I’ve got to listen to my gut more often, ladies and gents.
Something just told me it was too early to write futures-betting NBA editorials in June of ’19…but I wanted to defend the Golden State Warriors from what I felt was overwrought criticism and foolish pundits declaring a dynasty over and done.
As it has turned out, not even the harshest critics of the Oakland franchise could have imagined the woe that would befall Steve Kerr’s club over the weeks to follow.
Boogie Cousins is gone, seemingly before he ever got to Northern Cali. He will head south to become a piece of the championship puzzle LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers personnel department (but I repeat myself) are attempting to put together by winter of 2019.
Kevin Durant? Forget everything we said about his reasons to stay at Golden State, or rather the club’s rivals’ reasons not to make a serious play for KD. The Brooklyn Nets are serious enough to welcome Durant 3 time-zones away and promise him a new-school elite “triumvirate” with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan as soon as he’s healthy.
Where does that leave the Golden State Warriors? Back to where the dynasty began – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and a whole bunch of role players.
What if Golden State is Still Great – Just Mortal?
If you have any question as to whether Golden State is still a force to be reckoned with in NBA basketball, just surf to Sportsbetting.ag and look at the 2019-20 futures lines.
I might be seeing things, but at least as of July 18th of This Year Of Our Lord 2019, there is an NBA title futures market for every team in every division…except the Golden State Warriors.
Is it a trend across the internet? Hardly. MyBookie has Curry’s remaining platoon at (+1300) to win the NBA Finals in 2020.
But I can see why certain bookmakers are nervous to put the Warriors on a championship futures betting board at a line pushing 15-to-1. They learned their lesson when Michael Jordan willed the Chicago Bulls to late-period dynasty titles despite a thinned supporting cast.
Fans who cheer against Tom Brady or Steph Curry aren’t necessarily wishing ill on the New England Patriots or Golden State Warriors. Often they’re just wishing the aristocrats of a sport would have normal problems that normal teams have to go through. How would Tom Brady look if his team was out-coached? It doesn’t happen very often. How would Stephen Curry look with a thin and incomplete roster of teammates in Oakland? Careful what you wish for.
The top names on Kerr’s squad are still among the NBA’s elite, but to tout Golden State to prove the doubters wrong once again next summer is to bet against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, along with a host of other free-agency tycoons who have drastically shifted the balance of power in the NBA after a month of furious negotiations.
Here’s a glance at some of the biggest earthquakes not produced in Ridgecrest this year…with shock-waves felt all the way to Las Vegas.
Anthony Davis Traded to the Lakers
The Lakers at-last connected on a bid to acquire Davis, trading youngsters Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart to the Pelicans in the process.
It’s an example of a rare trade that could work out well for both clubs. The Pelicans lose the franchise’s marquee superstar but gain a wealth of pieces to build a world-class nucleus with. Not only did New Orleans snag Zion Williamson with the #1 overall pick in the draft, but Zion had company as the team had also acquired rights to multiple lottery picks from the Lakers.
New Orleans GM Trajan Langdon deserves credit for taking bold action in his maiden months with the club. After finishing the season 33-49 and missing the playoffs in 3 of the last four years, it was time to shake up the roster. Bettors at MyBookie have noticed, nudging the Pelicans up to (+6600) in the NBA championship futures markets.
But for rivals of the Purple & Gold, the trade isn’t just worrisome, it’s scary. King James finally has the partner-in-crime to help rule the Western Conference. The Lakers may now boast one of the most prolific frontcourts in the league. Davis, a 6-time NBA All-Star, joins 3-time NBA champion and rising sensation Kyle Kuzma.
That’s hardly half of the good news in SoCal. Coming off his injury-riddled season with the Warriors, Demarcus Cousins has signed with the L.A. Lakers hoping to resurrect his career.
From LeBron vs The World to multiple potential MVP candidates in 1 offseason? That’s how a basketball team gets priced at (+400) to win the NBA Finals at MyBookie after a sad-sack 2018-19.
“Other” L.A. Team Also Upgrades
The Clippers share Staples Center with King James, of course, and weren’t to be out-done. Fresh off an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard has left for SoCal and brought some help with him. The 2-time NBA Finals MVP recruited Paul George, a 6-time All-Star and 2019 All-NBA First Team athlete, to help give the Clippers one of the fiercest scoring tandems in the NBA.
But any club needs balance, and it’s not just point-scoring that has bookmakers taking (+330) wagers on the Clippers to win the grail in 2020.
Leonard and George can play defense too, and have combined for 9 total All-NBA Defensive Team selections. Point guard Patrick Beverley is a lock-down defender who has earned 2 All-NBA Defensive Team honors. The backcourt will create havoc for opposing guards.
The Clippers have also managed to bring back key contributors from last season’s 48-34 playoff team like sharpshooter Landry Shamet, 7-footer Ivica Zubac, and Lou Williams – who led this historic 4th-quarter charge against Golden State in the recent Western Conference quarters.
The Beard and Westbrook Together Again
It seems like ancient history since James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant tortured the Western Conference as members of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The last of the trio exited the Sooner State when the Rockets and Thunder struck a trade that sent veteran point guard Chris Paul to OKC and Westbrook to Houston.
Houston, we have a blessing. Westbrook and Harden are together again, and the former scoring champions could produce the highest scoring Rockets backcourt ever.
The one thing missing from the remarkable careers of each star is a championship. There have been questions about how the electrifying guards can coexist in the same backcourt, with Westbrook accused of “inefficiency” just as Harden was (sometimes rightfully) accused of loafing in years past.
If only ever NBA cager could be “inefficient” like Russell Westbrook.
The Rockets sent a pair of 1st Round draft picks to the Thunder in exchange for the deal, but still boast a roster that can compete for a Western Conference title. Shooting guards Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, and Gerald Green are competent in the backcourt and center Clint Capela is a double-double machine.
Houston is an (+800) wager to win the 2020 NBA Finals at Sportsbetting.ag.
Kemba Signs with the Celtics
With the departures of Kyrie Irving to the Nets, veteran center Al Horford to the 76ers, and power forward Marcus Morris to the Knicks, the Celtics were on the verge of taking a plunge toward mediocrity in the Eastern Conference.
Instead, the club retooled, signing Kemba Walker to lead a new-look roster in 2019. Walker will distribute the ball to a bevy of scoring options including talented scorers Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who each averaged double-figures last season.
The Celtics have also boosted the frontcourt with center Enes Kanter, and the trades of players to and from Beantown may not be over yet.
My Current Futures Lean on the NBA
The Brooklyn Nets are an interesting futures market at (+2500) considering how dynamic the starting 5 could be in 2019-20.
But it’s hard to overlook the Lakers even at (+400). As the smoke clears on a roulette table of comings-and-goings in the NBA, it would appear that LeBron James has an even better cast assembled in SoCal than the group that helped produce conference and league titles in Cleveland.
Nets (+2500) at Sportsbetting.ag.