NBA Championship Favourites
GS Warriors Still Favourites
The summer of 2017 will go down as the NBA's most memorable offseasons with numerous superstars switching teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves became the busiest teams all acquiring all-star players and sent shockwaves throughout the league. But despite all the movement, Las Vegas still favours the defending champion Golden State Warriors to repeat as NBA Champions.
The Warriors are -160 favourites to win their third NBA title in four years with their most significant offseason addition being volatile shooter Nick Young. They re-signed back-to-back MVP Steph Curry, Finals MVPs Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West, and Zaza Pachulia to contracts ensuring their core stay together. The team expelled ghosts of playoffs past by defeating the Cavs 4-1 in the NBA Finals. Durant won his first championship.
Backed by head coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors have little weaknesses and are able to defend any position and have three players capable of taking a game over as well as the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green. The Warriors are here to stay and anything short of another NBA title will be an upset.
Following their disappointing NBA Finals, the Cavs cleaned out front office then followed suit by trading disgruntled point guard Kyrie Irving to the rival Celtics. In exchange, the Cavs received all-star Isaiah Thomas, all-around forward Jae Crowder, and a first round pick among others.
Cleveland also acquired former MVP Derrick Rose from free agency and LeBron James's good friend and former Miami Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade. While the Cavs lost a major element in Irving, they acquired other key pieces that makes them the second best pick to win it all.
The young Celtics are now back in championship mode following their blockbuster moves. First came all-star swingman Gordon Hayward then Irving. And the Celtics managed to hold on to their young upcoming stars like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Just two years ago, the Celtics were supposed to be lottery players but they're just behind the Warriors and Cavs in terms of championship odds.
The Cs are one of the NBA's youngest teams with only four players being older than 25. Big man Al Horford is the x-factor with his veteran leadership and interior defense with the Celtics losing a lot of perimeter defense with Crowder's and Avery Bradley's departures.
The Thunder came out of nowhere and landed two major superstars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in separate deals in a bid to give reigning MVP Russell Westbrook more support.
George was acquired at the cost of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis while Anthony was acquired trading Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott and a 2nd round pick.
OKC ranked near the bottom in terms of their three-point shooting but the additions of George, Anthony, and sharp-shooting big man Patrick Patterson should help. Steven Adams will have an even larger role to play as he is the team's sole center with Kanter gone.
The Thunder are ready to make a deep playoff run.
Another offseason goes by with most fans and pundits seemingly overlooking the Spurs. Their biggest acquisition came in prolific scorer Rudy Gay but other than this they stayed pat even with an ailing Tony Parker. But the Spurs should never be counted out and were giving the Warriors all they could handle in the Conference Finals before MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard got hurt.
It all depends on Kawhi. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year is primed for another MVP-caliber season while Greg Poppovich will ensure the Spurs are at least a top-four team in the West. The Thunder, Rockets, and Wolves all made the big moves but they aren't proven commodities like the Spurs.
NBA Betting Lines
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