2023 NBA Playoffs: The 6 Best Championship Contenders going into the playoffs

Welcome to the playoffs! The first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs is about to begin and everyone is already feeling the heat in the air. Every participating team is now in playoff mode and is hungry for the elusive championship. Let’s find out who are the top 6 favorite NBA teams to win the championship going into this year’s playoffs.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

“Fear the Deer”. Unsurprisingly, the Milwaukee Bucks finished the 2022-2023 season as the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference with a 58-25 record. With Giannis Antetokounmpo making another case for a possible MVP trophy, the Bucks hail as the favorites to the throne.

Giannis, alongside Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, make the best defensive trio in the league right now. The three Bucks players definitely have a chance for an All-Defensive team selection while Brook Lopez could even win the Defensive Player of the Year.
As the top dog in the East, it’s easy to spot that Milwaukee is a team to beat in the playoffs. The 2021 NBA champions have a deep bench with Jae Crowder, Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen, Wesley Matthews, and more. Not to mention, the Robin to Giannis’s Superman, Khris Middleton, is not fully healthy. Despite that, the team is still a tough one to beat even though their second-leading scorer was injured for most of the season.

Also Read: 2023 NBA Regular Season Awards, Top 3 Frontrunners (MVP, DPoY, RoY, MIP, 6MoY, CoY, Scoring Champ)

2. Boston Celtics

The 2nd best team in the East is undoubtedly the Boston Celtics. Led by arguably the best one-two punch in the league right now in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics could bring in their 17th championship this year.

Last year, they were just 2 games away from winning the championship. Unfortunately, they ran into the healthy and battle-tested Golden State Warriors. Their matchup in the first round is the Atlanta Hawks, wherein the odds are with the C’s. This playoff, there is a great chance that Boston will meet Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals, a must-see battle of the Eastern giants this year.

Also Read: 2023 Kia NBA MVP ladder: Can Nikola Jokic win his 3rd MVP in a row? + Why Joel Embiid is not the MVP

3. Denver Nuggets

The best team in the NBA right now, the Denver Nuggets, also happens to be led by arguably the best player in the league, Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets are the first seed in the West despite only having Jokic as the only all-star in the team.

The 2-time MVP is leading the team in all major categories and is trying to bring a chip to Denver. With his MVP form, it’s not surprising to see that the Nuggets are one of the favorites to win the 2023 Larry O’Brien trophy and beat all odds. However, the West is a tight conference with all 8 teams having a case as possible champions. The West has the Warriors, Clippers, Suns, Kings, Lakers, and Grizzlies, who can step up and may win it all.

Also Read: NBA: 2023 All-NBA team selections – Who will get in?

4. Phoenix Suns

Since the Kevin Durant trade, the Phoenix Suns have been heavy favorites to be crowned the 2023 NBA champions. A team filled with young talents spearheaded by Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and DeAndre Ayton, this new superteam is a scary squad in the West.


Since joining the Suns, Kevin Durant never lost a game. This just sums up how effective he is with his new team. This season, KD is still averaging 30 points a game, which is a big boost for The Valley.

Also Read: NBA: 2023 All-Defensive team selections – Who will get in?

5. Golden State Warriors

When healthy and complete, the reigning champs still have one of the best starting five in the NBA. With an outstanding crew consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney, the Warriors are still a tough team in the West.
In addition, they are a far better team especially if Andrew Wiggins returns to the court.

Wiggins is reportedly coming back to help his team in the playoffs as early as game 1 of the first round. With their X-factors (Wiggins and Gary Payton II) now with the Dubs again, they could return the Larry O’Brien trophy back to California and repeat their championship run.

Also Read: 2023 NBA Playoff Picture: 1st Round Bracket Predictions

6. Los Angeles Lakers

Believe it or not, the Los Angeles Lakers only had a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs at the start of the season. But, to an unexpected twist of events, the Lakers have secured a playoff spot after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Play-In for the 7th seed.

After trading Russell Westbrook, the Lakers suddenly became a better team. Truly, as good as Westbrook was, he was not the perfect fit for the team. Now, their odds of winning the championship are higher compared to earlier in the season. Hopefully, Anthony Davis stays healthy throughout the 2023 playoffs. With LeBron James taking the wheel, the 2020 NBA champions can reclaim their throne once and for all.

Also Read: NBA: 2023 All-Rookie team selections – Who will get in?

Honorable mentions:

Memphis Grizzlies

Controversy and hate aside, the Memphis Grizzlies are probably the best young core in the NBA. Although they’re more hated than they are loved, the Grizzlies is without a doubt a team full of great talents.

Ja Morant is back in action and is ready for a successful post-season run. With the help of all-star Jaren Jackson Jr. and great offensive weapons such as Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, and Dillon Brooks, this team has a bright future.

Philadelphia 76ers

We can’t count out the MVP front-runner and The Beard for the NBA championship just yet. The scoring leader, Joel Embiid, and the assists leader, James Harden, is the best pick-and-roll duo in the league right now.

Embiid could win the MVP this year with his career-best performance this season while James Harden has become an amazing floor general. The only hurdle they need to overcome is how consistent they can be on both ends of the floor. Unlike Boston and Milwaukee, the Sixers aren’t the best on defense.

Sacramento Kings

Light the beam! After almost two decades of playoff drought, the Sacramento Kings get a taste of the playoffs once again. The Kings have been mediocre for the past years and were never able to reach the playoffs, even though they had DeMarcus Cousins in the 2010s.

This year, Sac-Town is a much better squad with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis leading the way. Who knows? They may be able to beat all odds and win the championship on their first playoff appearance since 2006! That’s already reaching, but, NBA is where amazing happens.

Do you agree with our list? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

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