- The 2018-19 NBA season gets underway on October 16th with a pair of marquee matchups
- The Spurs have taken a tumble in our latest odds following a devastating injury to point guard Dejounte Murray
- The Timberwolves remain in limbo following Jimmy Butler’s surprising trade request
A lot has happened since we last updated our NBA Championship odds.
The Suns canned General Manager Ryan McDonough after five years of ineptitude. Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray tore his ACL in the preseason and could be lost for the year. And four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler demanded a trade from the Timberwolves.
We’ve taken all of these spicy new developments into account and have adjusted our odds for the 2018-19 season accordingly. We’ve also created fresh odds for the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year race that reflect some of the outstanding preseason performances we’ve seen from fleet-footed freshman Collin Sexton and first overall pick Deandre Ayton. Onto the numbers!
2019 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||Odds to Win the 2019 NBA Championship|
|Golden State Warriors||1/1|
|Los Angeles Lakers||20/1|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||40/1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||50/1|
|San Antonio Spurs||70/1|
|Portland Trail Blazers||70/1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||200/1|
|New York Knicks||300/1|
It should come as no surprise that the Golden State Warriors have the shortest odds to win the 2019 NBA Championship.
The biggest obstacle the defending champs had to overcome last season was complacency, but that should be less of an issue this year thanks to their acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins. The famously feisty All-Star has never reached the postseason and should imbue the team with a renewed sense of urgency. Life with Boogie won’t always be easy – or particularly pleasant – but Golden State needs his edge to keep things fresh.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 9, 2018
The Warriors are unlikely to falter, but if they do, the Celtics will be ready to pounce. Boston finished with the second best record in the Eastern Conference last season despite the fact that Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving combined to miss 103 games. Both players are healthy again and have shown promising signs that they’re rounding into form. Irving dropped 20 points in 29 minutes against the Hornets, and Hayward showed plenty of bounce in limited minutes against the Hornets and Cavs. At this point his biggest obstacle is mental, rather than physical, as he must convince himself he can play 100 miles an hour without crumpling into a heap.
I know being injured & returning from a bad ankle/leg injury. It will take Gordon Hayward at least a few months to begin looking like himself again. Until he is able to just read and react without thinking. Every single night. It’s a process. I feel for him. It’s what you do.☘️
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@rex_rexchapman) October 3, 2018
The real wildcard will be the Lakers, who bolstered their lineup this summer with LeBron James and the oddest cast of characters this side of The Expendables. Will LeBron commit to playing faster than ever at age 34? Will Kyle Kuzma be able to defend bigger, stronger fives in LA’s small ball lineups? Will Lance Stephenson wear out his welcome after his first month? At this point there are far more questions than answers, but it should be fascinating to watch it all unfold.
2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds
|Player||Odds to Win the 2019 Rookie of the Year Award|
|Deandre Ayton (Suns)||3/1|
|Collin Sexton (Cavs)||5/1|
|Luka Doncic (Mavs)||6/1|
|Trae Young (Hawks)||10/1|
|Kevin Knox (Knicks)||11/1|
|Marvin Bagley III (Kings)||12/1|
|Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies)||15/1|
|Wendell Carter Jr. (Bulls)||20/1|
|Miles Bridges (Hornets)||25/1|
Surprised to see Luka Doncic isn’t at the top of our list? Don’t be. The Slovenian sensation has looked a step slow against NBA competition and has needed a ton of space to get his shot off against opposing forwards. We knew his lack of athleticism would be an issue, but it’s been a revelation to see just how hard he has to work to create his own shots. Doncic is far from a bust, but he’s going to take his lumps during his rookie season as he adjusts to the speed and above-the-rim play of the American game.
Ben Simmons open-court defense on Luka Doncic. pic.twitter.com/yfbi9pUkWx
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) October 5, 2018
The real story thus far has been the lights-out play of Deandre Ayton, who has more than justified his high draft selection. The Suns centre is averaging 20.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in less than 30 minutes per game, and has been eating up far more experienced bigs inside thanks to his strength and outstanding footwork. His defense is still a work in progress, but Ayton should benefit greatly from the tutelage of former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, who has already taken him under his wing.
DeAndre Ayton showed flashes of why he was the No. 1 pick 💪
21 PTS, 15 REB, 3 BLK pic.twitter.com/pv7fIS5YIt
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) October 4, 2018
Don’t sleep on Cavs point guard Collin Sexton, who is already one of the five fastest players in the league. The Alabama product looked exceptional in back-to-back games against the Celtics, easily beating defenders to the tin and showcasing a sweet stroke from beyond the arc. George Hill will likely be Cleveland’s starter on Opening Night, but Sexton will have the job by the All-Star Break.