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NBA Play of the Day: July 07

By Lior Lampert

While taking note that free agency and offseason roster turmoil is not over yet, we will attempt to make a 2022-23 NBA champion prediction given the current circumstances. Can the Warriors run it back? The Boston Celtics, this past season’s Eastern Conference champions, are the favourites to not only get back to the Finals but to win it this time around. Are the additions of veterans such as Malcom Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari enough to get Boston over the hump?

In professional sports, it is extremely tough to repeat as a champion (or in Boston’s case getting back to a championship). There is a target on your back like no other. As a reigning champion, teams acknowledge and respect the achievement and put in the work to make sure you do not get a chance to get back to that stage. In addition, teams in the West have continued to improve and get back to full strength while the Warriors have not only had a quiet offseason, they’ve also lost players such as Gary Payton II and Damion Lee.

First, we saw the Minnesota Timberwolves go out and get 3-time Defensive Player of the Year and 4-time All-NBA center Rudy Gobert to form one of the better starting lineups in basketball, while also adding Kyle Anderson and Bryn Forbes to fill out their bench. The Lakers have added players such as Thomas Bryant, Lonnie Walker and Troy Brown Jr., while also being Kyrie Irving’s desired trade destination. The Nuggets acquired Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith via trade while signing DeAndre Jordan to a contract. Not to mention, they’re also expecting to have back two of their max-contract players who played a combined 9 games last season in Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray.

But the Western Conference opponent I believe Golden State has to worry about most in their pursuit of winning another NBA Finals is the Los Angeles Clippers. The addition of John Wall to fill a position of need that the Clippers have been trying to address for a long time now will go down as one of the most important moves this offseason. When we last saw Wall, he averaged over 20 PPG and just under 7 assists per game, he just happened to play for one of the worst teams in the league.

But most importantly for the Clippers, their superstar forward Kawhi Leonard, is coming along nicely after missing all of last season recovering from a torn ACL. According to The Athletic, Leonard has not been restricted in any way and looks to be ready for the start of the season. The Clippers have two superstar forwards who now get the opportunity to play with what we all hope is a healthy John Wall, one of the deeper bench rotations in the NBA, and a coach who is poised and experienced. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out when the offseason is complete, but regardless of what moves are made, I expect the Clippers to be competitive next season (barring any setbacks to Kawhi Leonard).

My Pick: Los Angeles Clippers 2022-23 NBA Championship Winners (+750 odds via Caesar’s Sportsbook)

One of betstamp’s largest brand values is transparency. Whether you are looking to tail or fade my picks, or potentially just like reading the breakdowns, you can find my full documented betting record here. Best of luck with your bets today.

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