The NBA season is hotting up in the wake of the All Star Game, and several teams have started to outline themselves as prime candidates to win it all come the summer.

At the top of the tree at this stage are the Milwaukee Bucks, and what a great story this is. A small-town team doing big things, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the star of the show. The “Greek Freak” is one of the most impressive physical specimens in the NBA, and his offensive and defensive exploits are a big part of his side’s position at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe have stepped up from role players to key components of an exciting team, and the Bucks could be dangerous when the playoffs come around.

Breathing down their necks in the East, the Toronto Raptors are once again sitting at the business end of the standings. Kawhi Leonard is running the scene north of the border in his first season away from the San Antonio Spurs, and is being ably supported by big men Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam, in addition to the grizzled Kyle Lowry. An explosive offense, the Raptors have also built their success this year off the back of their offensive rebounding – expect opposing coaches to crash those boards if they meet them in the playoffs!

The Raptors are certainly a team to watch this season as they look so dynamic on offense. If you’re wondering how to bet on NBA games, which can be quite complicated if you don’t understand the spread, this article is a great resource as it explains everything you need to know in a way which is very easy to understand.

Heading over to the Western Conference now, the Denver Nuggets have established themselves as one of the teams to watch this season. A drastic turn around in fortunes has seen this team transition from cellar dwellers to contenders in just a few seasons, and the squad will be itching to make the playoffs after narrowly missing out last year. Spearheaded by their young core of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris, it seems as though this team will be around for some time.

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The Houston Rockets are another strong pick for the NBA title, led by prolific guard James Harden. The 29-year-old is averaging 35.9 PPG – a full SEVEN points clear of the next highest scorer. Third in the Western Conference currently, the offensive powerhouse may take some stopping come the postseason.

And finally, no article looking at the picks for the NBA championship would be complete without examining the Golden State Warriors. Champions in three out of the last four seasons, the Californians are gunning for the first ‘threepeat’ since those iconic Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers teams. A lineup of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins seems unfair (although that’s a discussion for another day…), and you’d be brave man to bet against that unit.