The 2013 NFL regular season may be steamrolling toward its annual midway point, but NBA roundball lovers everywhere are jumping for joy with the knowledge that at the 2013-14 NBA regular season is a mere matter of days away from getting started.
Making things ever sweeter for hoops fans are the value-packed season-long NBA Futures Odds centered on selecting the correct winner of the 2014 NBA Championship.
To simply things for hardwood gamblers that are still mostly in ‘FOOTBALL’ mode I have put each team into one of four, season-defining categories based on their realistic chances of actually brining home the bacon.
Okay, with that long-winded diatribe out of the way, let’s get that old Spalding basketball bouncing like crazy.
NBA Odds To Win The Championship – The Contenders
- Miami Heat +200
- Oklahoma City Thunder +700
- Los Angeles Clippers +800
- San Antonio Spurs +1000
- Indiana Pacers +1400
Analysis: The Miami Heat are on top of the NBA Futures Odds for the third consecutive season – and for good reason – they’re going to be hard to beat again this coming season.
The fact of the matter is that as long as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are together (and are the league’s marquee team) they’re going to contend for NBA championships. Combine that knowledge with the fact that Miami keeps getting really good players to give up money and minutes elsewhere to come ride the bench for them and contribute whenever called upon – and it’s a pretty sad and sobering thought that the Heat could be in this position for the foreseeable future.
Having said that, the Heat nearly (should have) lost last season’s championship to the veteran-laden San Antonio Spurs and they’ll almost assuredly have more competition to nab the best record in the Eastern Conference this season.
Now, I will go on record to say that I am absolutely stunned that the Thunder and Clippers are both favored over the Spurs this coming season. San Antonio, in my mind, is the No. 2 favorite on the board to win it all this coming season with aging stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili realizing they are another year closer to their retirements and that their collective window for winning another championship is closing quickly. The Spurs made some minor roster changes, but generally, the moves this franchise makes, are nothing but solid gold.
As far as the Oklahoma City Thunder are concerned, I really love superstar franchise leader Kevin Durant, but I have to admit that the Thunder really screwed up when they decided to part ways with James Harden – and not Serge Ibaka, duh! Two star players is very good, but three is clearly better and now the Thunder don’t have that anymore.
If there’s one team that I think could very well challenge for conference supremacy out west and it’s the Los Angeles Clippers. This team has all the components right now, from an elite point guard and athletically-gifted power forward to a deep bench and exhaustive, defensive-minded head coach. The Clippers will undoubtedly bear watching this coming season whether they challenge for the Western Conference crown or not.
Last but certainly not least, are the Indiana Pacers. I love the way this mostly young team gave Miami hell in their Eastern Conference Finals showdown last season and I think they could be ready to take a big step forward – or not – depending on several factors.
Is Paul George really ready to take a step forward as a legitimate superstar or will the reintegration of Danny Granger limit the young forward’s growth? Is defensive-minded center Roy Hibbert ready to build on the awesome growth we saw from him against Miami? How about the talented Lance Stephenson? The Pacers have questions galore, now we’ll find out the answers likely by mid-season.
NBA Odds To Win The Championship – The Could Make A Run
- Chicago Bulls +1000
- Brooklyn Nets +1200
- Golden State Warriors +2500
- Memphis Grizzlies +3500
Analysis: The Chicago Bulls will have Derrick Rose back, but something tells me this team isn’t going to be quite as dangerous or as stout defensively, as they have been in recent seasons, particularly with the departure of Luol Deng looming all season long.
The Brooklyn Nets made some great additions to their roster and could very well surprise as the season progresses. One thing’s for sure, no one on the Nets roster is going to be scared of Miami after they see KG and Paul Pierce’s collective hared for Miami and LeBron James in particular.
If the Golden State Warriors were a hit record, they’d be moving up the charts with a bullet. Seriously though, this franchise is heading in the right direction under Mark Jackson and they’ve got a slew of young talent that just needs time to grow together.
As far as the Memphis Grizzlies are concerned, let’s all just admit that this franchise really blew it big-time by parting ways with head coach Lionel Hollins after seeing the former NBA veteran completely turn the fortunes of their franchise around the last few seasons.
NBA Odds To Win The Championship – The Long Shots
- Houston Rockets +1200
- New York Knicks +3500
- Denver Nuggets +4000
- Dallas Mavericks +5000
- Los Angeles Lakers +7500
Analysis: Yeah, any one of these teams could find themselves in the NBA Finals – if somewhere in the neighborhood of approximately 15 different scenarios all play out perfectly for them. The Houston Rockets are basing their championships hopes on a player that wants to smile and make jokes more than actually win (Dwight Howard) while the Knicks, Nuggets, Mavs and Lakers all have rosters that scream ‘above average, but not much more’.
NBA Odds To Win The Championship – Not Gonna’ Happen
- Cleveland Cavaliers +10000
- Minnesota Timberwolves +10000
- New Orleans Pelicans +10000
- Detroit Pistons +10000
- Milwaukee Bucks +12500
- Portland Blazers +12500
- Washington Wizards +12500
- Toronto Raptors +20000
- Sacramento Kings +20000
- Utah Jazz +20000
- Boston Celtics +20000
- Atlanta Hawks +20000
- Phoenix Suns +50000
- Philadelphia 76ers +50000
- Charlotte Bobcats +65000
- Orlando Magic +65000
Analysis: You can wager on any or all of these teams if you like, just know that the chances of each franchise actually winning it all are completely slim to none. Each of the franchises in this category has multiple issues to deal with that will keep them from legitimate NBA Championship contention for various lengths of time.