2019 NBA Championship Odds and Predictions
With a thoroughly forgettable NBA Finals now in the books and the 2017-18 NBA season now fully in bed and committed to the history books, it only makes sense that we start to look forward to next year. And that means that it is a good time to look at the first 2019 NBA Championship futures posted to see if there is any interesting value.
But first, a small qualification - this is a pointlessly stupid exercise. If you watched any of the playoffs and think LeBron James is going to just stay in Cleveland and content himself with being one of the best teams in the East, then, I'm sad to say, you aren't smart. If you watched the season and think that Kawhi Leonard is just going to heal and return to playing his mind out in San Antonio then you aren't paying attention. And if you think that Houston is happy with what they have and ready for another shot at Golden State just as they are then, well, you get the point.
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We know so little about what things are going to look like when the season starts right now that all of this speculation is pointless. And if you think you know what is going to happen, and where guys are going to land, you are fooling yourself. But futures are fun, and what else can we do regarding the NBA right now that is more important? (Odds to win the 2019 NBA title are from Bovada )
Golden State (+125): The Warriors spent much of the playoffs playing like they weren't entirely healthy or entirely committed. And yet they swept the Finals without really breaking a sweat after the first game. And all of the key pieces are already back for another year. They could use some massaging of their depth, and Steve Kerr didn't have his best coaching year, but this team is freakish and will continue to be freakish. Of course, they are the favorites - no matter where LeBron ends up.
Houston (+400): They just weren't good enough. Now, you can make excuses - Chris Paul got hurt, which was crushing, and James Harden ran out of gas trying to do it all in Paul's absence. All true. But they still need to do something to be a true championship team. And all indications are that they will. Assuming that we continue to have faith in management - and they have given us no reason not to - this feels like a reasonable price.
Philadelphia 76ers (+450): Man, I wish the Sixers hadn't run into trouble against Boston, because I would have loved to see them play Cleveland. This team is so very exciting, and the upside is dizzying. They still have work to do - like Ben Simmons needing to learn to shoot. But their two superstars are just ridiculous, and the depth is solid as well. This team sure feels like the future, and the future could arrive soon. If they could add one more piece then things would get scary.
Boston Celtics (+600): They went to seven games in the Eastern Finals relying on a rookie and a banged-up roster. You can do that kind of thing when you have the best coach in the game. And now they could get back what are, on paper, their two best players. And they could potentially play around and make room for another big piece, too. Like a really big piece. I think that this number is a little bit high, so I guess you could say there is a little value here - not much, but a little.
L.A. Lakers (+1600): Remember when it seemed inevitable that James would head to the Lakers? I don't know about you, but it sure doesn't feel that way to me right now. He'd be building something from scratch there, and that sure didn't work as well as he hoped in Cleveland. I don't really believe it, so I don't buy this price.
Cleveland (+2500): These odds would sure suggest that James isn't going back to the Cavs. But then, you could argue that this is fair even if he did stay, because they sure aren't beating Golden State with this core, that coaching, and that cap situation.
San Antonio (+2500): We've long since learned that you can't count the Spurs out. But man, is it ever tempting to count the Spurs out right now. The core is old. Leonard has two feet out the door. The legendary coach didn't seem to have the same spark this year, and his assistants are moving on. It's not the best of times there right now.
Toronto (+6000): Wow, can things change in a hurry. Heading into the playoffs their coach was about to win the Coach of the Year hardware, and they were the top seed and seen as legitimate winners of the east. Then they were swept without effort by a team that was swept without effort by Golden State, the coach was fired, and now they are drifting aimlessly in a hostile sea. Man, sports are brutal.
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