The Golden State Warriors are your 2022 NBA champions after defeating the Boston Celtics in six games. My NBA Finals prediction came true seeing the Warriors in six was something I guessed. This marked their 4th championship in 8 years and making them a dynasty in the process. Steph Curry finally took home the NBA Finals MVP after a stellar series. Many believed the Warriors were a favorite if Klay came back healthy. Klay came back, but the emergence of Jordan Poole helped propel the Warriors to become champions once again. With that said, can the Warriors repeat and win the championship next season? Who will be their biggest threats as the core group goes for a 5th championship? Below are the top 8 NBA teams heading into the offseason.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors will enter the offseason as the defending champions. The only question mark they have on their roster is Jordan Poole. The talented guard will have one year left on his cap-friendly contract. Will they extend him? If so, will the Warriors be forced to trade something to make room for his contract? Kevon Looney played great in the playoffs for the most part as he’s set to hit free agency. Golden State should have a healthy James Wiseman next season and that will do wonders for the Warriors frontcourt. Gary Payton II is also a free agent, and will Wiggins pick up his option for next year? Either way, I’m still picking the Warriors as the favorite to become the 2023 NBA champions.
The Boston Celtics were the runner-ups to the championship this season. After a miserable start to the season, they went on an impressive run during the second half of the season. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have solidified themselves as stars and they’re still young. Robert Williams II have become one of the better defenders in the league. The Celtics will do a little work on the roster as they hope to return to the Finals next season. Being they are the defending Eastern Conference champs; Boston is the favorite to come out again.
The 2021 NBA champion Bucks were eliminated by Boston after an exciting and grueling seven game series. Many believe the Bucks would have beat the Celtics if Khris Middleton wouldn’t have gotten injured. The core of Giannis, Middleton and Jrue Holiday will have them in the thick of things next season.
This young team was on the cusp on taking it to the next level. Some thought the injury to Ja Morant opened the door for the Warriors to advance. The Grizzlies will sign Morant to a supermax extension during the offseason. The team need to stay healthy and keep the same fight they had during this past season. Tyus Jones is one of the better backup point guards in the league and they will need to resign him. With the shot Klay took at Jaren Jackson Jr., could we see a Warriors and Grizzlies conference finals next season?
The Miami Heat finished the regular season as the top dogs in the Eastern Conference. They fell to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Many believe that if Tyler Herro wasn’t injured, the Heat could have advanced to the NBA Finals. They have several questions to answers as they try to make it to their 2nd NBA Finals in four years. What kind of an extension will it take to keep Tyler Herro? Will P.J. Tucker remain with the team? Can Kyle Lowry get into better shape for the upcoming season? It has been rumored that they could go after Donavan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. Expect Miami to be in the thick of things in the East and be one of the favorites for an NBA Finals appearance.
The Dallas Mavericks overachieved this past season. They made it to the Western Conference Finals but were clearly overwhelmed by Golden State. They have already started making moves by trading for Christian Wood of the Houston Rockets. The top priority for Dallas will be to sign Jalen Brunson to a long-term extension. After a stellar playoff run, Brunson will have his fair share of suitors. Mark Cuban will find ways to make moves to upgrade a better roster around Luka Doncic.
The Denver Nuggets were eliminated by the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. Jokic had another incredible season where he became a 2-time defending league MVP. Unfortunately, the Nuggets had issues staying healthy last season. Jamal Murray missed the entire season after tearing his ACL a year ago. Michael Porter Jr. had another back procedure done and missed most of the season. With those guys back healthy, this team could be the surprise team of the entire league. Don’t be surprised if this team is lurking at the top of the conference all next season.
Los Angeles Clippers
Speaking of teams that dealt with injuries, we can turn our attention to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi Leonard will return to the Clippers after missing the entire season with an ACL injury. Paul George also missed a significant amount of time last season. Reggie Jackson and their young core held it down for most of the season. In this league, you need your stars, and the Clippers are hoping to have their big 2 all season. Norman Powell and Robert Covington adds more scoring for this squad. The west will be stacked again this upcoming season and we could see the Clippers make a good run.
What do you think about my top 8 teams headed into this offseason? How would your top 8 look? Who would you take out from this group? Who would you replace them with? Leave some feedback below about my top 8 NBA teams heading into this offseason.