New team overtakes the Denver Nuggets as title favorites

Mar 25, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Denver Nuggets being defending champions, there’s a lot of reason to believe that they’ll have a solid chance at winning the 2024 NBA Finals. Nikola Jokic is still in the midst of his prime and Jamal Murray is developing into an All-Star caliber player.

With their talent, there’s no surprise that they’re near the top when it comes to title odds. In fact, last week they were first in the preseason title odds. The world has finally taken notice of what Denver can do, and more is being expected out of them than ever before.

However, even with all of this success, they were recently taken out of the first place spot when it comes to title odds. With the NBA changing and teams continuously adapting, this is not uncommon. But the Nuggets were title odds for a while, so what changed?

A couple of days ago, the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and Milwaukee Bucks all participated in a three-team trade, where the main piece moved was All-NBA guard Damian Lillard going to Milwaukee.

There were a lot more pieces dealt around, but the prized gem in this trade was Lillard, as he requested a trade a few months ago. Many believed he’d end up on the Miami Heat, which would be intriguing considering they were in the NBA Finals last season. But Milwaukee pulled off the trade, giving up draft picks, All-Star Jrue Holiday, and starting shooting guard Grayson Allen.

This trade really matters for the Denver Nuggets because of the talent on the Milwaukee Bucks roster. Before the trade went down, the Bucks had arguably the best player in the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Now that the trade has gone through, the Bucks have the best odds to win the 2024 NBA Finals.

A lineup of two All-NBA caliber players in Lillard and Antetokounmpo as well as an All-Defensive 1st-teamer in Brook Lopez is really tough to go up against, and that’s not even taking into consideration three-time All-Star Khris Middleton, who is still one of the best offensive forwards in the NBA.

The Milwaukee Bucks were near the top of the NBA’s title favorites before the trade occurred, but now that they’ve added one of the greatest offensive players of all time, it’s hard to say they’re not going to be one of the best NBA teams this season.

Luckily for the Denver Nuggets, they won’t have to play the Milwaukee Bucks too often next season, as they will face up against them only twice in the regular season. However, if the Nuggets face off against them in the NBA Finals, it’s not going to be an easy opponent to face. Sure, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can guard Lillard, but even so, Lillard will still get his fair share of points. Aaron Gordon might have his hands full guarding 6’11” Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton has been known to show up big-time in clutch playoff moments.

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NBA fans will definitely be intrigued to see two powerhouse teams face off in the NBA Finals, so it would be exciting to see Milwaukee and Denver face off in the 2024 NBA Finals.