The NBA Finals are still underway and we are waiting to see if it’ll be the Heat or the Spurs who can capture the championship in 2014. But for those who don’t support either Miami or San Antonio, that doesn’t mean that they can’t get excited, and potentially hopeful, at what could come next year. That’s right, the season isn’t even over yet, but we already have odds for the 2014-2015 season. Here is a look at the odds for winning the 2014-2015 NBA Championship, as well as some changes that teams could make to change their projected destiny.
2015 Championship Odds
The Miami Heat were the favorites when the 2013-2014 season started, which is where they sit going into next season as well. For a team that has played in the NBA Finals for three straight years, they are typically a good bet to return to the finals. However, the outcome of this years Finals could determine their potential moving forward. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are still under contract, but the Heat have other contracts that they’ll need to address in the offseason. Most noticeably, Mario Chalmers will be looking for a new contract, but his performance in the Finals could open a lot of eyes and create concerns for those looking for a floor general. There has also been plenty of commotion about the chances of Carmelo Anthony landing in South Beach, but that could depend on the willingness of the Big Three to reconstruct their contracts as they are now. The Heat sit at 5/2 odds to win the Championship in 2015, but don’t forget that Dwyane Wade is getting older and other players may be frustrated if they can’t finish things off in this years finals against the Spurs.
Speaking of Spurs, they’ll return with the second best odds at 8/1 favorites to win in 2015. Everyone keeps talking about the Spurs getting older, but that has hardly had an effect on their ability to make championship runs every year. The good news for Spurs fans is that Kawhi Leonard has stood out during the finals, leading the team in points in multiple games and also playing lock-down defense against LeBron James. It looks like there aren’t any concerns for Tim Duncan retiring after this year, but if he did that would change the landscape completely.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will make a run in 2014-2015 starting at 8/1 odds as well. Many fans will argue that if Serge Ibaka was healthy, the Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Thunder might’ve had a completely different outcome. That said, the Thunder will need to find an inside presence that isn’t so dependent on Ibaka being in the middle. Furthermore, the debate will still go on about the ability of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant being able to play together and who is the go-to guy on that team. Look for the Thunder to try and make some key pickups in the offseason to help them continue to compete with the best in the Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Clippers were on a run this season until issues started occurring with their owner in the front office. Next year they’ll start the season at 10/1 odds to win the NBA Championship and they may be one of the teams to keep a close eye on. Doc Rivers will now have another offseason to get his guys into shape and learn his playing style. And if Blake Griffin can make the same improvements this season as he had in the past, he is only going to get better and more dominate. Add that to the fact that he and Chris Paul are getting more familiar with one another and it’s easy to see why the Clippers could be a legit threat throughout the entire season next year.
The Pacers sit at 15/1 odds, but this might be a concern for many bettors out there. Sure, the Pacers led the Eastern Conference throughout the season and nabbed the top seed in the playoffs. However, the Pacers had an epic collapse towards the end of the season and were almost knocked out in the first round by the Hawks. On top of that, they didn’t give the Heat nearly the battle that many people expected. Keep an eye out to see what the Pacers do this offseason with Roy Hibbert, who was non-existent on multiple occasions during the playoffs.
The Chicago Bulls had one of the weirdest campaigns this past season. They started as favorites in the East, until Derrick Rose went down with yet another knee injury. After that, the Bulls started cleaning house and sent Luol Deng to the Cavs. However, Joakim Noah then started leading this team and they were able to go on a huge run and make the playoffs. That said, this looked more like a team that was built for the regular season, without the star power to win in the playoffs. Add Rose back into the mix and all of that could change. The question is, can Rose stay healthy? If he can, the Bulls will be able to compete in the East. But he certainly isn’t getting any younger and his knees are looking less and less stable as he progresses through his career. Like the Pacers, the Bulls sit at 15/1 for next seasons Championship odds.
