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Top 10 teams to win the 2022 NBA Finals

11 Apr 2022

By Dan Ippolito
The playoff picture is set for the National Basketball Association and tomorrow will begin the playoff race with the first set of play-in games. Before the start of this season, many, including myself,had their eyes on the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James to make a deep push for the title. However, some have called this team one of the most disappointing in the league’s history, as the Lakers failed to even qualify for a play-in game.

This year’s NBA title is up for grabs and here we take a look at 10 teams that have a good shot at hoisting the trophy when it’s all said and done.

10. Denver Nuggets
Injuries have hampered Denver all season as star guard Jamal Murray hasn’t played a single minute since he tore his ACL last April. It is still undecided whether Murray will appear at all during the postseason or if he will wait until the 2022-2023 season to take the floor, but it does not look good. Forward Michael Porter Jr. is also on the unlikely side of returning to the Nuggets roster for the playoffs. Porter only played nine games for Denver this season and averaged 9.9 points per game.

Despite the rash of injuries, the Nuggets not only found themselves in a playoff position but they are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and avoided a play-in game. They will square off against the Golden State Warriors, who are dealing with the injury bug, as well.

The Nuggets are led by my pick for MVP, Nikola Jokic. Jokic just became the first player in the league’s history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season. The center from Serbia is second in the NBA in rebounds and is a triple-double machine with an NBA-best 19 of them this season.

It is hard to leave the Nuggets off the list when the team is led by a player who has this much of an impact on the game. Let’s not overlook the supporting cast either. There are five other players who average in double-figures for the Nuggets, including Aaron Gordon and Will Barton. Backup point guard Monte Morris has had to fill the starting role of Murray and has been impressive this season, averaging 12.6 points per game and 4.4 assists a game.

If Jokic continues to get help from these guys and somehow Murray is able to join them this postseason, then look out for Denver as a sleeper at +2200 on Everygame Sportsbook.

9. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers’ Joel Embiid claimed the NBA scoring title this year by putting up an incredible 30.6 points per game and added 11.7 rebounds to go along with the scoring.

Philly has been in headlines throughout the year due to a major blockbuster trade that had the 76ers acquire James Harden and DeAndre Jordan from the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond.

Embiid now has a player in Harden who can thrive in a pick-and-roll offensive style. In the first round, Philly has home-court advantage against the Toronto Raptors.

Tobias Harris is another key piece to this 76ers’ roster as he drops just north of 17 points per contest and nearly seven boards. However, the most impressive piece to me has been the rising play of Tyrese Maxey.

Maxey is just two years out of college where he played for Coach John Calipari at Kentucky. Maxey has increased his points per game average by nearly 10 points this season compared to last season and is shooting nearly 43% from three.

For Philly’s opponents, the focus will obviously be on Harden and Embiid, so if Maxey and Harris can contribute big numbers as they’ve shown they are capable of, then they are a very dangerous team at +1000 on bet365 Sportsbook & Racebook.

8. Miami Heat
You may see the top seed in the Eastern Conference so low on my list and think I am crazy but the East is a very competitive conference that it is anyone’s for the taking.

The starters for the Heat are led by Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo. These three players alone are enough to build a team around and become an instant threat to the rest of the NBA.

Former all-star Victor Oladipo is looking to get his name back in the mix as he just returned to the Heat lineup a few weeks ago as he had to overcome several injuries over the last couple of years. Oladipo has averaged 12 points in the eight games he has played this season, including a 40-point performance in the season finale yesterday.

The key to the Heat’s success is scoring and that is led by Tyler Herro, who is first to come off the bench for Miami and puts up nearly 21 a game.

Herro and Oladipo need to be a big story for this team in the postseason if they want to make a run as they need to carry the load of the bench production.

The Heat are +1000 on bet365 to win it all.

7. Memphis Grizzlies
People knew the Memphis Grizzlies were going to be a good team, but very few predicted the season that they had.

Ja Morant may be one of the most electric players in the NBA with his highlight reel passes and his poster dunks. Morant drops 27 points per game and while he has been dealing with an injury that has caused him to miss the last few games, it seems he is going to be ready for round one of the playoffs.

The Grizzlies finished as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and pretty much their entire starting five and other key role players sat out yesterday in a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in the regular season finale, but should be ready to go for the playoff push.

Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane both contribute 18 points per game for Memphis and Bane is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA.

Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams are the starting big men for the Grizzlies. Jackson knows how to score and Adams, possibly the strongest man in the league, has a major presence in the paint since he is nearly impossible to move with force.

If the Grizzlies (+1400 on Everygame) can remain healthy and overcome their inexperience, they could make a deep run out of the West.

6. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks (+2200 on bet365) are pretty much waiting in the balance right now as star guard Luka Doncic will get an MRI today after straining his calf in the last game. If Luka cannot play, then I hate to say it, the Mavericks slide right off my list. However, if Luka can play, he is enough to put them in contention. He averages 28 points, nine rebounds and nearly nine assists per game, a true superstar.

The Mavs will host the No. 5 seeded Utah Jazz in the opening round of the playoffs.

Earlier in the season, the Mavericks traded Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie, who has scored almost 16 per game since joining Dallas.

Dinwiddie has been a solid boost off the bench for Dallas alongside Tim Hardaway Jr. who is not afraid to put up a shot when he gets on the floor.

