We’ve just about reached the All-Star break in the NBA season, which means it’s time to take a look at the futures landscape. Of course, the Golden State Warriors are the favorites to win it all, but can anyone at all give them a run for their money?
The Warriors are an astounding -150 to win the title and that number should become even lower as the season wears on. The addition of Kevin Durant has made the Warriors almost unstoppable as he, two-time and reigning MVP Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson can all get hot and carry a team. Draymond Green is a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year and a constant triple-double threat and the bench is experienced.
The Warriors are also one of the best teams in the league defensively, partly because teams have to expend so much energy on slowing down Golden State’s offense. They still have the occasional hiccup, though, as evidenced by a 22-point loss in Denver on Monday night. Even so, they’re 46-9 and are the only team in the NBA that’s yet to hit double-digit losses.
The reigning champs from Cleveland are next at +250 and they’re still considered to be head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference. However, the Cavaliers have been linked to the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes in New York, but they don’t want to part ways with Kevin Love, who has played great this season.
The biggest worry is that James is playing so many minutes as he has been at or near the top of that category all season. The Cavaliers need to consider giving James some rest, and handing things over to Love and Kyrie Irving for a few games. The Cavs had a recent funk where they lost six of eight and James called out the front office, but they appear to have moved beyond that as they’ve now won five of six.
San Antonio is next at +750 as Kawhi Leonard is having an MVP-type of season and Gregg Popovich has the Spurs’ machine as well-oiled as ever. Houston also has an MVP candidate in James Harden, in fact he’s probably the top contender along with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
However, the Rockets’ odds are +1600 and the Thunder have odds of +12500, which means Harden has a better chance of taking that trophy home than he does the Larry O’Brien. But can either of these teams handle the Warriors over a seven-game series? So far, it doesn’t look like it.
Boston comes in at +2200 as Isaiah Thomas is having an amazing season. He’s paired well with Al Horford, who has been a nice addition for the Celtics. The Los Angeles Clippers are hanging around at +3300 despite injuries to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, and they’re just aiming to be in the conversation for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs until Paul returns. However, when Paul comes back, the Clippers could easily catch up to the Spurs and Rockets in terms of the betting odds. Remember, they started the year 14-2.
Toronto is also rated at +3300, even though they’ve been struggling as of late; they’re 4-10 in their last 14 games. Washington is hot on their heels at +4000 as John Wall and Bradley Beal have been incredible. A lot of people view them as a dark horse to challenge the Cavaliers in the East and possibly win it. The Wizards started the year 16-18 but have since won 17 of their last 20 games.