NBA: Tiering the 6 teams (and a few dark horses) that can win the 2024 championship

Using a unique formula to predict the six teams that can win the 2024 NBA Championship.
Los Angeles Clippers v Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Clippers v Boston Celtics / Winslow Townson/GettyImages
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The peripheral contenders

Phoenix Suns

Because of their injury history and their average defensive ranking, the Phoenix Suns are considered a peripheral contender in the Western Conference. But, make no mistake, there aren't many teams that will be lining up with a desire to face off against the Suns in a seven-game playoff series.

Miami Heat

Even though the Miami Heat have made the Eastern Conference Finals three times in the last four years, I still don't know what to make of this team at the NBA All-Star Break. However, with Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo on the roster along with a top-10 defensive rating, I suppose you can't ever truly count out the Heat.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The way Donovan Mitchell has played this season, you have to consider the Cleveland Cavaliers when discussing teams that could potentially win the Eastern Conference. Add in Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, and the Cavs are going to be a formidable opponent for any team in a playoff series. With a top 5 defensive and net rating, the Cavs could very well make a deep playoff run.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been one of the biggest surprises in the Western Conference this season and, at the NBA All-Star Break, they sit as the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Wolves have the best defense in the league and a top 5 net rating. If Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns (who are not quite at a superstar level yet) can continue to carry on the offensive end, the Wolves could be a real threat to make some noise in the postseason. For now, though, they aren't all that much of a contender.