Tuck: 11 NBA Teams With Title Aspirations

No free agent has signed yet.  No player trade is official yet.  But I can pretty simply conclude that a little over 1/3 of the league believes it will compete to win a championship next basketball season.  It’s getting crowded at the top.

July 10 things will start becoming official. More players will sign after then, but barring a mega-trade, 19 teams can be ruled out as championship-caliber in 2013-14.  5 will make the playoffs, and perhaps another 5 will challenge to make the playoffs,with the other 9 fighting it out for placement in the lottery.  That leaves us with 11 trying to win a title.

In the East, there are 5 teams.  Miami, Brooklyn, Indiana, New York, and Chicago.  The Heat will almost assuredly finish as a top 3-seed, with the other four duking it out for home-court advantage.  On paper, they all have strong arguments.

In the West, there are 6 teams.  San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Golden State, Houston, and the Los Angeles Clippers.  On paper, they all look like 55+ win teams, so it could come down to injuries/luck to determine their order of finish.  The latter three all made big, bold moves to increase their chances to pass the former three.

The NBA gets criticized for being a have/have-not kind of league, but I’d argue that having 11 very good and capable teams who are all pretty even will lead to more excitement.  Last season I felt there were 3 teams good enough to win it all.  The Heat, Thunder, and Spurs.  I just wanted to get the Finals.  Now I feel like that top shelf has gotten more crowded.  I can’t wait for the playoffs.  Sure, all these teams have flaws, but that is why there isn’t an elite team(s) head-and-shoulders above the others.

The regular season will have plenty of stories, but arguing about the rank of those 11 teams should be plenty of fun.

1/3 of the league may stink, and if you choose to focus on that, you’re missing out on what could be one of the most riveting NBA seasons yet.