NBA: Meet the 5 teams leading the Championship chase

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The NBA season is almost upon us and the dominant headline so far has been LeBron James’ return to Cleveland.

The Cavaliers weren’t a standout by any means last year but the return of the King has them leading the betting before a ball has even been handled.

James’ bid to win a third Championship ring in his first season back with his hometown side is not the only story though! Here Ladbrokes News runs the rule over the five teams heading the market before the season begins.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ 10/3

New head coach David Blatt has opted for a Big Three experiment in teaming James up with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and if this gamble pays off the Cavs look a safe bet.

However, should the trio take time to gel or one or more suffers serious injury the attack-heavy squad could come under serious scrutiny.

San Antonio Spurs @ 5/1

The Spurs’ ability is unquestionable but how long Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili can continue to defy the ageing process is not.

With Patty Mills sidelined until March much will rest on these three and the newly-drafted Kevin Anderson. Should the Spurs continue as last season though, expect them to be active until the business end of the campaign.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ 11/2

The Thunder’s bad luck with injuries is well documented with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka both missing key play-off games in the past.

Keep these two fit to feed a Kevin Durant at the top of his game though and no-one will be writing the Thunder off any time soon.

Chicago Bulls @ 8/1

The Bulls could be the value pick of the bunch if Derrick Rose’s return to fitness proves to be long term.

With Joakim Noah proving he is a top defensive force and the additions of Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott and Aaron Brooks complementing a healthy Rose the Bulls look the pick of the Eastern Conference sides on paper.

LA Clippers @ 10/1

The Clippers’ chances rest on Blake Griffin continuing to improve at the rapid rate he has done so far.

LA have added to the attack well with the recruitment of Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar but like the Cavs look a little light in defence if the offense doesn’t prove as effective as anticipated.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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