The last gasp of NBA fans are finally returning to the court after a six-year hiatus, but the games of the NBA season have never been more unpredictable.
Here’s a look at who will win this year’s championship, who will make it to the last three games and who will be left behind:Who will win it?
There’s no doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers are the most likely NBA champions.
They have won the last seven titles, with their greatest triumph being in 2008.
But they have yet to win a title in the modern era.
They also have some big names on the roster who have played a major role in winning championships.
Cleveland’s roster features LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Kyler Murray and Kevin Love.
But Cleveland is the most unlikely team to win the title.
They will be without Kyrie’s brother, James Harden, for the rest of the season, along with All-Star center J.R. Smith and three-time All-NBA first-teamer Dwyane Wade.
They’ll also be without star forward Kevin Durant for the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.
The Golden State Warriors will also be in a tough spot.
They lost three of their last four games and will face a very tough schedule that includes back-to-back games against the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans.
They’re also without two of their top three scorers, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson.
They might be able to hold off the Cavaliers, but their star point guard, Stephen Curry, might be missing due to his ankle injury.
The Los Angeles Clippers will be in the hunt, but it will be difficult to take them seriously.
They’ve never won a title since 2004 and have been without the services of Blake Griffin, who is recovering from an ACL tear.
They are also without Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, two of the most effective players in the league.
The Clippers also have no one else capable of playing the point guard position.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will have to play a tough schedule, but they’re in the midst of a remarkable turnaround.
The Thunder won the first title in franchise history last year and have won three consecutive titles since 2009.
The only question is how good they can be with Kevin Durant sidelined again.
The New Orleans Hornets will have the toughest schedule, having played four of the last five games against Eastern Conference teams.
They played a similar schedule to the Clippers last year, losing three of five and losing to the Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks.
The Pelicans will also have a tough time in the playoffs because of their new-look roster, led by point guard Jrue Holiday.
The Houston Rockets will be one of the favorites in the Western Conference.
The Rockets have been on a roll, averaging 106.9 points per game in the last two years.
They should be able play the most competitive schedule in the conference.
The Phoenix Suns will be the favorites, but will have a difficult schedule.
They only played six games against other than the Warriors in 2017, and have yet the best record of any NBA team.
The Suns are a team of veterans, so they might not be able find a way to pull it off.
The Washington Wizards will be a big favorite in the East, especially with Washington hosting the Los Angeles Lakers.
They play the New York Nets, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors.
The Chicago Bulls will have one of their best defenses in the NBA, led largely by Derrick Rose.
But Chicago has lost its last five road games, with all four losses coming in New York.
The Bulls are also missing a lot of key players in Rose, Rajon Rondo and Taj Gibson.
Chicago is the only team that hasn’t been able to win back- to back titles since 2004.
Their best chance at that might be a rematch with the Washington Wizards in 2018.
The Atlanta Hawks will be another team that won the NBA title last year but won’t be able do so again this year.
They won the 2016 NBA championship and made the playoffs, but have been plagued by injuries in the offseason.
This season will be no different.
Atlanta will have Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Mike Muscala as starters, along in with Kyle Korvac, Kyle Singler, Al Horford and Teague.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be looking for a return to the playoffs.
They finished the season with the league’s third-worst record and have missed the playoffs since 2008.
They don’t have many stars and are coming off of a disappointing season in 2017-18.
The Utah Jazz are one of just two teams in the top five of the league in defense.
The Jazz have the NBA-leading league-leading number of defensive rebounds, and are second in the second half of the court.