The Miami Heat and LeBron James have taken a lot of criticism in the media over the past week, but that has not affected their perception in Las Vegas. The Heat are a 5-2 favorite to win the NBA Championship in 2012. The Dallas Mavericks have been given 10-1 odds to defend their 2011 NBA title.
Many analysts were surprised the Heat came together quickly enough this year to make a run to the NBA Finals this season.
The Heat played well enough in the first four games to beat the Mavericks, but struggled to hold on to leads in the fourth quarter.
The Heat will still have the Big Three (LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) again next year, but it is unsure how the organization will adjust the rest of the roster for the 2012 season.
I'm sure these odds will change by the end of the offseason when some moves are made, especially if the Lakers find a way to acquire Orlando Magic forward Dwight Howard, which has been a trending topic in the NBA rumor mill.
For now though, I don't see a team better then the Heat going into next season. LeBron disappeared in the NBA Finals, but he will be back with a vengeance in the 2011-2012 season.
If Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem stay healthy next season, they will have the best starting lineup in the NBA. Mario Chalmers grew up big time in the postseason, which is a great sign for Miami.
Look for them to add a shot-blocker in the post this offseason.
Here are the odds for each team to win the NBA Championship in 2012 as of June 14, 2011:
1.) Miami Heat (5/2)
2.) Los Angeles Lakers (11/2)
3.) Chicago Bulls (6/1)
4.) Oklahoma City Thunder (8/1)
5.) Dallas Mavericks (10/1)
6.) Boston Celtics (12/1)
7.) San Antonio Spurs (20/1)
8.) Orlando Magic (22/1)
9.) New York Knicks (28/1)
10.) Portland Trail Blazers (30/1)
11.) Atlanta Hawks (40/1)
12.) Denver Nuggets (40/1)
13.) Memphis Grizzlies (40/1)
14.) New Orleans Hornets (45/1)
15.) Houston Rockets (50/1)
16.) Utah Jazz (60/1)
17.) New Jersey Nets (65/1)
18.) Philadelphia 76ers (65/1)
19.) Phoenix Suns (65/1)
20.) Charlotte Bobcats (75/1)
21.) Indiana Pacers (75/1)
22.) Los Angeles Clippers (75/1)
23.) Cleveland Cavaliers (100/1)
24.) Detroit Pistons (100/1)
25.) Golden State Warriors (100/1)
26.) Milwaukee Bucks (100/1)
27.) Minnesota Timberwolves (100/1)
28.) Sacramento Kings (100/1)
29.) Washington Wizards (100/1)
30.) Toronto Raptors (150/1)
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