The NBA season is still young and the sample size is generally too small to make any ironclad claims. We do know some things, however. The Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James and are therefore title favorites. Giannis Antetokounmpo is still good at basketball. Kawhi Leonard has already requested (and been granted) load management time off in the Clippers' HR system. James Harden can and will put the ball in the hoop at historic levels regardless of how content he is or how much work he actually did in the offseason.
In addition to all that, the Brooklyn Nets have proved they are a team to be feared. Kevin Durant has looked about 95 percent of Kevin Durant in his first live basketball since June 2019. Kyrie Irving is healthy and playing at his standard ridiculous level. Their depth took a hit when Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL three days ago, but they look like they belong atop the Eastern Conference.
Such play has led to takes like the one below from Chris Broussard, proclaiming this is a team destined for the NBA Finals.
As you could probably tell from the title, I don't think it's a particularly hot take. Before the season, it might have been; KD is a Hall-of-Fame talent but very few players have come back and played at the same level after an Achilles tear. But it appears he's just fine, so of course a team with All-Pro scorers like Irving and Durant should be considered favorites to head to the NBA Finals. Especially after the Bucks (the only team with a player of equal caliber to Durant) bowed out in the way they did in the bubble playoffs. It won't be a cakewalk with the defending conference champs down in Miami still hanging around and the young talent up in Boston, but Irving and Durant are the second-best star pairing in the NBA behind LeBron and Anthony Davis. Kawhi and Paul George have some things to prove before we can slot them any higher than third.
However! Lots can happen between now and June. Irving has earned the label of injury-prone for a reason and with no Dinwiddie, Brooklyn doesn't have a reliable backup PG. He's also a bit of a off-putting dude sometimes that can tank team chemistry quicker than you can say the Earth is flat (see: tenure in Boston). Steve Nash has had a smooth start to his coaching career but nobody has a handle on how good of a game manager he actually is yet. The strange insistence that DeAndre Jordan should get more run than Jarrett Allen should come back to bite them at some point.
But talent wins championships in this league, and the Nets have that in spades. Broussard will probably end up being right. Mark the date so we can all give him credit when the bill comes due.