With the 2020-21 season approaching the All-Star break, let’s take a look at three sleeper teams who can shock the league and win the NBA finals this year.
Toronto is one of the most slept-on teams through the first 30 games of the season, and rightfully so. They have been just averaging, posting a 16-16 record and holding the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, when you break down their roster and excellent coaching staff, the Raptors have what it takes to win the Finals this season.
Toronto has Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, who both average upwards of 20 points per game, two scrappy defenders in Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby, and a dominant scorer off the bench in Norman Powell. Add in young players like Chris Boucher and Terrence Davis and the Raptors squad should be able to contend with any team come playoff time.
After ending the 2019-2020 season with eight straight wins and acquiring Chris Paul in the offseason, the Suns have become contenders in the Western Conference. The combination of young and veteran players has meshed well this season, helping the Suns to a 20-10 record and the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Phoenix has several solid role players, which compliments their two-star players, Devin Booker and Chris Paul very well. DeAndre Ayton has been a monster down low, averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per game. The Suns starting wings Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, have also played exceptionally this season. Add in Jae Crowder off the bench and Phoenix could be a surprise pick to win it all this year.
Although the Nuggets made the Western Conference Finals last season, they are still being overlooked as a contender this year. However, sitting at 16-14 and in the seventh spot in the West, Denver has a lot of work to do ahead of the postseason.
Nikola Jokic is playing at an MVP level, averaging 27 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists per game. Additionally, the Nuggets have one of the deepest rosters in the league. To go along with Jokic and Jamal Murray (who is scoring 21 points per game), Denver has several key role players. Monte Morris and Will Barton are great scorers off the bench, Michael Porter Jr is becoming a dominant player on both ends of the court, and veteran forward Paul Millsap gives the needed leadership and strong play inside. Gary Harris, a knock-down shooter, is also expected to return from injury soon.
When the postseason comes around, watch out for the Nuggets to pull off an upset in the first couple of rounds, especially if Jamal Murray plays like he did in the Bubble.