(via Rip City Project)

The NBA is set to return next month and asides from controversies about what players want to sit out and who want to play in Orlando, every fan is starting to think and predict what is going to happen once the league returns. Before the NBA suspended the season last March, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks were seen as the biggest favorites to win the championship this year.

Now that we’re going to see 22 teams back in action, things have remained the same, with the two Angelenos teams plus the Bucks being considered the biggest candidates to claim the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the campaign. However, some teams could have a good run and surprise everybody on their way to the title.

According to NBA legend-turned-analyst Charles Barkley, the Clippers will be the favorites to win the ‘ship, although he likes Giannis and what the Bucks have done this season. Moreover, there are two teams that aren’t seen as favorites to win it all this season, but they could still make some noise and perhaps go all the way until they lift the trophy next October.

“I’ve got two sleepers for you. In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers, but I’mma tell you something. The one team in the Western Conference, if they get Nurkic back and Zach Collins, nobody is gonna want to see the Portland Trail Blazers. They got arguably other than Steph and Klay the best backcourt in the NBA, Whiteside has been playing pretty good all year, but if they get Nurkic and Zach Collins back, nobody’s gonna want to see the Portland Trail Blazers. Those two teams could win a championship.”

A lot was said about the Blazers before the start of the season. They were expected to be one of the animators of the West this season, but the results weren’t with them before the suspension of the league. Now they have a new chance to compete for that 8th seed in the West, counting with their backcourt plus Carmelo Anthony, Whiteside and the return of both Collins and Nurkic.

The Sixers will have Ben Simmons back to try to prove they are a contender in the East. Chuck made a bold prediction there, but this is the NBA, you never know what can happen.