1.Cleveland Cavaliers: 2.75
The Cavs have made all the right moves this summer: the franchise re-signed its free agents and added even more firepower in the backcourt by signing Mo Williams. The only question mark is Tristan Thompson. But don’t get your hopes up or down: he will be a Cavalier next year whether or not he will sing a longer, more lucrative deal. If everyone stays healthy, they will have enough depth to win it all so their tag as 2016 favorites is not surprising at all. LeBron is already fired up; he wrote on Instagram under a picture showing him, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving: “Man I can’t wait to get back on the floor again with you two guys! Last year was just a sample size of what we’re capable of and I’m so hyped thinking about what’s next.” But to place your money on the Cavs at this point? Not really. Don’t forget, the West is still in charge and even with the entire roster healthy, Cleveland will have a very hard time beating a Western franchise in the next year’s Finals. You can however bet your money on Cavs being next year’s Eastern Conference winners. Nobody has the force to dethrone the King in the East so this could be the safest bet you may find this early.
2. San Antonio Spurs: 3.00
This could be a very interesting year for the Spurs fans. With the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge, David West plus the re-signing of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, San Antonio basically secured the top Western Conference spot in the bookies’ preferences. Yes, that means most of them see the Spurs as a better team than the current champs, the Golden State Warriors. But not so fast though. They still have to prove themselves. Remember the 2003 – 2004 Laker team? Kobe, Shaq, The Mailman, the Glove and the list goes on. Well, the point is they didn’t win a championship; Detroit did. What does that mean? A team filled with NBA top scorers and big egos isn’t exactly the right recipe for success.
3. Golden State Warriors: 5.00
2015 MVP Stephen Curry finds these NBA predictions kind of ‘funny.’I mean how could someone pick a champ as the third best team in any given league? “We obviously are the champs, and you’ve got to think that we’re gonna be a better team next year with our experiences that we’ve had, and we’re not the favorites. Obviously there’s been a lot of noise, teams retooling and trying to boost their lineups. You have teams that haven’t set foot on the floor yet and are heavily favored to kick us off our throne,”
Curry told CBSSports earlier this month. He is right but you can’t actually blame the bookies for their NBA picks. Last season, the Warriors have a great deal of luck in the playoffs: their opponents had major health issues starting with the point guard position (Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley, Patrick Beverly and of course Kyrie Irving). This doesn’t count out their merits; luck is part of the game but the question is still up in the air: if their opponents were 100% healthy, would they still have won it all? Maybe and maybe not. No matter the answer, they are still one of the best in the NBA and everyone should consider Golden State when predicting the future NBA champ.
by Florian Gheorghe]]>