Congratulations to the Denver Nuggets, who won the 2023 NBA championship last night, finishing off the Miami Heat in five games. As Nuggets fans take a well-earned victory lap, awaiting their parade and a year of feeling on cloud nine, every other NBA fan base turns their attention to the offseason and the upcoming 2023-24 season.
In the first edition of 2024 title odds following the conclusion of these recent NBA Finals, DraftKings has the Sixers with the seventh-highest odds at winning the next championship. The site lists Denver repeating as the most likely outcome at plus-475, followed by Boston, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, and then the Sixers. Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami round out the top 10.
Coming off a dominant postseason run and with nearly all of its young core returning, Denver is a worthy favorite for next season. The Celtics and Bucks were the top two teams in the East last season, led by returning All-NBA talents still in their prime. Phoenix will have a full season to gel around the Devin Booker-Kevin Durant tandem, although Chris Paul’s location next year is yet to be decided. Golden State has its own questions, but the Warriors were the 2022 champions and Steph Curry keeps you in the conversation. The Lakers are coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance, but have to figure out how to retool with a lot of both unrestricted and restricted free agents present within last season’s rotation.
Things will certainly look different in Philadelphia as well. Nick Nurse will be the new guy at the end of the bench, and it’s very up in the air as to what the team he’ll be coaching will look like. Will James Harden stay or go? Will Tobias Harris be finishing out the last year of his current contract as a Sixer? If Harden does walk, will Daryl Morey be able to pivot to someone like Fred VanVleet in free agency or Bradley Beal via trade?
While those questions linger for at least another month or so, having Joel Embiid coming off an MVP season and a 22-year-old Tyrese Maxey continuing his ascension will absolutely keep the Sixers on at least the outskirts of the title conversation. Whether Philadelphia remains in the “Oh yeah...and the Sixers” group, or can level up to firmly in the upper crust will be determined by what the front office is able to do this summer, continued improvement from the stars, and whether a fresh voice in Nick Nurse can make a difference. With a long wait now ahead of us until NBA basketball returns, we have plenty of time to ponder those possibilities.