2016 NBA Finals Odds

2016 NBA Finals Odds

The corpse on the 2015 NBA season isn’t even cold yet, but that hasn’t stopped sleepless oddsmakers from crunching the numbers for the 2016 season. While the Golden State Warriors bask in the deserved glory of their first championship in 40 years, and the Cleveland Cavaliers begin the painful process of wondering “what if they had stayed healthy,” Vegas has already moved on to odds for next year’s title contenders. Can the Warriors pull off a repeat? Will LeBron James have the energy to advance to a sixth straight Finals? Are the injury-riddled Thunder capable of regaining their mojo? Do the Clippers and Rockets have the firepower to capture the ultra competitive West? Is the weak East primed for a rebound? So many questions and zero answers. Here are the very early odds to win the 2016 NBA crown.

Cleveland Cavaliers 3/1 – It stands to reason that if Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving can actually stay upright through the playoffs that the Cavs might be unstoppable. Having that LeBron guy certainly helps the cause a whole lot. His performance versus Golden State was beyond incredible, but even he can’t carry the entire torch when facing the Western Conference’s elite. Bottom line: until James show signs of slowing down, his team will be favorites.

Golden State Warriors 5/1 – Steph Curry is Steph Curry, but how about that Andre Iguodala? Iggy earned his Finals MVP trophy by doing his best LeBron impression, i.e. stuffing the stat sheet at both ends of the floor. He didn’t even start every game, which is a first for an MVP.  Klay Thompson was garbo for most of the series, Andrew Bogut was deactivated, and yet the Warriors still took care of business. A rematch with the Cavs next June is a distinct possibility.

OK City Thunder 7/1 – What’s the deal with Kevin Durant’s foot? Until he proves he can return to his 2013-14 form, the Thunder are a franchise in limbo. Sure, Russell Westbrook is amazing, but he hasn’t exactly been the picture of health himself over the last couple of years. Together they can be magical. Remove one from the equation and OK City is just another team.

Chicago Bulls 10/1 – This number is predicated on the assumption that Derrick Rose is past the injury woes that have plagued him since 2012. He looked sharp in the playoffs, so fingers crossed. Just as important as Rose’s health is the future of budding star Jimmy Butler, who is a restricted free agent this summer. Butler’s emerging talent has a handful of teams interested in inking him to an offer sheet. How he feels about Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach is also a factor. Chicago’s needle could either tick up or down depending on how the offseason transpires.

LA Clippers – Exciting team to watch play offense, but their inability to lock down on defense during clutch moments is a huge weakness. If they were in the East, the Clipps would be batting LeBron an Co. for the top spot. In the West, they are stuck in a logjam of very good teams.

Atlanta Hawks 25/1- Why so high? It’s pretty simple. The Hawks don’t have a superstar on their roster. Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap are nice players, but neither will ever be elite. And if they keep winning, the chances of landing a legit rookie talent are slim.

Indiana Pacers 33/1 – The hope is that Paul George will be fully recovered from the gruesome leg injury he suffered at the FIBA tryouts last August by the time the 2016 season tips. If he is, the Pacers will be intriguing to monitor in an underwhelming Eastern Conference.