Now that it’s NBA Draft week, NBA Free Agency is on the horizon, and that the first big domino of the offseason has fallen (we’ll talk about trade in a bit), it feels like a perfect time to look at my way-too-early top five 2024 NBA Title favorites. This list will probably look a lot different than one will in a couple of weeks, much less in next year’s playoffs ten months from now.
However, that’s the reason it’s called way too early. Teams on this list will make trades, teams not on this list will make trades, teams on this list will fail to make trades, and all of those things will change the list of favorites.
However, as of now here are my top five 2024 championship favorites…done way too early:
5. Milwaukee Bucks
It’s easy to forget that the Milwaukee Bucks just won the title two years ago and have consistently been one of the top teams in the East the last few seasons while featuring one of the top players in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo. In fact, I feel that the Bucks are arguably the most forgotten of all the championship contenders.
While getting upset in the first round this year by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs was disappointing, you also have to remember that Giannis getting injured played a big role in that happening. The Bucks still have one of the best cores in the league.
On that note, Giannis and Jrue Holiday are both locked up for next season. Khris Middleton has a player option (and the Bucks feasibly could look to move him), but I think it is very likely that either Middleton opts in or that Milwaukee works out a long-term deal to bring their Big 3 back next season.
Outside of the Middleton decision, there are two big pending Free Agents for the Bucks to have to work on; Brook Lopez and Joe Ingles (with Lopez being a good bit more important). Lopez has emerged as one of the top two-way centers in the league and is very important to the Bucks on both ends of the court. While committing to a 35-year-old can be risky, I believe Lopez is too important for the Bucks not to try and bring back. However, there’s a chance that the Bucks get maxed out and can’t offer Lopez the money he could get elsewhere.
Ingles remains a strong three-point shooter that I’m sure the Bucks would like to bring back (even also being 35 years old), but it will likely depend on the cost.
Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen, and Pat Connaughton are all under contract and set to return as key role players (if they aren’t traded). MarJon Beauchamp is also a developing youngster to watch and Jevon Carter is also under contract as well.
Milwaukee is not currently slated to pick until the final pick of the draft (#58 overall), as they traded their first-rounder for PJ Tucker several years back.
The Bucks might look to make some trades to improve their roster (they haven’t been ones to just sit back in recent years), however, I think that they are still in a position to be one of the top championship contenders heading into next season (even if they are one of the forgotten ones).