The talent pool in the NBA is arguably as high as it has ever been.
Unfortunately for fans, the trend for the last decade has seen super teams forming where that talent is no longer distributed and the divide between the playoff and non-playoff teams makes debates on who will win the championship a very short conversation: The Warriors.
Heading into the upcoming season the Golden State Warriors are the obvious favourites, paying $1.55 at Classicbet to win the NBA title. With Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and now a recovering Demarcus Cousins added to the mix, the Warriors can literally field an All Star team throughout the NBA Playoffs.
Factoring that in, is it a foregone conclusion that the Warriors will win the title, and are those 1.55 odds basically bank interest at this point, or can the sh*t hit the fan for such a stacked team?
First we need to look at what can go wrong with the Warriors.
Kevin Durant has those extremely long feet that he has broken more than once in his career.
Steph Curry has a history of ankle issues
Nobody knows for sure when Cousins will make his return, or how he will look when he comes back this season. It is rare to see a bigman recover quickly from a torn achilles
The luxury that the Warriors have is that they could potentially lose 1, or maybe even 2 of those 3 players and still win the title. However if you take Durant or Curry out of the equation and Cousins has an average year, they’re definitely a much more beatable team and it opens the door for an upset.
Apathy, Chemistry and Overconfidence
The Warriors have now won the title 3 times in the last 4 years, and it arguably would have been 4 for 4 if Draymond Green didn’t get himself suspended in the Finals.
Last season the Warriors seemed to be in cruise control in the regular season, content with dropping games that they really should have won. Over the last 3 season’s their wins have dropped each year: 73 wins in 2015, 67 wins in 2016, and finally 58 wins in 2017.
Last season the Warriors beat the Spurs and Pelicans 4-1 before coming up against the Rockets. Houston were in a position to beat Golden State, leading the series 3-2. They turned up the intensity in game 6 winning by 29 points, but in Game 7 at Houston, they allowed the Rockets to take an 11 point lead going into half time. The Rockets went ice cold and went on to lose, but the door was ajar for Golden State to be ousted before the finals.
What impact will Demarcus Cousins have in the locker room of a game 7 when the team is down? If he isn’t getting enough shots or is frustrated, historically his combustible personality has been the biggest thing holding him back from superstar status and is why many teams passed on him in the past.
Which Teams Are The Warriors Biggest Threat To Three-Peat?
Given that Houston is just 1 season removed from taking the champs to 7 games, it makes sense for them to be the team with the best chance of beating Golden State. They lost a few role players in Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson, but they are still led by reigning MVP James Harden, have Chris Paul to co-run the point, Clint Capela who is an underrated big that will attack the glass ferociously against an ailing Cousins, Eric Gordon who is a sparkplug off the bench, and have added Carmelo Anthony who claims he is content with a role in the 2nd unit.
Classicbet currently has the Rockets paying $9.0 which is pretty handy for a team designed to take down Golden State. Barring another meltdown from the perimeter and another untimely injury to Chris Paul (can he ever stay healthy in the playoffs?) the Rockets will be the toughest team for Golden State.
The Celtics are a dangerous team. Even if Lebron James had stayed in the East his run of Finals appearances likely would have come to an end this season. Their line-up is stacked with guys that run, defend, and play unselfish.
In addition to Kyrie Irving, they will see Gordon Hayward making his return from that gruesome foot injury. Al Horford is the glue guy in the middle that can do everything. Then there is Jayson Tatum who would have been rookie of the year most other years. Jaylen Brown. And then there is Terry Rozier who has proven he can step in for Kyrie at the drop of a hat, and Australia’s Aron Baynes who offers a hard-nosed alternative to Horford’s finesse.
The scary part is, the Celtics have some fantastic trade chips if they decide to improve their roster further and go all in to win a title now – they own 4 first round draft picks next season, including Sacramento’s top-1 protected pick.
The Celtics are currently 2nd favourite to win the title at $7.0 at Classicbet. It is debateable as to whether the Celtics are a better team than the Rockets, however the lower odds make sense when you factor in the easier run to make the finals in the East, especially with Cleveland losing Lebron James.
The Lakers are paying $11.0 primarily because they have Lebron, but it is doubtful that even King James could carry this team to the finals in a tougher Western Conference. Even beating teams like Utah, OKC, Portland, Minnesota, San Antonio, New Orleans wouldn’t be a lock. There probably isn’t any value in betting on the Lakers this year unless they can pull off a big trade to land a player like Kawhi Leonard, or if things gel very quickly between Lebron and the Lakers talented young roster.
Philadelphia 76ers are the other interesting team that can do some damage this year. They’re the other team in the East with an excellent chance of making the finals. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been the two most impressive rookies over the past 2 seasons, and there is a chance that Markelle Fultz can step up and be the 3rd star of their team this year so they’re a young team with a lot of upside. At $15.0 odds they could be the surprise team this year, and if they reach the finals anything can happen. Full market odds can be found below:
*Odds accurate at time of publishing
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