The basketball season has ended with the Denver Nuggets winning the 2023 NBA Championship. As a result, everyone is waiting for what will happen in the upcoming season.
Stephen A. Smith made a list of the top five teams he believes have a good chance of winning the championship next season. He put the Phoenix Suns in the fifth spot on his list because they recently added Bradley Beal to their team.
Stephen A. Smith on next season’s contenders
“The Phoenix Suns. Why? Bradley Beal is joining the fray, Kevin Durant is still there, Devin Booker is still there, and they didn’t even have to give up Deandre Ayton. You got to build out that roster, we understand that, but when you’ve got four prolific dudes like that, we can’t leave them out of the top five,” Smith said.
Smith believes that the Lakers have a good chance of reaching the final four teams in the next season. He thinks their combination of strong defense, good coaching, and LeBron James as the leader will help them stay successful as a team.
“The Los Angeles Lakers. Why? The last time we saw them, they were in the Western Conference Finals. LeBron James is still on this squad. Anthony Davis is still on the squad. Even without CP3 being there yet, the way Darvin Ham had them playing defense… You can’t leave the Lakers out of the mix, their size and ability to play defense, and the exceptional coaching of Darvin Ham, you have to put them top four,” he said.
Even though the Milwaukee Bucks had a humiliating loss to the Miami Heat in the playoffs, Stephen A. still thinks they have the third-best chance of winning the championship.
“The Milwaukee Bucks. Why? Giannis Antetokounmpo, that’s why. I’ve got reservations about when Khris Middleton will get healthy but damn it, Jrue Holiday is still there. Giannis is still there. We understand Budenholzer is gone and Adrian Griffin is in as the new coach, I like him a lot. I think they’re going to come back with a vengeance,” he said.
Stephen A. Smith expressed his trust in the Boston Celtics, who were finalists in 2022 but faced a downfall against the Miami Heat this season. He believes that if the Celtics can keep their team together and maintain consistency, they have the second-best chance of winning the championship next season.
“The Boston Celtics. Why? Because Jayson Tatum is special. Don’t think that I ignored Game 7 of the ECF, as they came back from 3-0 and tied it 3-3. Jayson Tatum got hurt in the first offensive play of the game. If he didn’t get hurt, I believe Boston would have won it. And then, I believe Boston would’ve been a better matchup for Denver… I look at their personnel and don’t see a reason to doubt them,” Smith added.
Stephen A. Smith made a straightforward choice for his top pick, believing that the Denver Nuggets, who are the current champions, are ready to win again in the next season.
“They’re the reigning, defending NBA Champions with the best player in the world right now… You look at their personnel, playing together, playing selflessly, knowing they are the champions. This is what you have,” he further added.
Picking favourites to win the championship before free agency or the Draft is risky since we don’t know what lineup adjustments these teams will make. There are serious questions about how the Lakers and Suns will improve their rosters, and the Celtics may trade Jaylen Brown. The Bucks have expressed interest in acquiring Bradley Beal, showing their desire to improve and reclaim their title-contending status. Because there is little reason to make big changes to a group that has already won the championship, the Nuggets are expected to remain stable.