How confident am I in the Golden State Warriors? I’m writing this before their potentially record-setting game with the Grizzlies tonight … and I have no hesitation in congratulating the team on its 73-win season.
How confident am I in the Utah Jazz? Almost equally, but in a very different way. Utah can still sneak into the playoffs with a win over the Lakers and a Houston loss, yet I didn’t even include them in the odds to win the 2016 NBA title below. (That actually has more to do with the fact that Houston is playing Sacramento at home.)
As another regular season wraps, it’s time to forecast what lies in wait in the weeks and months ahead. Will the Warriors repeat? Will LeBron stay in Cleveland? Will Blake Griffin quit basketball to be a comedian? (I’m told his jokes have a certain punch to them. *Rimshot.*)
The odds for all that – plus the major end of year awards – can be found below.
2016 NBA Playoff and Offseason Odds
Odds to win the 2016 NBA Title:
Golden State Warriors: 6/5Cleveland Cavaliers: 5/1
San Antonio Spurs: 5/1
Toronto Raptors: 20/1
OKC Thunder: 22/1
Atlanta Hawks: 40/1
LA Clippers: 45/1
Miami Heat: 50/1
Boston Celtics: 60/1
Charlotte Hornets: 100/1
Indiana Pacers: 100/1
Detroit Pistons: 110/1
Dallas Mavericks: 125/1
Portland Trail Blazers: 125/1
Houston Rockets: 150/1
Memphis Grizzlies: 200/1
The Warriors are going off at 2/3 in some sportsbooks. The bookies get away with it because they can: the public will continue to climb on Golden State at ludicrous prices. Their real chances to win the title aren’t quite so plumb, but they’re still the heavy favorites. And you already know why.
The Grizzlies bring up the rear because they’re barely the Grizzlies anymore. Breaking news: Bryce Cotton is not championship material.
Odds to meet in the 2016 NBA Finals:
Anything but a Warriors/Cavs final is going to surprise a lot of people. But the Raptors aren’t going to be a pushover in the East, as long as they get out of the first round.
Odds to win the 2016 NBA Finals MVP:
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors): 5/2
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers): 6/1
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs): 10/1
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors): 12/1
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors): 20/1
LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs): 20/1
Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder): 35/1
If Cleveland wins the title, LeBron is all but certain to be the MVP. I’d say the same about Curry and the Warriors, except, y’know, this. Plus Draymond has a beast-mode he can initiate at any time.
Odds to win the 2015-16 Coach of the Year:
Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors): 3/1
Tony Stotts (Portland Trail Blazers): 3/1
Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics): 7/1
Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs): 9/1
Dwane Casey (Toronto Raptors): 10/1
This award almost always goes to the team that exceeded pre-season expectations the most. Everyone had the Trail Blazers falling way off the pace after losing LaMarcus Aldridge. Instead, they finished sixth in the West. But how does it not go to Steve Kerr? I know he missed part of the season, but that just makes the Warriors’ record-setting season all the more impressive.
Odds to win the 2015-16 6th Man of the Year:
Jamal Crawford (LA Clippers): 3/1
Enes Kanter (OKC Thunder): 5/1
Will Barton (Denver Nuggets): 7/1
Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors): 7/1
Jeremy Lin (Charlotte Hornets): 17/2
Crawford came up huge while Griffin was out. He’s the frontrunner to claim a record third award. But this one is pretty wide open. Someone off the board could easily win, like either of the Pelicans’ rowdy reserves, Ryan Anderson and JRue Holliday.
Odds to win the 2015-16 Defensive Player of the Year:
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs): 3/1
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors): 7/2
Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat): 7/2
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons): 5/1
DeAndre Jordan (LA Clippers): 10/1
Leonard is the best perimeter defender in the league; Whiteside and Drummond had the best years among the bigs. Green defies categorization, which is part of what makes him so valuable.
Odds to make the 2015-16 All-NBA 1st Team:
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors): 1/9LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers): 1/3
Russell Westbrook (OKC Thunder): 6/5
Chris Paul (LA Clippers): 6/5
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons): 3/1
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings): 4/1
Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder): 4/1
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors): 4/1
LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs): 5/1
With Curry a lock to take one of the guard spots, that leaves Westbrook and Paul to duke it out for the other. Both had phenomenal years and it looks like a toss up at this point. What do you like better, triple-doubles or guiding your team to the playoffs without your leading scorer? The race for the center position is weak, that’s why Drummond and Cousins are so high. Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns could even sneak in there.
Odds to be the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft:
Ben Simmons (LSU): 20/19
Brandon Ingram (Duke): 10/9
Ingram showed in the tourney that he could get his shot whenever he wanted. Simmons is a freak of nature, but has limited range. This one really depends on who owns that first overall pick and what they value more.
Odds on where the following (potential) free agents will play in 2016-17:
DeMar DeRozan (current team: Toronto Raptors):
DeRozan wants to remain a Raptor. If the team offers him a max. contract (like the Lakers are rumored to do), he’ll be back up North.
Andre Drummond (current team: Detroit Pistons):
Drummond is a restricted free agent. The Pistons will have the right to match any offer sheet extended by another team. They’d be crazy not to. Drummond is arguably the best center in the league.
Tim Duncan (current team: San Antonio Spurs):
There are only two viable options here, and one sees Duncan hang’em up.
Kevin Durant (current team: OKC Thunder):
Everyone expects Durant to dip his toes in the FA market and have discussions with multiple teams. But, at the end of the day, he seems like playing in OKC and he probably won’t find a better fit. Expect him to sign a deal like LeBron’s recent contracts with the Cavs (i.e. short-term with player options).
Pau Gasol (current team: Chicago Bulls):
Al Horford (current team: Atlanta Hawks):
Horford and the Hawks have a good thing going; they’ve made the postseason every year since the big-man entered the league. A return to Florida – where Horford won back to back national titles with the Gators – could lure him away, though, as could the contending Celtics.
Dwight Howard (current team: Houston Rockets):
If Howard opts out of this contract, which he probably will, his next destination is wide open at this point. The Knicks have interest, as do the Mavs. A return to Orlando or LA isn’t out of the question, either. But the field is still the best bet at this point.
LeBron James (current team: Cleveland Cavaliers):
Rajon Rondo (current team: Sacramento Kings):
Rondo loves playing at MSG and the Knicks need a point guard upgrade. They’ll have to fight DeMarcus Cousins – perhaps literally – to get Rondo out of Sacramento though.
Dwyane Wade (current team: Miami Heat):
Wade doesn’t even want to test interest from other squads. He wants to be back in Miami. Given how well the Heat have played down the stretch, the interest will be mutual.
And just for kicks … odds on the next NBA player to star in a movie:
Blake Griffin: 5/1
Chris Bosh: 6/1
Kristaps Porzingis: 8/1
NBA stars from Jordan to Shaq to LeBron have dabbled in the dramatic arts. I have no insider info on this front, but Bosh fancies himself pretty funny. And he could probably use something to take his mind off of blood clots and the like. Griffin has some acting chops as those Kia commercials showed. Who knows what Porzingis would bring to the screen, but he’s super zeitgeisty and already in New York!
(Featured photo credit: Matthew Addie (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode].)
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