The wild NBA offseason continues with the latest news that Oklahoma City has traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. That puts two of the NBA’s most explosive scorers on the floor with Westbrook reuniting with former Thunder teammate James Harden.
This move was the latest in a number of blockbuster trades and free-agent signings that have shaken up the 2019-20 NBA top sportsbooks futures odds. And with those moves come some overreaction, which opens up value on some forgotten teams contending for their respective conference or even the NBA title.
Philadelphia 76ers (+225 to win East, +1,000 to win NBA title)
The Sixers lost Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat but their odds didn’t move much due to Kawhi Leonard leaving Toronto and heading back to the Western Conference. Only the Milwaukee Bucks are ahead of Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference futures and the 76ers have the depth and talent to compete with the Bucks.
Joel Embiid proved just how good he can be when healthy – and it’s pretty damn good – and is a sleeper to win NBA MVP at +1,200. With the Raptors sinking, Celtics retooling, and the Nets adding new faces, the Sixers have the edge in chemistry and consistency in the East.
Indiana Pacers (+1,000 to win East, +4,500 to win NBA title)
The Pacers won 48 games in 2018-19 despite losing their best player – Victor Oladipo – just before the All-Star break. Indiana will have the dynamic shooting guard back on the floor this coming season, and offered Oladipo a running mate in Malcolm Brogdon, who signed with the team from the Bucks this summer. Big man Domantas Sabonis is emerging as a star in Indiana as well, averaging 14 points and seven boards per game last season.
The Pacers boasted the best defense in the NBA last season, allowing only 104.7 points per game, and play in a weak Central Division with only Milwaukee to really fear. Indiana went 15-22 SU after Oladipo went down, showing some grit and adding some depth with extra minutes for key reserves. Don’t be surprised to see the Pacers start quick in 2019-20.
Golden State Warriors (+700 to win West, +1,200 to win NBA title)
With all of the upheaval in the Western Conference, somehow the Golden State Warriors found themselves forgotten about and pushed to the middle of the conference futures. A few things: yep, Kevin Durant abandoned ship for Brooklyn, but this team has won without him before. And yes, Klay Thompson won’t be back until after the All-Star break after injuring his knee in the finals.
However, the Warriors still have Stephen Curry: a Top-5 player in the league. And they still have Draymond Green, one of the best two-way talents in the NBA. Before losing KD to Brooklyn, Golden State swung a sign-and-trade to acquire D’Angelo Russell, who will help shoulder the scoring load until Thompson returns. The Warriors don’t care about the regular season – so bet their Under season win total – all that matters is the postseason. They will be ready to run through the conference come May.