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NBA Playoffs 2022 Contenders & Pretenders Preview: Golden State, Brooklyn & Milwaukee Lead NBA Championship Race

April 16, 2022April 26th, 2022

This year’s NBA post-season promises to be one of the most open NBA Playoffs we have seen in NBA history. A plethora of contenders have genuine claims for the NBA Championship but there are also some pretenders who are making up the numbers. Here, we look at the top contenders and pretenders in the NBA Playoffs.

Top Contenders 

Milwaukee Bucks (6.00)

Could Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks go back-to-back?
The Greek Freak, who is now the Bucks franchise's all-time leading scorer has enjoyed another MVP calibre season and with another strong support cast alongside him, the Bucks are aiming to become just the second team since 2014 to go back-to-back since Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors achieved the feat in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

CLICK HERE: Milwaukee to beat Phoenix (1.20)

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Brooklyn Nets (8.00) 

Injuries have ravaged the Brooklyn Nets’ regular season and they now have to fight their way to a Championship, firstly through the Play-In Tournament and then as a lower seed in the playoffs.
Should Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Patty Mills’ Nets achieve the unthinkable from the 7th or 8th seed, they’ll create NBA history as the lowest seed to win an NBA Championship since the 6th seeded Houston Rockets in 1995.
A potential boost for Brooklyn is the mooted return of Ben Simmons, who still hasn’t suited up since being traded from the Sixers.
Should Simmons return, the Nets will have an X-factor on the court that could very well tilt the balance of power in their favour.

Golden State Warriors (10.00)

With the nucleus of their NBA dynasty still on their roster, you can never discount the Golden State Warriors but they’ll only be a threat if they can remain healthy.
Sharpshooter Steph Curry has been battling a left foot sprain and even if he plays, the injury could curtail his effectiveness throughout the playoffs.
Curry, his splash brother Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have rarely been on the court together this season because of overlapping injuries, but should the trio remain healthy, it’s a proven combination that can drive the Dubs deep into the post season.

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Phoenix Suns (3.75)

The rise of the phoenix.
With the NBA’s leading regular season record, Devin Booker and the hot Suns head into the post-season in unchartered territory on the back of a franchise-record regular season of 64-18.
Phoenix are the real deal and they possess all the trimmings and more of an NBA Championship winning team.
They have big man Deandre Ayton in the paint, experienced guard Chris Paul at the point and one of the NBA’s most devastating scorers in Booker.
After reaching the NBA Finals last season, nothing motivates a team more than going that one better the following season.

CLICK HERE: Phoenix Suns to win NBA Championship (2.00)

Philadelphia 76ers (15.00)

The one team that stands out at the double digital quote are the Ben Simmons-less Philadelphia 76ers.
Traded to the Nets for James Harden, the Sixers now boast one of the most lethal duos in the NBA with big man Joel Embiid and the prolific-scoring Harden.
A lot though depends on the duo soldiering the bulk of the scoring load but when they’ve achieved this, the Sixers have looked unstoppable.
Phily do have to negotiate a treacherous path in the competitive East to get through to the NBA Finals, but they have the pieces and the scoring punch to mix it with the NBA's best.

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The Pretenders

San Antonio Spurs (501.00), New Orleans Pelicans (501.00), Charlotte Hornets (501.00), Cleveland Cavaliers (151.00)

At the time of writing, the 7th or 8th seeds have yet to be confirmed for the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs but should they make it, there are four teams who are making up the numbers.
The San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans will be cannon fodder in the West while the Charlotte Hornets and/or the Cleveland Cavaliers will be easy pickings for the Miami Heat.
If fully healthy, the Pelicans could have made some noise in the playoffs but without their big man Zion ‘Zanos’ Williamson, who succumbed to a season-ending foot injury, the Pelicans lack the firepower to trouble the top-seeded heavy hitters in the West.
LaMelo Ball’s Charlotte Hornets will also have their backs to the wall in the East where they could be without Gordon Hayward who will already miss the play-in tournament with a foot injury.

Have we missed a contender and pretender? Who will win the NBA Championship?
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter: @UNIBETAustralia or Facebook: @UnibetAustralia

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