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The Foreword

2023-2024 NBA Season: Championship Predictions

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Getty Images | Ringer illustration

The 2023 NBA season ended with a bang. The all-time scoring record was broken by LeBron James, the Miami Heat reached the finals as the biggest underdogs in the playoffs, and the Denver Nuggets won the first-ever championship in their franchise’s history. Last year’s season was unpredictable in its own right, but no one could’ve expected the wildness of the following off-season. From arguably the greatest prospect ever being drafted to many teams overhauling their roster, the 2023 offseason has been as exciting as ever.

The 2024 season is gearing up to be even more wild than last year, and part of that reason is the number of teams that are considered to be contending for a championship. The NBA seems to have more parity than ever, and with that comes more teams having a realistic chance of taking home the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Foreword asked thirty students at Allderdice who they thought had the best chance of winning the 2024 Championship. Here are the results.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Phoenix Suns: 0/30 Votes

Matt Sisneros | The Analyst

While the Suns didn’t get any votes in our poll, they have to be mentioned in this list. Over the offseason, they assembled the most dangerous big three in the league. Trading for All-Star guard Bradley Beal last June, who joins superstars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, gives the Suns potential for one of the best offenses in NBA history. One problem they had last year was their lack of depth, but the front office has done a decent job of fixing that, completing a roster overhaul in which they added Eric Gordon, Drew Eubanks, Yuta Watanabe, Grayson Allen, and Jusuf Nurkic. Even though the Suns lost many of their core players, including their former number-one pick center Deandre Ayton, their top-heavy offense looks nothing short of unstoppable.

 

Golden State Warriors: 1/30 Votes

Getty Images

The Warriors are looking for vengeance heading back into this season, after losing 2-4 against the Lakers in the conference semifinals last year. They overly relied on Steph Curry to carry the offensive load and struggled with defense on the road. Luckily for the four-time NBA champions, they made some big moves over the offseason like trading away young up-and-comer Jordan Poole for veteran point guard Chris Paul. Their big question this season is how Paul will work with the already established (and proven) Warriors system. As long as Paul can keep up his elite playmaking, thrive in a role off the bench, and provide some reliable defense, the Warriors are looking just as dangerous as they were in their dynasty era.

 

Philadelphia 76ers: 1/30 Votes

Chris Szagola | The Associated Press

One of, if not the most, disappointing ends to a season last year, the Sixers weren’t able to defeat the mighty Celtics in the second round of last year’s playoffs. Their two stars Joel Embiid and James Harden didn’t show up when it mattered, and along with coach Doc Rivers’ bad decision-making, the organization knew it needed some changes. They replaced Rivers with Nick Nurse, who’s seen as one of the smartest and most capable coaches in the league and is used to working with superstar players as he coached Kawhi Leonard to a title in Toronto. They also made useful additions to their bench, signing guards Patrick Beverly and Kelly Oubre Jr. to new contracts this offseason. One huge problem hovering over the team this year is that star point guard James Harden is obviously unhappy with the management. He requested a trade this summer that was eventually denied, resulting in uncertainty about his role this upcoming season. Of course, the Sixers have a chance at a championship with reigning MVP Joel Embiid, but the situation surrounding Harden explains why they’re so much lower on the list. 

 

Real Contenders

 

Los Angeles Lakers: 3/30 Votes

Greg Beacham | The Associated Press

The Lakers have had an exciting offseason, to say the least. Last year they wildly exceeded expectations, making it to the Western Conference Finals but were still being swept by the Nuggets in four games. They now have one of the deepest benches in the entire league, adding many impressive new players through free agency. The Lakers signed Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, Jaxon Hayes, and Christian Wood, along with picking up Indiana Guard Jalen Hood-Schifino in this year’s draft. In addition to adding a multitude of new players, they were also able to re-sign their dominant core including Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, and superstar center Anthony Davis. If they can keep up the same production from their core players while also utilizing their new additions, they have a great chance at making a championship run.

 

Boston Celtics: 3/30 Votes

Adam Glanzman | Getty Images

For years the Boston Celtics have been showered with people saying they’re the championship favorites, but this might finally be the season they get it done. Even though they’re not the “favorites” this year, this might be the best team the Celtics have built in the Brown and Tatum era. Early in the offseason, the Celtics took the NBA world by storm when they traded the heart and soul of their team, long-time point guard Marcus Smart, for All-Star power forward Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis will provide the Celtics with more shooting in the frontcourt, along with extra rim protection, as he’s one of the tallest players in the league. A few months later, after the offseason seemed like it was dying down, Jrue Holiday became available on the market after a blockbuster trade. The Celtics again pulled a wild move, trading for the All-Star point guard. Holiday was voted the best defender in the league last season and will provide more perimeter defense to the Celtics’ already stacked roster. With a starting five of Holiday, White, Brown, Tatum, Porzingis, and an impressive sixth man in veteran center Al Horford, the Celtics are poised to make an impressive run for the championship.

 

Denver Nuggets; 8/30 Votes

Aaron Ontiveroz | Getty Images

Even though the Denver Nuggets aren’t on the top of this list, they are undeniably the team to beat. The Nuggets are the defending champions following one of the most dominant playoff runs of all time last year. They only lost four games in the entire playoffs on their way to the title, mostly due to their superstar center Nikola Jokic’s record-breaking performance. Jokic was the first player ever to lead the playoffs in points, rebounds, and assists, and along with his co-stars in point guard Jamal Murray, sharpshooter Michael Porter Jr, and athletic weapon Aaron Gordon, he carried the Nuggets to their first championship in franchise history. The Nuggets didn’t have a crazy offseason, but they didn’t necessarily need to. They kept their core together and while they lost their sixth man Bruce Brown to Indiana, they drafted three promising rookies to replace him. Overall, as long as the young players work well with Jokic, the most dominant player in the league, the Nuggets should be considered an elite contender.

 

Milwaukee Bucks; 13/30 Votes

Getty Images

Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s all one must say to explain why the Milwaukee Bucks are championship favorites for the 2024 season. Lillard’s trade request out of Portland on July 1st was by far the most intriguing storyline of the 2023 offseason, with Miami being the frontrunner to land him. There were countless rumors of a Miami trade swirling all around NBA media, and at the same time, there was discussion of the Bucks’ superstar forward Giannis Antekounmpo leaving if the Bucks weren’t able to make moves to compete for a championship. The Bucks put all the rumors to rest on September 27th when they traded for the superstar guard out of nowhere, creating one of the deadliest offensive duos in NBA history. Lillard’s playmaking and shooting combined with Giannis’s athleticism and physical dominance will terrorize the entire league this coming season. This unstoppable duo paired with the Bucks’ already championship-level roster and hunger after losing in the first round last year makes the Milwaukee Bucks this season’s favorites to take home the Championship.

 

There are many great teams this year, and some weren’t even mentioned in this list. The Mavericks, Clippers, Kings, Cavaliers, and Knicks will all find themselves in exhilarating playoff series nonetheless. Without a doubt, this season is gearing up to have the most parity and competition between elite teams in a while. However this season plays out, NBA fans are in for a wild ride.

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About the Contributor
Sam Stavchansky, Staff Writer
Sam Stavchansky is a sophomore at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School. He comes from Austin, Texas, and has lived in Pittsburgh for a year. He runs for the Allderdice Cross Country and Track teams and plays basketball outside of school. He enjoys playing video games, reading, and playing chess in his free time.

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