Contenders of the NBA

By Eric Vallen

As the NBA season comes to a close, it’s time for the majority of fans to accept their place, be it the top of the conference, or in the sewers of the league. Yet, everyone is a contender for something, be it for a championship, or most disappointing team in the league. Today, we go over the Contenders Of The NBA. 

Main Championship Contender: The Phoenix Suns

Keeping in line with the past few years, the Phoenix Suns are maintaining their status as championship contenders. However, this year comes an unprecedented amount of success, especially for the Suns. In an absolutely stacked western conference, the Suns are 7 games ahead of any other team, and at this point are an absolute lock for the number one seed. They have consistently beaten the Warriors, Grizzlies, Jazz, and Mavericks, leaving literally no other team with feasible chances to come out of the western conference on top. In comparison to the East, the Suns are 9 games ahead of the 1 seed Heat, and are really without competition, besides the Heat and Bucks.

Darkhorse Championship Contender: The Milwaukee Bucks

Although they won the championship in the previous season, the Bucks come in as my dark horse contender. At the beginning of the season, they showed weakness against several subpar teams, and at times have shown a severe lack of discipline on the defensive side of the ball. However, in the latter half of the season, the Bucks have been on fire, rising to the third seed. Bucks guard Jrue Holiday has been consistently clutch throughout the season, with Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo again showing out on both sides of the ball. The Bucks championship core has remained intact and barring any major injuries to them or key role players, they have a serious shot at winning the championship. 

Main Worst Team Contender: The Orlando Magic

The epitome of a poverty franchise. For the past 11 years since the fall of Dwight Howard, the Magic have consistently thrown away any talent that they have. They’ve been holding onto the dregs of Markel Fultz and the long lost fame of Mo Bamba for years now. Cole Anthony, a soon-to-be perennial role player, is their best player. Their management, headed by heralded talent-waster John Hammond, is sure to waste yet another top draft pick this year. A G league all-star team would probably 30 piece them. Truly, an eye-melting year.

Darkhorse Worst Team Contender:  The Houston Rockets

A team still wallowing in their wasting of the prime years of the best scorer of our generation. The ghost of James Harden will forever haunt the Rockets. No point guard will ever compare to him. Clint Capela has left. James Harden has left. A G league European small forward is their best player. But hey, a remnant of James Harden is still there in the moodiness of Kevin Porter Jr. They’re likely to be main contenders for this role for the rest of this decade, I hope they get used to it. 

Most Disappointing Team Main Contender: The Los Angeles Lakers

I mean, what did we expect? A team of borderline retirement home players with Lebron and a man with glass legs. They weren’t supposed to win, they never would win. Yet, the media sure made it seem as such. Even today, when the Lakers are 9 games under .500 and are sure to be a play-in team, the media still talks about them every day. They traded their entire young core for Russel Westbrook, and their previous core for Anthony Davis, and are still not winning games. Three years from now, this team will be the main contender for the worst team in the league. 

Darkhorse Most disappointing Team Contender: The New York Knickerbockers

After they made the playoffs for the first time in a decade last year, the Knicks had high hopes. Sure, they got bounced out of the first round by a short guy with balding hair, but they still made it there. Just like the Lakers, the media absolutely hounded the Knicks during the offseason, sometimes claiming them to be a possible championship contender. As of today, they are 12 games under .500, with their best player in Julius Randle playing like a high school version of himself. Good thing they’re paying him 25 million a year. Their bloodline is an old and injured Derrick Rose, with literally every other player playing far below their money line. A poverty franchise in the largest market in the world. 

Main Clown Team Contender: The Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers have traded their entire team in order to be awful. They’re trying to be like the “trust the process” 76ers in an era where the process is impossible. They traded their second best player, CJ McCollum, a borderline all-star, for practically a half empty bag of chips and a used q-tip. Furthermore, they traded Norman Powell and Robert Covington, two very good role players, for Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow. Imagine I gave you 10,000 dollars and traded it for 100. Even worse, they used a combined 5 draft picks to trade for Powell and Covington. But hey, at least they still have Damian Lillard! I wonder how many more years of his career they can waste. The Trail Blazers actively traded every single decent player besides their best one in return for a moldy can of beans, and have cursed their team with NBA purgatory for at least the next 10 years. 

Darkhorse Clown Team Contender: The Brooklyn Nets

The greatest big three of all time: three MVP and borderline MVP players. An absolute lock to win the championship. Turns out they’re the eighth seed and barely above .500. James Harden decided to put on yet another bodysuit, pretend to be fat, and get traded to a better team. One of their best players, Kyrie Irving has decided not to receive any vaccinations, and as such, has only played 10 games on the season. Kevin Durant has put up MVP numbers, but with being surrounded by G league players, he can’t win any games. The Brooklyn Nets have sacrificed their entire team in an attempt to create the best team ever, but have just been mediocre like every other Nets team of all time.