It’s been a crazy couple of weeks in the NBA as a champion was crowned, some major trades have already been agreed to and then there was the NBA Draft. We have a brief respite before free agency begins, so we decided to take a look at the updated futures for 2020 at FanDuel before frenzy gets underway.
Lakers The Early Favorite
NBA Championship Odds: +360
The Los Angeles Lakers have made the biggest splash so far this offseason even though in some ways, it technically hasn’t even begun. The Lakers acquired Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James, but they had to give up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
A trio of Davis, James and Kyle Kuzma is about as good of a threesome as there is in the Western Conference but the Lakers need more than that. Are they going to – or are they even able to – sign another max free agent? Are they going to sensibly fill out their roster with quality pieces?
It’s hard to have faith in this front office who not only messed up the timing of the Davis trade, which cost the team salary cap space, but has also blown money on players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, and Michael Beasley in recent seasons.
Still, according to FanDuel, the public has shown their faith with their bets. “FanDuel customers are all over the Lakers. The Los Angeles Lakers have received 27% of all bets in the NBA Championship Market.”
Who’s The Beast In The East?
The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship this season and could – if Kawhi Leonard re-signs – return virtually the same roster. If that’s the case, the team will probably be even stronger next season as players like Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and OG Anunoby improve. However, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks who are favored to win the East.
The Bucks won 60 games last season – the most in the NBA – and the Philadelphia 76ers went toe-to-toe with the Raptors. While the Bucks are at +550 to win the title and the 76ers are at +1100, those two teams have a lot of work to do this offseason.
The Bucks have to figure how they can fit Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez, and Nikola Mirotic under the cap. That’ll be challenging – especially since Middleton is expecting a max contract. Meanwhile, the 76ers just saw Jimmy Butler opt out and have to figure what to do with free agents Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick. They’ll also be in tight in terms of the salary cap.
If the Raptors re-sign Leonard, don’t be surprised if their odds shorten. They’re currently at +700.
Value With Jazz, Rockets Or Nuggets?
Until the Lakers round out their roster, there’s going to be some value with several of the longer shots in the Western Conference. We simply don’t know whether the Lakers are going to make sloppy moves or find the few good players that they need.
If it’s the former, teams like the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets could offer good value. The Jazz, who are +2400, just acquired Mike Conley Jr. to add to a squad that won 50 games last season. As for the Houston Rockets, they are at +850. The only team that’s been able to stop them in recent season has been the Golden State Warriors but they’ve been decimated by injury. If the chemistry issues are not as reported, Houston could have a real shot.
Lastly, the Denver Nuggets are really flying under the radar and are priced at +1600. This team won 54 games last season – the second most in the Western Conference – and should be even better in 2019. They were a young team that experienced a growth spurt and a lot of their young stars like Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic should be better for the experience. And keep in mind that they’ll add Michael Porter Jr. to the roster. If he’s as good as the front office has been saying, he could be the final piece to their puzzle.
Keep in mind that a lot of the futures are set to change quite a bit. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and many other big names are set to be free agents, so their decisions will change the landscape of the league and the odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship.