With just around 10 games into the 2019-2020 season, it’s hard to state exactly who the contenders and pretenders are … depth hasn’t even come close to coming into play.

That said, we can look at the futures odds at sites like YouWager to see who Vegas likes and then compare that against predictive Power Rankings and the current records to pick our Top 5 2019 Contenders.

Top 5 Odds to Win 2020 NBA Finals
Los Angeles Clippers +300
Los Angeles Lakers +300
Milwaukee Bucks +700
Philadelphia 76ers +700
Houston Rockets +900

Top 5 in the Predictive Power Rankings
Milwaukee Bucks 61.5 Projected Wins
Utah Jazz 56 Projected Wins
LA Clippers 54.4 Projected Wins
LA Lakers 55 Projected Wins
Boston Celtics 56.2 Projected Wins

5 Best Records as of Tuesday Night
Los Angeles Lakers 9-2
Boston Celtics 8-1
Utah Jazz 8-3
Denver Nuggets 7-3
Miami Heat 7-3
Milwaukee Bucks 7-3
Philly 76ers
Toronto Raptors
Houston Rockets 7-3
Utah Jazz 7-3
LA Clippers 7-3

Basically, the Lakers, Celtics, and Jazz are leading the pack, and then it's a big eight-way tie for fourth  and and fifth place. So, this begs the question: what is what?

Well, the Western Conference is really competitive, and the Clippers' numbers are probably going to even up a bit with the Lakers as the season wears on. The Rockets and Jazz are probably going to hang right in there with them; those two teams are simply too talented to fade away.

On the flip side, the Eastern Conference has tightened up quite a bit. We should see tougher competition between the top seeds instead of the huge gaps between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the East and the rest of the conference.

This is made evident by the top six in the east being tightly bunched so far. As the season continues, we’ll probably see the Celtics, Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers separate themselves from the rest a bit more and show themselves to be the top four in the East.

I don’t think the Heat will stay in the top 3 for very long. They are likely a good No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the conference, though.

Out West, as much as I hate to admit it, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking like the best team in the NBA. The Lakers have the No. 1 home defense in the league up to this point, allowing 94 points per game. And they have the No. 3 overall D at just 100 per game.

This lineup is the real deal. And with Rajon Rondo soon to be back from injury, the backcourt will be even stouter on defense.

Even without being able to rotate DeMarcus Cousins in due to his unfortunate torn ACL, the Lakers are finally a defensive-minded squad that is squashing their opponents.

The Celtics are also playing well at this point, I would have to say they are the No. 2 team in the league. The Raptors are riding high off of their championship win and are playing inspired, but I don’t think it will last for long enough to be a top 5 team throughout the season.

That said, I could be wrong. They’ve learned a lot as an organization over the last couple of years. But I don’t think they’ll beat either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Philadelphia 76ers down the stretch this time around.

Outside of the Lakers, the Clippers are a legitimate threat with Kawhi Leonard teaming up with the likes of Paul George and Patrick Beverley.

Then we have the Jazz, which is finally a mature team that is ready to make a deep run into the playoffs, though losing Ed Davis on the bench could end up hurting them in the long haul.

So there you have it! Combining everything we know so far, along with with the betting odds, and predictive power rankings, the below is our current Top 5 Contenders for the 2020 NBA Title:

Top 5 Contenders
LA Lakers 
Boston Celtics
Utah Jazz
LA Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks


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