The issue for the Mavs is their size. The team really only has two big men who play significant minutes and they are Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell.

If Doncic does have to miss time, a lot of the weight will fall to Jalen Brunson, who is no stranger to having to run a championship offense since he won two National Championships when he played for Villanova in college.

5. Brooklyn Nets
Before the season started, I would have called you crazy if you told me the Brooklyn Nets would be fighting for a playoff spot in the play-in games.

The Nets host the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night and if they win they will play the Boston Celtics in the first round. If the Nets lose, they play the winner of the 9/10 game to find out who will be the eight seed and play the Miami Heat in Round 1.

Luckily for the Nets, they have the most dangerous offensive player in basketball in Kevin Durant. Pair Durant with the ball handling and shooting skills of Kyrie Irving and you get a combined 57 points per game between the two.

In addition to these two stars, you have the sharp shooting Seth Curry and Patty Mills who both shoot over 40% from behind the arc.

Veteran bigs Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge are the “inside presence” for the Nets. I use that phrase lightly for these two as they tend to step out of the paint and can knock down mid-range jumpers with ease.

With Durant and Irving in playoff mode, anything is possible for this team and that is why they are only +650 on Everygame to win the title, despite the fact that they are one of the play-in teams.

4. Golden State Warriors
It is safe to call Steph Curry the best shooter the NBA has ever seen. Curry broke the all-time three-pointers made in history this season,passing Ray Allen.

Curry is dealing with a ligament injury in his left foot which could cause him to miss the playoff opener. Hopefully Curry can return and be able to play to 100% for the Warriors’ sake and the league’s since he is an incredibly entertaining player to watch.

Curry is only one-half of the original Splash Brothers, let’s not forget. Klay Thompson is back after missing basically two years due to injuries. Thompson has shown signs of his old play and in his last game, dropped 41 points. He clearly still has it and just needs to get it back to being consistent.

While Thompson was out, Jordan Poole picked up a lot of the slack contributing 18 points per contest and Andrew Wiggins added 17 a game.

On the other side of the ball, Draymond Green is always in the conversation for top defensive players. Green has also dealt with injury this season but is back on the floor and leading the defense and also leading the Warriors in assists per game.

The Warriors are a very well-rounded team and if Curry returns as his normal self, he could be leading his team to their seventh title in franchise history.

3. Boston Celtics
The word injury is seen several times in my list and that word plays an unfortunate role for the Boston Celtics.

Starting center Robert Williams III had surgery on his meniscus a few weeks ago after having a season where he recorded career highs in basically every stat. There is hope Williams can return for the second round of the playoffs. The Celtics haven’t ruled out a Round 1 return for Williams, but it doesn’t seem very likely.

The Celtics, after going 20-21 through the first half of the season, went on a complete turnaround in the second half and finished at 51-31 to secure the No. 2 seed in the East.

Williams is a major part of the Celtics’ defense but they still have talent across all positions. Marcus Smart is in contention for Defensive Player of the Year and proved all who said he isn’t a true point guard wrong.

Veteran Al Horford has looked like his old self this season at 37 years old while contributing 10 points and eight rebounds per game.

Then you have the Jays for Boston. Jayson Tatum (27 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (24 points per game) are an incredible duo who can not only score at will, but can play great defense which contributes to the Celtics’ success on that side of the ball.

If they can survive long enough to get Robert Williams back in the lineup, the Celtics (+900 on bet365) have proven in the second half of the year that they can beat anyone.

2. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference and are +500 on Everygame to win the title. The Bucks won their second title in franchise history last year and are looking to defend it.

When you hear the Milwaukee Bucks, you immediately connect the name Giannis Antetokounmpo and rightfully so.

The Greek Freak scores just south of 30 points per game and grabs 11.6 boards to go along with his scoring. Giannis is another player who is in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
Antetokounmpo is joined by all-star Kris Middleton and Jrue Holiday in their attempt to win back-to-back rings.

Center Brook Lopez is back from injury and dropping 12 points per game and is back to playing significant minutes.

The “X-factor” for this Bucks team to me is the play of Bobby Portis. While Lopez was out, Portis took over that starting center position and did nothing but perform well. This season, Portis scores nearly 15 points and pulls down nine rebounds on average. On top of that, Portis can shoot the three at 39%.

It is no doubt that Giannis will find ways to score for Milwaukee no matter what, but if the others, including Portis can contribute as they have all season, then it will be no shock if the Bucks find themselves coming out of the Eastern Conference.

1. Phoenix Suns
What an incredible season for the Phoenix Suns this year. The team posted an NBA-best 64-18 record and are looking for revenge. The 64-win season is the most in franchise history.

Last year, the Suns fell just short of the championship as they lost to the Bucks in the finals. With that in the back of their mind, the players for Phoenix will look to complete that final step.
I have to admit, this might be one of the most well-rounded teams I have seen in years. The Suns have a plethora of players that can score and shoot.

The offense is led by Devin Booker who puts up nearly 27 a game. Chris Paul is the floor general for this team and distributes 11 assists per game. It helps when you have shooters like Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder and Landry Shamet all ready to shoot at any point.

Then you have the big bad center of Phoenix with Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee who can both finish around the rim and be rim protectors.

Going into the playoffs last year, many of the Suns were inexperienced for postseason play, but now they have that chip on their shoulder after coming so close last year. At +250 to win it all, Phoenix is my top pick to win the NBA Finals this year.
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