There are only six teams that are genuine title contenders in the NBA this season. When I look at the landscape of both conferences and consider all the factors that affects teams making title runs, I see two teams in the East and four in the West that have all the components necessary for a championship title run.
These teams include the Miami Heat and New York Knicks in the East and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies in the West.
To become a member of this small group of teams that have a realistic shot at bringing home a championship trophy is not always easy. It may require anything from very little roster changes to drastic measures being taken by an organization’s front office.
Often what is needed is to bring in that one difference-making player who will take a team to the next level. That player must have the ability to blow a game wide open in the blink of an eye, whether it be in a starting role or off the bench.
That player must commit to the team and take advantage of every minute he sees on the court. That player has to be willing to do the small things that go unnoticed in some instances, and in others, grab the headlines with an astonishing performance.
This is the type of player that can take an average, middle-of-the-pack team from a first-round playoff exit, or even missing the playoffs, to a prospective Finals contender.
There are many teams that have had promising seasons thus far but still are lacking what it takes to reach the Finals. I find it exciting to see teams only a player away from joining the highest level of competition in the league.
I will focus on these five teams that I believe can be title contenders at the end of this year if each of them find a way to acquire the player I firmly believe they need.