LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are the betting favorites to win the 2021 NBA Championship. Photo from @LAPremierSports (Twitter).
- Los Angeles Lakers still betting favorite to win championship following the NBA Draft
- Golden State add Wiseman, but may have lost Klay Thompson to injury on same day
- Read below to our NBA Championship prediction
The 2020 NBA Draft has come and gone, with teams taking their best fliers on the players who are among the best commodities in the league. They’re young, inexpensive and, if they happen to be really good ball players, could help in the arms race in the NBA Championship odds.
No matter what any team did Wednesday night however, it didn’t change the dynamic up top, where it’s LeBron and the Lakers’ world, until someone up and takes it from them.
2021 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+300|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
|Golden State Warriors||+650|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+5000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+15000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+25000|
|New York Knicks||+50000|
Odds taken from BetMGM on November 18th
Los Angeles’ title odds actually shortened from +350 to +300, while the biggest move among the contenders also happened in the state of California.
Warriors Get Wiseman But Lose Klay?
On the same day Golden State chose 7-foot stud James Wiseman, the day was not an all-around hit, as reports surfaced just prior to draft time that all-star guard Klay Thompson had suffered a lower right leg injury in a pickup game.
“The fear” is that Klay Thompson has suffered a significant Achilles injury, per @ChrisBHaynes pic.twitter.com/WqjhaCPyfw
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 19, 2020
The Warriors released a statement saying they were aware, but it was too early to tell the severity of the injury. Tests are coming in the next few days, and that could likely derail a comeback year for the entire franchise.
Thompson missed all of last year recovering from a torn ACL, while Steph Curry broke his hand early in the season, logging just five games.
Steph Curry has a broken left hand!
He had 9 PTS (3-11 FG, 1-7 3PT) in 21 MINS before the injury.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 31, 2019
There was much speculation about what GState might do with the pick to beef up their roster to go ring chasing, but Thompson’s injury did likely sour those plans, as Andrew Wiggins, who many believed was the trade tax to get the second pick, will probably be more needed than he’s ever been.
JAMES WISEMAN TO GOLDEN STATE 🚨 @BigTicket_JW
GSW gets their BIG MAN 👀 pic.twitter.com/vOCLGWfVSQ
— Overtime (@overtime) November 19, 2020
Still the Warriors’ odds improved to +650, likely due to just the Wisemann pick. I’m still shocked he was entrenched as the second pick, with little to no fanfare about him going first overall.
He is everything in the prototype of the modern big man. He’s athletic, can get up and down the floor, and is expected to have the shooting range.
The 7-footer is also set up to be the anchor of the defense, with his ability to block shots and jumpstart some deadly fast break ops.
Denver Nails Draft Again
The Nuggets are the current masters of snatching top-end talent in positions of major value. They snagged Michael Porter Jr outside the top-10, and he’s on the path to potential all-stardom. Bol Bol was a flier in last year’s second round that could pan out.
With the No. 24 pick, the Pelicans take RJ Hampton ⭐️ @brhoops
RJ will be heading to the Nuggets pic.twitter.com/szjSW039Dq
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 19, 2020
This year, RJ Hampton fell to them at 24, when most believed his talent was within the lottery realm. Hampton spent last year in a New Zealand pro league and struggled, though scouts still believed in his talents. He’s a 6-foot-5 playmaking point that bypassed college hoops. He was once touted as one of the best high school hoopers on the planet.
Even if we are celebrating tonight, we have to congratulate the Denver Nuggets for a historic playoff run. And Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic for becoming some of the best young stars in the league. Please stand one more time, for Jamal Murray… the Comeback Kid. pic.twitter.com/3YQbl8ZsBs
— Buggy🍡 #BLM (@buggsyjones902) September 27, 2020
If he finds his footing, Denver will add another weapon to a roster that features star power in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. They’re on the fringe of the top 10 title odds, and could be moving fast. Taking a flier on a team with +2500 odds that made the final four last year? You could do much worse.
Contenders Dealing on Draft Day
One of the biggest concerns facing the Dallas Mavericks was the lack of toughness on their roster, leaving Luka Doncic to fend for himself while also being one of the best basketball players on the planet.
It’s worth noting that a year ago, Josh Richardson was traded for Jimmy Butler. It didn’t even seem that ridiculous at the time.
Curry is awesome. I’m not doubting that. But Richardson’s star fell because of a bad situation. Now he’s in a great one. This is a huge win for Dallas
— Samuel H. Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) November 19, 2020
Dallas took steps to fix that Wednesday, shipping out Seth Curry to Philly for Josh Richardson, a hard-nosed, two-way player that should slide into the rotation and give Rick Carlisle another plus option to play alongside Luka.
Philly was also busy prior to draft, sending Al Horford to the Thunder along with a pair of first round picks for Danny Green and Terence Feruson. Daryl Morey-led teams need to shoot, and adding Curry and Green makes real sense.
1. Eventually the NBA Draft will just be Sam Presti on a single camera deciding what order he’s picking everyone.
2. Feels like more coming for OKC.
3. God Bless Danny Green’s real estate agent – since 2018, he’s been in San Antonio, Toronto, LA, OKC (sorta) & now Philly https://t.co/2AJhVEnb3s
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 18, 2020
Meanwhile, Sam Presti and OKC continue to fill the cupboards with assets – they used one of their 18 first round picks available till 2027 today.
Finally, Brooklyn found another reliable piece to wrap around its current core, completing a three-way deal with the Clippers and Pistons that landed them the current best player in the deal in guard Landry Shamet. A regular on the Clips last year, he has plenty of practice finding his way among star-studded teammates.
Lakers Still Sitting Pretty
There’s a reason the Lakers saw their odds shorten: teams made moves all around them, but none could put together the kind of roster that has anyone believing LA is losing four out of seven to an opponent next year (barring injury, of course).
Schröder averaged 18.9 points, 4.0 assists + 3.6 rebounds for OKC, and led the NBA in bench points to finish 2nd in Sixth Man voting. He shot 46.9% from the field and 38.5% from 3, both career highs for the 6-year vet. https://t.co/84D78t4EMW
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 19, 2020
The LeBron-AD pairing is the best in hoops, and the Lakers already reloaded adding Dennis Schroder to the mix, a borderline all-star and Sixth Man of the Year candidate with the Thunder. He projects to be the third best player on the roster. And it doesn’t appear they are done roster shaping.
There’s still plenty of time in this NBA silly season, and stars moving remain a real possibility. But after this draft, no moves or picks put any real pressure on the Lakers. And the potential loss of Thompson for GState may have just weakened their toughest West test. They’re still easily the best bet.