NBA fans have been rejoicing for the past two days. On Thursday, 4 June 2020, the NBA board of governors approved a plan for the league to resume on 31 July. Eight teams will not be returning for the 2019/20. The remaining 22 teams will each play 8 games each before the playoffs begin.
While there are many things that are going to be favourites, the title contenders for the 2019/20 championship remain roughly the same. Everyone expects either the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, or the Milwaukee Bucks to take home the title. But there are still a few other teams that could surprise everyone as dark horse candidates and take home the title. Dallas Mavericks were the last dark horse team to win the title in 2011. Here are three dark horse teams to win the NBA championship in 2019/20.
Dark Horse Contender #1: Philadelphia 76ers
In terms of talent, the 76ers can put arguably the most talented starting 5 in the league on the floor. The reason they are not among the favourite is because of the fit and chemistry issues of the team. Philadelphia is extremely clunky in terms of spacing if they play Simmons, Embiid, and Horford at the same time. Simmons and Embiid play better without each other.
But if the 76ers can somehow figure it out, they can easily win the title. A lineup of Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Embiid is a matchup nightmare at its best. This lineup has elite defence and multiple talented scorers. If they figure out a way to make it work, this 5-man combo could roll to the title.
Dark Horse Contender #2: Boston Celtics
Outside of the 76ers, Boston has the most talented starting 5. Even with Theis at the center, Boston field 4 elite players as started. Walker, Tatum, Brown, and Hayward can all score in bunches and they are led by arguably the best coach in the league. Tatum will have to play like a superstar if he comes up against Giannis, Lebron, or Kawhi and Boston will need its deep roster to contribute. But they can certainly surprise everyone and win the title.
Dark Horse Contender #3: Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets are one of the best regular-season teams. They have possibly the best centre in the league in Jokic. They are deep at every position except the wing rotation. Denver is also one of the best defensive teams in the league. They lack a top 5 superstar, however. Nuggets do not have a player who can take over games like Kawhi or Lebron. But if they can pull off a team performance through the playoffs, they can win the first title in franchise history.