With football almost completely out of the way, the basketball season is ready to take control, and the NBA has a ton of interesting storylines heading into the trade deadline and beyond. We are about 4 months away from the NBA Finals, but we are over half way through the NBA regular season, and I think that we all think that we know the dynamics of how the season will play out by now. The NBA futures market is incredibly interesting because of one particular team.
The Golden State Warriors are -190 to win the Finals in most markets, which obviously makes everyone else’s number rather large. The biggest thing it does is make me think about hedge opportunities down the road, and there is one team in particular that I LOVE based on future potential. I am not opposed to betting the Warriors, but I likely wouldn’t do it until we see some sort of turmoil. Is there more drama, another losing spell, or a major injury? If so, I’m probably in unless it is to Steph Curry. I may still get in, but the line would really have to move if we knew he wouldn’t be around the rest of the year to make me interested. The Warriors line has increased significantly when people remembered the Boogie Cousins are really good at basketball, so I just believe that now is not the time.
How about we talk about some pretenders?
Thunder? NO. They’re not winning the NBA Finals because they are simply not deep enough and not good enough at shooting the basketball. I have always hounded on 3-point shooting when it comes to filling out my March Madness bracket because if the good shooting team gets hot, it may not matter which team is better. Now, in the NBA playoffs, you have 7 games, where that isn’t as much of a concern, but I don’t think they will beat these better shooting teams with less talent AND these more talented teams. It is just too much to ask.
Nuggets? I don’t think so. I LOVE the Nuggets, and I have been touting them like crazy for 2 years now, but they are not ready. They just don’t have the ability to win 4 straight series vs. teams of similar talent. I think the Nuggets play great basketball, but if they matchup vs. the Lakers or the Jazz in round one, are you confident? Then they face the Thunder, Warriors, and Raptors. I think they could beat ANY of them in a series, but I don’t believe that they can beat all of them.
Rockets? This is simply the same team with less talent, more injuries, and a year older. No thanks.
The East has 4 good teams that I want to see play each other, but I think they are all very sketchy from a futures perspective. Listen. Last season, the Cavs were +700 going into the Finals. Do you think that if any of these teams (Raptors, Celtics, Bucks, and 76ers) play the Warriors in the Finals coming off of two close series, they will be much different? I doubt that they will be of much different odds. Especially when I do not have a great read on any of thee teams getting out of the East anyways. If you want to take one because you think they are going to make it out of the East and you can then hedge on the Warriors -600, go ahead, but I don’t think there is a ton of value.
LeBron. LeBron is clearly the best futures play on the board. Let’s get into the details of how this can work.
At ANY point in time, the Lakers could shock the world and make a blockbuster trade. Do I think they will? No. Do I think that they are more likely than everyone else? Yes. Do I think that the Lakers trade would drastically change the futures market? Probably.
The Lakers are without LeBron, Rondo, and Lonzo right now. This is the buying point. Rondo comes back next game, LeBron comes back soon. This number is likely only going to get worse.
The hype train on the Lakers (LeBron) is something that could always pop up around playoff time, especially if they get a good draw.
We saw the Lakers knock off a Boogie-less Golden State team by 20+ in Oracle and it didn’t seem like a complete fluke. The Lakers have recently implemented drastic defensive measures that could make them much better than previously expected, as they have worked against elite teams recently.
What if LeBron James drops a 40-point triple double in Oracle in a game 1 win? I think this is very possible and I think the market explodes if that is the case.
We are looking to find value, not pick the most likely team to win the Finals, so keep that in mind when trying to tackle these futures.