Updated Championship Odds for All 30 Teams, NBA Lockout Edition
The Dallas Mavericks were the best team in the NBA last year, but they're not the favorite to win the title in 2012 (at least not according to Vegas).
Assuming we have a 2011-12 season, here are the current Vegas odds of winning the title for each of the league's 30 teams.
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The Timberwolves would need a miracle the likes of which we haven't read about since the Old Testament to win the title next year.
The Pistons have been about as dysfunctional an NBA team as there is over the last few years.
The Raptors may not even be playoff contenders this year, but a young core of DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson and Andrea Bargnani is better than you think.
If the Wizards had gone with Kawhi Leonard and Kenneth Faried with their two first-round draft picks, I could see them in the playoffs in 2012.
John Wall needs more help.
Over the last year, the Jazz lost their two leading scorers (Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer) and a Hall of Fame coach (Jerry Sloan).
Somehow, they may have managed one of the quickest rebuildings we've ever seen. They have four lottery picks (Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks) from the last two years on the roster.
I legitimately think Jimmer Fredette can be a superstar in the NBA, but this will be a tough situation for him.
Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton (if he's re-signed) and John Salmons all like to have the ball a lot.
If the Suns do end up trading Steve Nash, they'll almost certainly join the group of teams with 200/1 championship odds.
Cleveland's odds surprise me a little bit. I think all three 200/1 teams (Minnesota, Detroit and Toronto) have more raw talent than Cleveland.
In my opinion, the odds for Kemba Walker winning Rookie of the Year are at least 10 times as great as his team's odds for winning the 2012 title.
Golden State Warriors
The Monta Ellis for Andre Iguodala trade rumors make more sense to me than any others I've heard.
If that deal went down, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them reach the playoffs.
Tyler Hansbrough is one of the most underrated players in the league. It would be a huge mistake for the Pacers to sign David West or Carl Landry instead of a shooting guard (they'd both take minutes from Hansbrough).
If they stay on the path they're on, they will show some improvement next season.
Brandon Jennings is a scoring point guard, and he played really well alongside a distributor in Luke Ridnour during his rookie season. For that reason, a starting backcourt of Jennings and Shaun Livingston makes a ton of sense to me (I know, I know, it won't happen).
I think a starting five of those two, Stephen Jackson, Drew Gooden and Andrew Bogut could back to the Bucks back to the playoffs.
New Jersey Nets
If we have a full NBA season next year and Deron Williams isn't in Turkey, the Nets could be one of the most exciting young teams in the league.
They need a small forward (sorry Travis Outlaw), but they're in pretty good shape at every other position. And with the best point guard in the league, everyone looks better.
Los Angeles Clippers
On the Warriors slide, I said the team would be a serious playoff contender if they landed Andre Iguodala. The same can be said for the Clippers.
A starting five of Mo Williams, Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan would be a ton of fun to watch, and they'd be effective too.
Iguodala is the second-best point forward in the league, and the other four fit perfectly around him (two great shooters and two great finishers at the rim).
The Rockets made some of the most inexplicable draft picks this year.
Marcus Morris didn't make sense because they already have Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes.
Chandler Parsons didn't make sense because they already have Chase Budinger.
I see them barely missing the playoffs once again.
Philadelphia has a solid young core in place, but we saw their lack of a go-to guy on offense against Miami in the playoffs.
Monta Ellis could solve that problem.
Trading Andre Iguodala for Ellis just makes so much sense for both teams.
As presently constituted, it's hard to see this team becoming more than what they've been over the last few years (the fourth or fifth-best team in the east).
New Orleans Hornets
This one absolutely blows me away. When I looked up Vegas's championship odds, New Orleans seemed way too high on the list.
Even with Chris Paul, they're not much better than several of the teams behind them.
The Pau Gasol trade wasn't that bad after all. The Grizzlies now have a complete and very deep team that is on the rise.
Portland Trail Blazers
The injury bug that has plagued the Blazers for the past few years has gone beyond being unbelievable.
If everyone can stay healthy, this team could be in great shape.
New York Knicks
The Knicks will be one of the most interesting teams to watch next year.
They have two legitimate No. 1 options on offense in Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, but no one to distribute the ball to them (Chauncey Billups is shoot-first).
Here is another team whose odds are a bit surprising (though I do think it makes sense to have them ahead of the Knicks).
They have a ton of cap room (more than any other team in the league) and some solid young talent on the roster in Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Arron Afflalo (assuming no one pries the restricted free agent away).
Orlando has to make some serious noise this year if they want Dwight Howard to stick around. The first (and easiest) move they need to make is moving Ryan Anderson into the starting lineup.
He averaged 17 points and nine rebounds per 36 minutes last year, and the only bench player with a better player efficiency rating was Lamar Odom (and he started over 30 games).
San Antonio Spurs
Even if the Spurs aren't able to move Richard Jefferson, Kawhi Leonard could be starting at small forward at some point during the season.
The way he loves to defend, rebound and always play hard will immediately endear him to Gregg Popovich.
Come on Vegas. You guys underestimated Dallas last year and look what happened.
If Caron Butler and Rodrigue Beaubois stay healthy, I actually think the Mavs could be better next year even without free-agents DeShawn Stevenson and J.J. Barea.
Considering the fact that they're playing in the Eastern Conference, it's kind of difficult for me to understand why the Celtics' odds are as good as the Mavericks'.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have a few issues to resolve before they can live up to these lofty expectations.
Someone needs to teach Russell Westbrook what it means to be a point guard. More importantly, someone in that organization needs to have the common sense to bench Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins.
Los Angeles Lakers
It should be very interesting to see how the Lakers look under Mike Brown.
Will Andrew Bynum become more of a focal point? What about Pau Gasol. Or will the team continue to live and die by Kobe Bryant.
It absolutely kills me to say it, but the Miami Heat have a great shot at winning the title next year.
If Pat Riley would just take over, move LeBron to point guard and have the team play the way his Showtime Lakers did, Miami would be unstoppable.