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.