NBA Futures Predictions
If the NBA is a league of parity, we’re specifically talking about the Western Conference. Last year saw this segment of the league be as competitive as we can remember in recent history, and the 2015-16 season shouldn’t be any different.
Can the Golden State Warriors make it two years in a row crowning themselves Western Conference Champs? Will the new-look San Antonio Spurs give them a run for their money?
Here’s a look at which teams you should be keeping an eye on in the Western Conference.
San Antonio Spurs (NBA Odds +200)
The Warriors may be the league’s defending champions, but the San Antonio Spurs have moved into first place out West as far as Vegas is concerned.
Although Golden State deserves credit for its run last season, San Antonio deserves just as much credit for what it was able to do this offseason. Not only did it convince LaMarcus Aldridge to leave a ton of money and an extra year on the table to join its squad, but it grabbed David West for the veterans minimum as well.
Combine that with the fact that it extended Kawhi Leonard, retained Danny Green and gets back Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili (who were both considering retiring), and it’s no shocker this group falls into the category of ‘favorites’ at this point in the process.
Golden State Warriors (NBA Odds +300)
The Warriors have one thing going against them, and it’s one thing that requires an explanation. They were able to escape last year’s championship season without injury, and that’s only a bad thing because now they have no idea if they can find the same level of success while facing adversity.
Although this is a good problem to have, it does make you wonder. What can this group do if Steph Curry’s ankles start acting up again? What if the depth that it was known for takes a hit at any position during the year?
Speculating about that at this stage in the game is fair, but you must also realize this group is here for a reason. The only significant piece gone from last year’s roster is David Lee, and he hardly played at all when it mattered most. Consider Golden State a favorite behind San Antonio — or if you’re feeling bold (sort of), put them in your No. 1 slot before the year begins.
Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA Odds +450)
Unlike the Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder experienced significant injuries last season. Consider that the only reason this group missed the postseason.
In 2015-16, assuming Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook stay healthy, this group is going to be right up there with San Antonio and Golden State. This team is a perennial contender when the injury bug isn’t biting, and bettors around the league need to remember that.
Los Angeles Clippers (NBA Odds +600)
The Los Angeles Clippers were almost the big losers of the NBA offseason, but then DeAndre Jordan announced he’d be re-signing with the only squad he’s ever played for (and not the Dallas Mavericks), and the world was right again for the Clips.
Not only did L.A. avoid losing Jordan, but it added Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Paul Pierce to the rotation. There’s a good chance this team isn’t done making moves just yet, as ridding the backcourt of Jamal Crawford for an extra backup center would balance things out quite a bit.
Houston Rockets (NBA Odds +900)
Following the Houston Rockets’ series loss to Golden State in the Western Conference Championship, James Harden expressed his desire to acquire an extra playmaker. So what did Clutch City do? It got him a playmaker.
This team has taken a chance on trading for Ty Lawson, who has proved to be something of an off-court distraction as of late. If he can stay in the news for the right reasons, he, Harden and Dwight Howard will be legitimate threats out West.
Full 2016 Western Conference Championship Gambling Odds
- San Antonio Spurs (+200)
- Golden State Warriors (+300)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+450)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+600)
- Houston Rockets (+900)
- Memphis Grizzlies (+1600)
- New Orleans Pelicans (+2000)
- Dallas Mavericks (+2800)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+5000)
- Phoenix Suns (+5000)
- Portland Trail Blazers (+5000)
- Utah Jazz (+5000)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (+7500)
- Denver Nuggets (+12500)
- Sacramento Kings (+12500)
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