With Most of NBA Free Agency Settled, What Team is the Favorite?
With most, if not all, the free agent dust settled in the NBA's offseason, it's easier and more difficult to talk through the front-runners for the 2019-'20 season.
Kawhi Leonard's decision to go to the Clippers over the Raptors and Lakers and his ability to recruit Paul George creates an apparent spread of talent across the league with a handful of reasonable contenders to win each conference. Obviously, both teams in LA will be heavy favorites to win the West, but the Blazers are built to win now and the Jazz have made a couple of nice additions this summer. On top of that, Houston is still in tact, Denver should only get better with age and Golden State is no slouch even with Kevin Durant leaving for Brooklyn and Klay Thompson sidelined for most, if not all, of next year with a torn ACL.
In the east, the subtraction of Leonard from the Raptors helps push the Bucks, 76ers and Pacers into even greater roles as favorites. Throw in the Celtics with the exchange point guards, Kyrie Irving out and Kemba Walker in. Speaking of Kyrie, the Nets may not improve their playoff standing from this past season when they were a 6 seed, but they figure to be more dangerous come playoff time because of Irving.
Here's what I feel like I know for certain: for the first time since before LeBron James went to Miami, I'll go into an NBA season not confident in picking a winner out of either conference to reach the Finals.