The NBA season is over, and as expected the Golden State Warriors defended their title successfully by once again dismissing LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Let’s see what the NBA odds board reveals about next season.
Golden State Warriors (+130) – It’s hard to argue that the Warriors won’t repeat because they are more loaded than your drunk uncle on a Saturday night. Golden State has been to the NBA Finals four years running, winning three titles in the process, and this core group of All-Stars is young enough to keep their dynasty rolling for years to come.
Houston Rockets (+500) – The addition of Chris Paul pushed the Rockets to the next level and provided the reigning champions with their sternest test of the postseason. If Houston can land LeBron, it could very well be a game-changer.
Philadelphia 76ers (+550) – After years of futility, all those high draft picks are bearing fruit and the Process is just beginning. The Sixers were ousted in the semifinal round by the Boston Celtics, but a healthy Markelle Fultz and a more seasoned Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could tip the balance of power in the East. Add LeBron, and there is little reason to believe that the 76ers won’t be a championship contender.
Boston Celtics (+650) – The Celtics came within a hair of the Eastern Conference championship and did it all without their two top players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The youth movement led by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier will be a perfect complement to the pair of veteran superstars who were sidelined throughout their postseason run. The Green may lose defensive wizard Marcus Smart to free agency but a quick glance over at Sportsbook Review reveals that the best online sportsbooks in the industry are offering Boston at a rather tempting +650 which could prove to be a winning ticket if Irving and Hayward are at full tilt when the playoffs commence.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+2500) – If King James abdicates his throne in Cleveland then the Cavaliers will be lucky to be a .500 team and the prevailing odds of +2500 might as well be +25000. However, if LeBron decides to stay, the Cavs are a contender again although the emerging forces in Boston and Philadelphia will most likely be too strong for Cleveland – er, check that – LeBron to combat again as middle age creeps ever closer.
Los Angeles Lakers (+900) – Unless it’s a stone-cold lock that LeBron is destined for La land I’m not quite certain what to make of the prevailing odds on the Lakers. If LeBron does decide to join the Ballers then, OK, these odds are understandable, but if not then this relatively short price makes no sense at all. Either way, we don’t believe the Lakers, as presently constituted, offer much more of a surrounding cast than the one he left in Cleveland.
San Antonio Spurs (+1400) – San Antonio is a team on the downturn after years of extended success despite the retirement of legendary players like David Robinson, bridged seamlessly by the recently retired Tim Duncan and now left in the hands of Kawhi Leonard – or so we think. Aside from Leonard, there is LaMarcus Aldridge who, like Rudy Gay, will be a 12-year veteran and add to the mix Tony Parker entering his 17th season. That doesn’t even include Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili with a combined 33 years in the NBA. Yeah, they’re an old team with one young stud who may or may not want to remain in the Lone Star State. The odds are far too low to entice anyone but the most rabid Spurs fan to take the plunge.
Toronto Raptors (+5000) – It’s only fitting that the only team from the Great White North appeared to fit the friendly Canadian persona. Last season they seemed flattered to be invited to the postseason party but didn’t want to insult their guests by staying too long so they enjoyed cocktail hour with the Wizards before excusing themselves during dinner with the Cavaliers. Their 59 win season was most assuredly impressive but few envision them repeating as Eastern Conference regular season champs.