially if Kawhi Leonard manages to continue improving as he has for the past two seasons. Clippers also need Paul George to rediscover his 2018-19 form that he showed with Oklahoma City.
Everything is shaping up for a fantastic 2023 NBA season and we cannot wait for the show to get on the road.
Bonus: The Most Surprising NBA Championship Finals in the History
As you see, we highlighted teams that are the biggest favorites for winning the NBA championship. However, that doesn’t mean the predictions are going to be correct. Of course, certain signs confirm which teams have bigger chances over others. Yet, if you want to find the most correct answer, you should look into the past. It happened a couple of times that the NBA finals were surprising. More precisely, no one believed certain teams would manage to become champions. Let’s find out some of the most interesting ones.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons (2004)
We do not want to say the starting lineups of the Los Angeles Lakers were not strong. On the contrary, players like Karl Malone, Gary Payton, O’Neal, and Kobe are the best basketball players of all time. On the other hand, the Detroit Pistons was a team that had a pretty unknown lineup. Many players of that team were unknown to the worldwide population. However, those “anonymous” players managed to become the best defensive team of the session.
No one believed the series would finish in five games. The Pistons managed to beat the Lakers with 4-1. The team with some of the best individuals of all time didn’t know how to stop Pistons on both sides of the court. That was probably the reason why the entire team was broken up next year. For instance, Malone retired, and O’Neal and Payton went to Miami Heat.
Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks (2011)
The final series in 2006 between these two teams is probably the most controversial one of all time. Fortunately, both teams reached the finals five years later. However, the lineups of both teams were pretty different this time.
It is the year when the so-called Big Three was playing for Miami. Of course, we are talking here about Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. These three players were all superstars, and everyone predicted Miami would become a champion.
On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks was a team full of veterans. Those veterans had never won the ring after years of playing in the NBA. A good example of that was Dirk Nowitzki. He was 32 years old then, and that final was probably his last chance to reach his goal. That was probably a huge motivation for him. He was playing like crazy and the Dallas Mavericks managed to defeat one of the strongest teams of all time.
Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets (1995)
For the end of this list, we need to highlight the final series in 1995. It is correct that the Houston Rockets won the championship only a year before that. However, in 1995, they finished in sixth place in the Western Conference. Thanks to Hakeem Olajuwon and his shooting skills, the team managed to win the championship once again. Believe it or not, Olajuwon achieved 32.8 points per game in the final series. We will see if there is an individual who can do the same thing this year.