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Top 5 Dark Horse Contenders For The 2019-20 NBA Championship

Credit: Clutch Points

Credit: Clutch Points

The NBA season is coming closer, and the favorites for the championship have been well established and talked about. The two L.A. teams each support two megastars and a host of very effective role-players. The Bucks return with last season's MVP, while the Sixers bring back a Big 3 with the addition of Al Horford. The Rockets even managed to get better, and have two former MVPs on one team.

Yet, there are some other teams that may have a shot in the dark at the title. Anything can happen during the course of a season, including injuries and even chemistry issues. Most of the favorites will need time to implement their new pieces, and the injury bug can, unfortunately, strike at any moment.

Here are the dark horse teams that can end up hoisting the trophy at the end of the year.

Portland Trail Blazers

(via Sports Illustrated)

(via Sports Illustrated)

The Blazers did an admirable job last season, falling just short of the NBA Finals at the hands of the Warriors. The rise of the two LA teams has knocked Portland back in the pecking order in the eyes of many who follow the NBA.

But they might have a shot.

They return with two offensive juggernauts in the backcourt and managed to beef up the frontcourt with the addition of Hassan Whiteside. They have the quality bigs to remain effective against any team, and the perimeter scorers to get buckets.

Portland is well-coached, hungry, and more experienced. They have a legitimate chance of making a lot of noise in the Western Conference.

Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic & Jamal Murray

The Nuggets are a well-recognized team in the West, and they are often applauded for their collection of players that fill up the depth chart. But their lack of recognizable star power outside of Nikola Jokic allows them to get written off on most occasions.

Yet, the Nuggets are coming. They have shooters, bigs, defenders, and experience to give teams fits in the Playoffs. Especially if they manage to land a stat via trade, they are right in the mix.

Teams better not take the Nuggets lightly, because they have the talent to compete with any team in the West. If luck runs their way, they might sneak into the Finals.

Utah Jazz

Gobert & Mitchell

Utah finally has an All-Star worthy backcourt with Conley and Mitchell. They have a defensive stalwart in Rudy Gobert down low and managed to sign Bogdanovic in the offseason.

The Jazz has a legitimate starting lineup in the West and might be one of the higher seeds at the end of the year. They are built for the long season, with durable and experienced players who can defend and score. They are also very well-coached and will manage a good seeding.

This will greatly help them in the Playoffs, and if they get a high enough seed- they might reach the Finals and win it all.

Toronto Raptors

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The Raptors made history last season by winning their first NBA Championship, and many have completely written them off for a shot this year after losing Kawhi Leonard to try Clippers.

Besides Kawhi and Danny Green, the Raptors are bringing back the entire championship-winning core of last season. Fred VanVleet will be asked to make more of an impact offensively, while Pascal Siakam will be expected to take another jump up in his production. Gasol, Ibaka and Lowry will provide the steel and consistency to the Eastern Conference contender.

With enough luck, the Raptors might manage to squeeze into the NBA Finals where anything is possible. Nick Nurse will be asked to make history once again and lead this team to the promised land as a dark horse in the East.

Boston Celtics

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The Boston Celtics should have been the top contending team in the East ever since they acquired Kyrie Irving. But Hayward's injury and Kyrie's questionable leadership prevented that from happening.

Now, the Celtics must accept the role of the dark horse team. Unexpectedly, this might play in their favor.

The Celtics might be able to upset most of the teams in the East, thanks to their great supporting cast which includes Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and a hopefully revamped Gordon Hayward. Enes Kanter is still very effective on offense and on the boards, so this team is still very good.

If Brad Stevens can manage to pull off some spectacular coaching, the Celtics are one underdog that needs to be paid attention to.

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