Though many are familiar with the US’s top basketball league and can likely name a few stars, such as Michael Jordan or LeBron James, the NBA can be complicated for the uninitiated. Even casual fans often read articles to keep up on season play and stats.
Still, it’s easy to love the league. Basketball is quick-paced, top athletes are celebrities in their own right, and big games are exciting to watch with a large group. Those who don’t consider themselves a fan of the sport (or the league) can still enjoy both.
In the US, almost 30 million Twitter users follow the NBA’s official account. Now that sports betting has entered the US market, that number is likely to rise. For those late to the NBA world, there’s still time to get in on the action.
As sports betting becomes more popular in the US, knowing which team to back has never been more important. While buying a jersey for your chosen team may be easy, it’s best to do some research before wagering on a game—especially depending on location.
In March of 2023, Michigan became one of the most recent states to legalize sports betting. Given there’s no NBA team that calls the state home, betting sites like OLBG provide helpful information for wagering on all sports locally and nationwide—basketball included.
Depending on regulations in your state, there’s likely a comparable site that makes wagering much simpler for those new to sportsbooks. However, no matter how great a team’s odds are, it doesn’t necessarily mean the squad is popular amongst fans.
Let’s take a look at 2023’s trendiest teams, starting with this year’s champion team: the LA Lakers.
Though the Lakers are one of the league’s trendiest teams, many fans of the NBA don’t side with the LA franchise. In fact, basketball pundits were looking at rival LA team, the LA Clippers, to prevent the Lakers from taking another Championship title this year.
The Clippers were unsuccessful, and the Lakers took home their seventeenth championship title. In addition to a clear legacy of dominance since the 90s, the Lakers have a long list of incredibly talented stars to fall back on.
There was Magic Johnson, then Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Then came Shaq, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. In addition to a formidable decades-long lineup, the Lakers aren’t short on celeb fans, either. The list includes Jack Nicholson, Anthony Kiedis, and Denzel Washington.
Golden State Warriors
Heading north, the Golden State Warriors of San Francisco made their name in the mid-2010s with a dynamic group of talented players including Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
This crew led the team to multiple championship titles. Unlike the Lakers, the team did this with a sense of momentous flash that came off as heroic rather than smug. Additionally, Steph Curry and his dynamic relationship with chef-and-wife Ayesha Curry gave the Golden State Warriors an American sweetheart vibe.
New Orleans Pelicans
While they’re nowhere near being close to winning a championship, they are going to be fun to watch. The Pelicans owe this to no other than their rising superstar Zion Williamson. Since his days at Duke, this young man looked like a star. Today, he’s considered the one who will take the mantle of the next big thing in the league from the likes of LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
He’s a lethal shooter and a massive physical presence on the court. With teammates such as Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, and J.J. Redick, he will try to reach the playoffs next season. People already compare their starting five to Houston Rockets, and this is no small feat. Western Conference is going to be more fun than ever in the coming year. The one thing left is for Zion to remain healthy.
The Southwest was never this strong. Dallas Mavericks are going to be the team to watch in the not so distant future. With an up-and-coming star in Luka Doncic and one big European man in Kristaps Porzingis, this dynamic duo already took the league by storm. Doncic is an All-Star with the ability to score in series, which is confirmed by his last seasons average of 28.7 points.
With the additions of Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Dwight Powell, they are already a playoff team. If the rumors are real and they manage to add a third star in the form of Giannis or Rudy Gobert, they can become perennial contenders in the West. Yes, Dirk Nowitzki is no more, but Slovenian ace Luka took his mantle.
Bucks have the leagues leading superstar and MVP in their ranks Giannis Antetokounmpo. This makes them a force in the East, despite the fact they were disappointing this year in the playoffs. If the Greek Freak remains their player, 2023 could be their year. They’re also searching for big-name players who could complement him, and the name that pops out most frequently is Chris Paul.
They have experience and 3pt range in Brook Lopez, while tenacity is added by Khris Middleton, who is one of the most underrated players in the league. The Bucks need to leave their mark in the East past regular season where they easily dominate this time around. Miami Heat and Boston Celtics better look out as Bucks look to bring the old days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Let us not forget about Denver Nuggets. They almost made it all the way this year, carried by their big Serbian big man Nikola Jokic. If it wasn’t for LeBron and Davies, they could have gone all the way. This is not easy in the West, and in the future, all rounds are going to go through the Rocky Mountains.
Jokic averaged 25.1 points, 13.0 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks last year, which easily puts him in the top ten players in the league. The Joker is no villain, and his sidekicks such as Jamal Murray and Gary Harris make Denver a team to fear. Their name is mentioned concerning many trade rumors, and if they manage to bring some players in, they could be title contenders in the years to come.
Though neither team has performed to their former glory in the 2010s, the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls deserve a mention. Fanbases for both are passionate and vocal about their teams.
The Celtics are associated with the city of Boston and are tacked on to most city-wide celebrations. Given the domination of the team in the NBA during the 70s and 80s, the Celtics legacy isn’t likely to budge.
The Bulls, in a similar vein, are likely to remain one of the most iconic NBA teams because of its association with Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen. What the Bulls managed to accomplish with Jordan and Pippen has only been eclipsed in recent years by Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Greens’ efforts with the Warriors.