2019 NBA Futures: All roads lead though the West (again)

The last time an NBA team was swept in the finals was back in 2007 … it was the Cleveland Cavaliers getting trounced by a younger Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. Well, unfortunately for the town of Cleveland, not only do they own the Browns, but they own two of the nine NBA finals sweeps—and they are back to back.

The problem isn’t with the Cleveland Cavaliers though. The issue is that the Golden State Warriors look like basketball playing robots from another dimension, a superhuman one. And things don’t look like they are going to change much over in ‘The Town.’ Kevin Durant has stated that he is going to resign for another season. You better believe that the nucleus that makes up these unstoppable Warriors of Golden State will stay intact; they want the three-peat.

Futures Odds on the 2019 NBA Title

After checking Bookmaker a few days ago, we found odds on all of the teams and their implied probability to win the NBA Title in 2019. The top ten candidates according to Las Vegas and top online sites like Bookmaker are:

  • Golden State: +120 (45.5%)
  • Houston +450 (18.2%)
  • Philadelphia +500 (16.7%)
  • Boston Celtics + 650 (13.3%)
  • Los Angeles Lakers + 1400 (6.7%)
  • San Antonio Spurs +2000 (4.8%)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +2500 (3.8%)
  • Miami Heat +5000 (2.0%)
  • New Orleans Pelicans +5000 (2.0%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder +5000 (2.0%)

The funny thing is that as of today, the sportsbooks have pulled the NBA Futures lines —don’t worry they will put them back up soon—so we have to assume that they have received some information that is critical to their mathematical process.

Of course, we see that the Warriors once again lead the way. They are far and away favorites to win in 2019. But what is most interesting to me is the fact that the Las Angeles Lakers are suddenly in the conversation. This leads me to believe that there is some insider info telling the money people in Vegas that Lebron will land in LA.

Low and behold, Bookmaker just released odds on where Lebron James will go this offseason, and the Lakers are -140 favorites. The next closest team is Philly at +400. This means Las Vegas believes that there is a 58.3% chance that Lebron will sign with Luke and the lakers.

With all of this back-room yammering that must be going on about the Lakers and Lebron. I still don’t see how this would make them real contenders. Lebron had Love, Korver, Smith, Hill, Thompson, and a slew of other talented players and still could take down the Warriors. How would going to a team that plays very little defense be any better?

It is all about those little intangible things that create a rare occurrence of dynamics that make the best team. It isn’t always the best player or best players … but the best team. The only other teams that currently have this type of intangible thing going are the Rockets and the Raptors. The Raptors know who they are, but they just don’t quite have the talent to beat Golden State. The Rockets, on the other hand, might have taken down GSW if Chris Paul the 3rd didn’t go down and miss Game 7.

Futures Assessment

Looking at where the futures were (it remains to be seen what they become), I believe that the Rockets should actually be closer to +250 and then everyone else nudged back some more … the closest competition out of the east right now shouldn’t be set higher than +600 (six to one). Maybe if Lebron goes to the 76ers, they might have a shot. But again how will he mesh? Philly has a good thing going on. Would Lebron just be a cog in their wheel?

In 2019 all roads lead through Houston and Golden State. Whoever wins the West wins again.

 

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