Who are the contenders for the NBA title this season?
Can anyone topple the Warriors?
The NBA season is coming into view now, with the first pre-season games pencilled in for the end of the month.
Teams are locking down their rosters for the coming campaign and the likely contenders are starting to take shape.
The Coral News Team have looked at the teams that could be pushing for the title…
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are 4/7 favourites to retain their title. They’ve been in each of the last three Finals, winning two of them. Their recent success is no surprise, considering the strength of their roster.
Steph Curry remains the best shooter in the game, and quite possibly of all time. Kevin Durant can rack up plenty of points, but he’s grown into a rock-solid defensive player too. Steve Kerr also has the likes of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala to choose from.
Despite all of their talent, the playoffs and Finals can be a lottery. Injuries or a loss of form at the wrong time can bring a season to a premature end. But they’ll fancy their chances against any side.
The Celtics have lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers in each of the last two seasons. Can they go the distance this time?
They haven’t made any major additions during the offseason, but the return to fitness of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will be a huge boost.
And now that LeBron James is no longer playing in the East, they’ll be confident of topping the conference.
The Celtics are second in the betting for the title at 6/1.
The Rockets had the best record in the regular season last year, winning 65 games and only losing 17. They’re 8/1 to bring the title back to Texas’ biggest city for the first time since 1995.
They’ve got a very solid line-up, with reigning MVP James Harden and Chris Paul the two biggest stars.
Carmelo Anthony has also arrived this summer. The 10-time All-Star’s experience could be vital, whether he starts or acts as the sixth man.
Los Angeles Lakers
The only side to stop the Warriors’ dominance in recent years has been the Cavs in the 2015-16 season. Their best and most important player? LeBron James.
The 33-year-old arguably remains the best player in the world. He drove a fairly ordinary Cavs side all the way to the Finals last season. Can he go one better now he’s joined the LA Lakers?
The Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference last season, with a 35-47 record. But the LeBron factor means they could make a huge leap this year. They’re 12/1 to win a first title since 2010.
The small forward is 5/2 favourite to be named MVP for the fifth time. That would take him level with Michael Jordan and Bill Russell, and one behind all-time record holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Click here for the latest NBA odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing