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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Top 10 NBA Teams This Season

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 The 2023-2024 NBA season began last month, with some drastically different rosters than last year. Powerful moves were made by many teams in the offseason, and quite a few super teams were formed. 

However, with all these questions about team synergy, bench depth, and possible injuries, none of these are guaranteed the #1 spot. 

That being said, here are my top 10 teams this season.

10: Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic alone is enough to make this team amazing. He’s one of those players that can destroy an enemy team all on his own—but now he has Kyrie to help him, and some great other players as well. 

This team has heaps of offense but a glaring problem of synergy and defense. Kyrie is proven to be ball-dominant, but taking the ball away from Luka Doncic is not something you want to do. 

Regardless, I believe this team will figure it out somewhere in the season and once that happens, they’ll be absolutely unbelievable on the offensive end and hopefully decent enough to hold up on the defensive end. 

9: Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC barely made the play-in last year, but the team has a bright future ahead of them with an amazing amount of first-round picks in the next few years. On top of this, they have a lot of young talent in Josh Giddey, Chet Holmgren, and of course, Shai, who is looking to be a top 5 player in the league once he enters his prime. 

Last year, they were missing Chet due to injury. Luckily this year he’s back and playing amazing, but the same threat of injury looms over the team. Overall, OKC has the brightest future out of any on the list and is still a solid team right now.

8: Cavaliers

The Cavs were an unexpected first-round exit, but this was just an underwhelming performance from a team we’ve always expected more from. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland make an extremely shifty and powerful backcourt, and Jarrett Allen and Evan Monkey are strong as well, especially on the rebounding and defensive end.  They also acquired good role player Max Strus recently from the Heat. 

They had a good regular season record last year, and they’ll have a good one this year. Jarrett Allen averaged 10 rebounds and Evan Mobley was a DPOY candidate. However, Evan lacks on the offensive end and plenty of players have experienced injuries for this team, so that also remains a threat. I still think if this team stays healthy they could dominate the league- but the Cavs are sort of hit-or-miss right now.

7: Clippers

The groundbreaking James Harden trade that occurred completely changed the dynamic of this already good team. They have a powerful Big 4 of Harden, PG13, Kawhi, and Russel Westbrook has an immense amount of potential that can only be stopped by injuries (which remains a big issue for the Clippers) and Russell Westbrook’s possible recession back into his Lakers self. 

They also have powerful centers in Ivica Zubac and Mason Plumlee, and we can’t forget fan-favorites Terrence Mann and Bones Hyland. 

The biggest issue for this team going into the season was injuries and load management for Kawhi and PG, because last season neither of them played over 60 games, and both were out for the playoffs. If the Clippers can stay healthy though, they will be a formidable team to beat. 

6: Warriors

Chris Paul. Steph Curry. Klay Thompson. Draymond Green. Andrew Wiggins. 

This Warriors team is looking very good and is definitely still a contender and a very well-built team, with the addition of Chris Paul not hindering them too much in exchange for all the benefits he brings. Obviously, Steph and Klay are doing their things, but Kuminga, Wiggins, and Looney make up a pretty strong frontcourt as well. Although this team is aging a little, they remain a force to be reckoned with.

5: Lakers 

The Lakers started off the previous season going 2-10, and everyone, including myself, thought they would have a terrible year. However, due to various trades and a spectacular season from Anthony Davis, they managed to make the play-in and from there the Western Conference finals, (where they sadly got swept.) The Lakers this season have an immense amount of depth on their team, with a powerful starting five of D’Angelo Russell at the 1, Austin Reaves at the 2, Taurean Prince at the 3, my glorious scrumptious king Lebron James at the 4, and the key to their success, Anthony Davis, playing center. This isn’t even to mention their bench, with Gabe Vincent, Jared Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura all being powerful pieces in a team. This team is a powerhouse, but Anthony Davis, who is the defensive focal point of the team, has had trouble staying healthy in the past. The team’s success hinges almost entirely on him, as last season without him their W% went from .555 to .462, a drastic change. Overall the Lakers are 100% deserving of the fifth spot and are a powerful team on both ends of the floor.

4: Bucks 

The Bucks made the most shocking off-season move in a while this summer and picked up Damian Lillard, formerly of the Portland Trailblazers. Dame is an amazing shooter from deep as well as versatile enough to score close to the basket as well. He’s amazing on his own, but coupled with arguably the best player in the league right now, Giannis Antetokounpo? Oh my goodness. Theoretically, this is one of the most powerful duos in NBA history, but their debut in the preseason wasn’t the showstopper I expected. 

However, the main problem was synergy which is always built over time. I think that when they fall into their own the Bucks will be an unstoppable team, as it’s not like Dame and Giannis are their only two players- can’t forget defensive superstar Brook Lopez, amazing SG Khris Middleton (on some nights), and Jae Crowder. 

3: Suns 

Last year, the Suns made a bold move and traded away several good role players including future star Mikal Bridges for Kevin Durant. Ironically, K.D. got injured in warmups and was out for almost a month almost immediately after. Thus,  he couldn’t really figure out the dynamic of the team before playoffs, but in playoffs, the individual power of this Suns team was showcased with the unstoppability of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. This wasn’t enough, however. Deandre Ayton did not perform well in these playoffs which led directly to him being traded for Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen along with Chris Paul being traded for another star, Bradley Beal, resulting in the “Suns Big Three.” Just the way the Suns are playing, they don’t look beatable (except maybe by a certain first pick in the draft). Three immensely powerful offensive points and a solid center are more than enough to make the team, in my opinion, the third most powerful team in the NBA.

2: Celtics 

The off-season moves the Celtics made was to lose Marcus Smart and some bench depth/role players to acquire Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, who surprisingly started playing like his prime self during the few games he’s played so far. Jrue Holiday is proven as one of the best defensive guards in the league and more than solid on the offense, but not like they have a need for it, because Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both STILL ON THE TEAM. The starting five looks unbeatable on both ends, but that’s where the problem comes in, the Celtics bench. 

Derrick White is really the only notable bench player and even then he’s starting most of the time. The Celtics might end up having a problem with that if any of their starters get injured. For now, though, they’ve worked around it and proven that they most likely won’t lose to a Play-In team in the Eastern Conference finals like last year.

1: Nuggets

Who wouldn’t have expected the defending champs to be first? Nuggets basketball is some of the best to watch, and it’s also easily the most effective. The (in my opinion) current best player in the NBA, Nikola Jokic, who is quite literally unguardable and also an amazing passer, so coupled with the great 3-point shooters on the team they’re completely unbeatable. They also picked up Reggie Jackson, who’s a pretty solid guard and a talented scorer. The only real significant loss for them over the off-season was Bruce Brown, and they also lost a mentor in Jeff Green, but the team is still as strong as it ever was and only the Celtics could maybe compete.

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