The NBA season is now almost two months in, and we've seen some surprises in the year so far. Whatever guess you had about which teams would be the No. 1 seed in each conference, it's very likely that guess is wrong as of today's date.

Two teams that have improved their odds to win the Championship dramatically in the past few weeks are the Philadelphia 76ers (+1400) and Utah Jazz (+1400), as they have become the two of the hottest teams in the league right now.

The Jazz currently have a 20-5 record in the Western Conference, barely edging out the 20-6 Los Angeles Lakers for the top seed. Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference boasts the Sixers with their 18-7 record, led by stellar play from superstar big man Joel Embiid.

Could these two teams possibly meet in the NBA Finals this season? Not many expected these two teams to start off so strong. They could end up being major spoilers for the 2021 Playoffs in a couple of months. 

We shall see if they remain at the top by the All-Star break next month. However, they are not the only teams that have surprised the league this year. Check out these top five teams to definitely keep an eye on for the postseason. 

San Antonio Spurs 

You can never count out Gregg Popovich. While the Spurs missed the playoffs for the first time in two decades, they currently are 14-11 with the sixth seed. 

Dejounte Murray is back, and they still have the duo of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. The West is stacked and loaded, which contributed to the team missing out on the bubble playoffs last season. 

Per Pounding the Rock, San Antonio is projected to finish 37-35, good enough for the seventh seed. FiveThirtyEight has them at basically a 50-50 chance to make the playoffs. 

Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all time. I can never count him out. While I initially had the Spurs missing out in my predictions, I think they have enough and have what it takes. 

They would likely be matched up with the Jazz, Lakers, or Clippers, and they will definitely bring some trouble. Even if they don't win the series, I can see them turning it into a six or seven-game series. 

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have remained pretty consistent over the past decade. They have only missed the playoffs a few times, and have reached the Eastern Conference Finals a couple of times. However, this is a much different team. 

Indiana has dealt with heartbreak, trading away star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder several years ago. They did get Victor Oladipo in return, but they just recently traded him to the Houston Rockets. However, that is not stopping them.

The Pacers have operated mostly without Oladipo for a while now, especially with Domantis Sabonis now being the clear face of the franchise. They have been able to make the big man duo work of him and Myles Turner, who has shown stellar defense and stretching the floor with his shooting. 

It is important to note they have a new head coach, Nate Bjorkgren, who came from the championship Toronto Raptors squad. He is running this team very well, as they currently sit with the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The team is deep with a lot of great players. Guys like Doug McDermott have found their form with this team, in addition to Turner. Malcolm Brogdon is balling out. We also can't forget TJ Warren, who was amazing in the bubble last season. 

With a new coach and deep team, Indiana can do very similar to what I mentioned about the Spurs previously. Expect them to make noise against a team like the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, or Boston Celtics in the playoffs. 

Phoenix Suns

The Suns had been one of the worst teams in the NBA for the past decade, but it looks like things may finally be on the rise. After Devin Booker was basically in a Western Conference purgatory, he now gets to team up with Chris Paul to create a big three with DeAndre Ayton. 

So far, the move to acquire CP3 has been paying off. The Suns are currently 15-9 in the West, good enough for the fourth seed right now. In my predictions, I had them finishing with the sixth seed. They're projected to be the fifth seed with a 43-29 record, via FiveThirtyEight. 

As we remember last season in the bubble, Booker led an inferior Suns squad to an undefeated 8-0 record. Phoenix, however, fell just shy of the playoffs. Now, they have a chance to make amends.

With the FiveThirtyEight projections, Phoenix would likely face the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs. The Nuggets are a powerhouse, led by Nikola Jokic. They were just recently in the Western Conference Finals. 

However, I can definitely see them taking the Nuggets to a six or seven-game series. With a backcourt of CP3 and Booker, they can create problems. Ayton's presence could affect Jokic. 

I would not be surprised at all if they were to pull off the upset. Actually, my initial preseason predictions have the Suns beating Denver in seven games. 

Utah Jazz

The Jazz has been perennial playoff contenders in the West lately, especially since the rise of Donovan Mitchell a few years ago. Combine that with defensive star center Rudy Gobert, Utah has a great duo that can compete every year.

However, it seems Utah usually hovers around the sixth or fifth seed, or that is at least what most expect. Utah was sixth seed against Denver last season, taking a commanding 3-1 lead. Of course, though, they blew it. 

Can the Jazz recover from that? So far, they are showing that the bubble collapse is past them. As mentioned before, they are the No. 1 seed in the West, barely ahead of the LeBron James-led Lakers. 

Right now, FiveThirtyEight has the Jazz and Lakers finishing with the same 52-20 record, but LA winning the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed. The thing about Utah finishing in this top-3 area really spoils it for the West contenders. 

If the Jazz were to finish with the top seed, it would force the Lakers and Clippers to meet each other in the second round of the playoffs. Utah knows that too, and they should do everything in their power to keep that top spot. It would create major ramifications for the West playoffs.

Utah controls their own destiny here. It's going to be a fun regular season battle in the standings as they compete with the Los Angeles powerhouses. 

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers have one of the best duos in the NBA with star center Joel Embiid and point forward Ben Simmons. However, they have not been able to translate that into much postseason success. 

The team, while impressive, seems to underperform in the playoffs. Every year, they are considered a contender in the East, but they have yet to make it to the Conference Finals. It seems like they always choke to the likes of the Boston Celtics. 

Injuries, of course, have also affected this team. Embiid shows up in the playoffs but has dealt with missing time in the regular season in the past. Simmons has missed an entire postseason.

Philly came close to East prominence a few years ago, only to get knocked out by Kawhi Leonard's Toronto Raptors. That team had Jimmy Butler, but he is now on the Miami Heat. The Sixers, instead, have Tobias Harris, who has received mixed reactions since his contract extension.

Now, it seems the team's big three of Embiid, Harris, and Simmons is finally meshing. Embiid is currently one of the leaders of the NBA MVP race. Right now, the award will come down to either him or LeBron. Embiid is on another level, and that is thanks to the coaching of Doc Rivers.

Rivers has playoff and championship experience. Since taking over Philly this season, the team is completely different now. They sit at the top of the East right now, with a two-game lead over the Bucks. 

It would be huge if Philly gets the No. 1 seed at season's end since Milwaukee has consistently gotten that spot for the past few years. FiveThirtyEight has the two teams neck-and-neck, with the Bucks finishing one game ahead at the end of the year.

If the Sixers do get the No. 1 seed though, it could create problems for the rest of the East. It could force the Bucks and Nets to meet in the second round. The Celtics and the Heat would also have to crawl their way out. 

I expect this year to finally be the year that the Sixers can make the Eastern Conference Finals. Who will meet them there remains to be the question, but I expect Philly to be favored—even if it is Brooklyn. 

With the way Embiid is playing this year, combined with Tobias' play and if Simmons can turn it up another level, the sky's the limit right now for the City of Brotherly Love. 


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