The Celtics are the only team left in the NBA playoffs that opened the season among the. top-10 betting favorites. Oddsmakers had the Celtics, Nuggets, Suns, Bucks, Warriors, Lakers, Heat, Sixers, Clippers and Grizzlies (in that order) as the teams with the best shot to win it all.

Two of those teams didn't make the postseason at all, six were eliminated in the first round and the Nuggets in the second round. In comparison, all four of last year's conference finalists — Celtics, Heat, Nuggets and Lakers — were among the top 10 of the 2022-23 preseason favorites. The recent turn of events has showcased parity in the NBA that hasn't been seen in decades.

The NBA would tell you the results are by design. The league and its players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement in 2023 to dismantle super teams, enforcing heftier luxury tax bills for franchises with higher payrolls. It's why the Suns couldn't add requisite pieces to its Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, or the Nuggets couldn't retain Bruce Brown as a free agent last summer.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is happy that the new CBA is doing as intended. "I'm thrilled with the level of competition, and I think what fans ultimately want is to see great competition across the league," Silver said last month, via Yahoo Sports. "As to dynasties, I'm not anti-dynasty, but you want dynasties to be created to the extent possible with a level playing field.

So, if teams draft well, developed players we.

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