The Rockets are currently listed at 20/1 odds for next year. But given that James Harden and Dwight Howard will have another year to work together, that could be a good sign for fans in Houston. Add the fact that Chandler Parsons really showed some progression this offseason and you have to consider him a legit contributor to the mix. Something that the Rockets may consider is brining in a player like Deng, who could also contribute as a wing player to spread the offense for Houston and get more attention off Harden and Howard. The Rockets have options this offseason and they could just be a piece or two away from being a dominate team in the Western Conference. After all, if it wasn’t for a buzzer beater from Portland’s Damien Lillard, the results for Houston in 2014 might’ve been much different.
The Splash Brothers in Golden State will be pleased to see that they are expected to finish among the top in the West with 30/1 odds. Stephan Curry proved that he is more than just a great shooter this past season, but also a floor general and team leader. Klay Thompson may not be as influential, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not equally as important to this squad. The biggest key for Golden State in 2014 could be to find a more reliable big man. Andrew Bogut is a former top pick, but he was too sporadic this past season. We’ll also have to see how new head coach Steve Kerr can help Curry and Thompson maximize their talents in Oakland.
The Portland Trail Blazers were expected to be good this past season, but they made a name for themselves with some runs that had them among the top teams in the Western Conference. Damien Lillard avoided any type of sophomore slump and just continued to build a name for himself as a leader of this squad. LaMarcus Aldridge also proved himself to be a beast in the post season, racking up 40-point games like it was just another day at the office. The Blazers currently sit at 32/1 odds and they likely need one more piece to add to the mix if they want to be considered a true threat. But with Aldridge and Lillard in the mix, they are a attractive destination for free agents this offseason.
The Washington Wizards have the fourth best odds in the Eastern Conference going into next season. That’s right. The Washington Wizards. That respect, and the hope that comes with it, has to be due to the fact that they looked impressive against the Pacers in the playoffs in 2014. John Wall is a beast, we know that. But Bradley Beal came on as a star in the playoffs and will be expected to be a major factor next year. The biggest question for the Wizards could be surrounding Marcin Gortat. By no means was Gortat considered a top big man during his time in Orlando. However, he was huge for the Wizards this past season and will be courted as one of the top free agents on the market. Washington has 32/1 odds next season and could be a team that has finally overcome the hurdles that has haunted this franchise for years. Be sure to check in with sportspicks.com handicappers throughout the offseason and all of next year to see how the Wizards do, as well as insight into the rest of the league.
Behind the Wizards is both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, who both sit at 50/1 odds in 2014-2015. The Nets were on fire after the New Year this past season, but they needed to in order to make up for how poorly they played when the season first started. The Nets were then bounced in the playoffs by the Heat in just five games. New Jersey has obvious concerns that they need to address and both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce could be a big part of the mix. The Knicks would’ve been happy just to make the playoffs in 2014, as Carmelo Anthony missed the postseason for the first time in his career. To try and right the ship, the Knicks brought in Phil Jackson to run things. After being denied by Steve Kerr, who opted for the Warriors job instead, the Knicks decided to bring in Derrick Fisher. This will be Fishers first head coaching job, so we’ll see what type of impact he has on the Knicks. Fans in New York may also want to be concerned with the growing discontentment of Carmelo Anthony, who knows he isn’t getting any younger and has yet to taste the success of an NBA Championship.
Also at 50/1 are the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Lakers and Pelicans. Grizzlies fans may feel a little slighted, especially knowing how well they match up against the top teams in the West. The Lakers are happy to just be in the conversation, considering the disastrous year they had this past season. Luckily for them, Kobe Bryant will be back and LA is an attractive choice for free agents. The Mavs have also been rumored as a hot spot for free agents, especially Carmelo Anthony. And the Pelicans will hope that Anthony Davis can continue to grow and improve.
At 60/1 is the Raptors, Cavaliers and Nuggets. The Raptors had a successful playoff run and DeMar DeRozan proved he’s a legit threat. The Cavs will have the top pick in the NBA Draft for the second straight year and fans in Cleveland will hope that they don’t blow it on yet another bust. The Nuggets will start their second year under Brian Shaw, while hoping that Danilo Gallinari can stay healthy, Ty Lawson can continue leading the team and Kenneth Faried will have the same success as he did in 2014.
Here are the remaining projections for next season:
75/1: Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks.
125/1: Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings.
250/1: Philadelphia 76ers.
300/1: Milwaukee Bucks.