NBA Pretender or Contender: What title favorites have a real chance to win it all?

Looking ahead to the NBA Playoffs, we play pretender or contender with a few of the title favorites.

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics - Game Five / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages
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Denver Nuggets (46-20): Contender

The Denver Nuggets are the reigning Champions. Unlike the Celtics, not much has changed since last season, roster-wise. Nikola Jokic is still being unreasonably good at basketball, Jamal Murray shows up in the biggest moments, and the rest of the team fills their roles perfectly. This team is very, very good.

The Nuggets have been hot recently, seemingly waiting to play their best basketball when it counted the most. The Nuggets are 9-1 in their last ten games. They have beaten teams such as the Celtics, Lakers, Heat, and Kings during that stretch, signifying that they are going to be a team that will be able to beat anyone come playoff time.

Nikola Jokic had an historic playoff run during last year's Championship run and expecting him to follow up last year's effort with the same this year would be novice thinking. He shouldn't be able to do it, but the Nuggets also don't need him to. Second-year players Christian Braun and Peyton Watson look ready to take a bigger step in the playoffs this year. Zeke Nnaji is having a terrific season off the bench too.

The Nuggets are top 10 in most of the favorable analytic statistics conversations, turnover percentage (12.9), Net Rating (4.5), player impact estimate (52.9), and effective field goal percentage (56).

The Nuggets have the experience, star power, and mindset to win the Finals again. The fact that this team is playing its best basketball only reinforces the notion that they are true contenders. Watch out for the Nuggets, they are coming!