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Even after winning their fourth title in eight seasons, it appears the Warriors are not necessarily favored once again as the 2022-23 season comes creeping in.
The Los Angeles Clippers were favored to win the Western Conference over the Warriors in a new ESPN survey released on Tuesday. The survey polled coaches, scouts and executives across the league.
The Clippers, who will get their superstar Kawhi Leonard back in action after missing last season due to an injury, received the most votes (7) to represent the West in the Finals.
Both Golden State and the Phoenix Suns received three votes, and the Denver Nuggets got one vote.
On the opposite coast, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are tied at the top with the reigning East champs, the Boston Celtics, with seven votes a piece to win the Eastern Conference, followed by the Miami Heat with one vote.
And not only were the Clippers favored over the Warriors in the West, they are also the favorites to win it all next year.
Clippers: 5 votes
Bucks: 4 votes
Celtics: 4 votes
Warriors: 2 votes
Of course, these preseason predictions are typically proven wrong as the season progresses.
Before the start of the 2021-22 season, that same ESPN survey projected that the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers were going to take home the Larry O’Brien.
And as we came to learn, things didn’t exactly turn out that way. Not even close.
In fact, the two teams that did make it to the NBA Finals, the Warriors and Celtics, weren’t even finalists to be the champs in last year’s survey.
But the Warriors’ dynasty of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green silenced any and all doubters, something they do often.
So now being doubted once again, there’s no telling what next season will bring.