- Boston (+375) and Milwaukee (+400) are the favorites to win the NBA title following their big offseason acquisitions
- Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets (+550) aim to become the first repeat champion since the 2018 Golden State Warriors
- The 2023-24 NBA Regular Season begins on Tuesday, Oct. 24th
After months of trying to get himself to Miami, Damian Lillard landed with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Oddsmakers immediately made Milwaukee the title favorite, but the Celtics surged ahead after acquiring former Buck Jrue Holliday just a few days later.
2024 NBA Championship
Milwaukee or Boston?
Milwaukee (+400) had the best record in basketball last season (58-24) before flaming out in the first round against Miami. Trading for Damian Lillard, who averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists last season, provides a big boost to an offense that was overly-reliant on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who posted 31.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 2022.
The only fly in the ointment is the man they swapped for Dame, Jrue Holliday, ended up landing with their biggest Eastern Conference rival in a separate deal just a few days later. Upon acquiring the veteran guard, Boston (+375) jumped slightly ahead of the Bucks as title favorites. It was a busy offseason for the Celtics, who also acquired Kristaps Porzingis earlier in the summer.
Damian Lillard believes that a pick & roll with him and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be unguardable
“I definitely thought about it and i just don’t know how you handle that”
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 2, 2023
Denver set to dominate?
Prior to the Lillard and Holliday acquisitions, Denver (+550) was the chalk pick to repeat in 2024. And barring injury, they should cruise through the Western Conference at the very least after only losing veteran Bruce Brown off their championship roster.
Nikola Jokic nearly averaged a triple-double in the postseason (30 points, 13.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists). At only 28 years old, the Serbian has already claimed two regular-season MVP awards, a ring and a NBA Finals MVP. Jamal Murray also proved to be a more-than-capable second banana throughout the Nuggets title run, averaging 26.1 points, 7.1 assists and 5.7 rebounds.
Suns really a contender?
Phoenix (+550) puzzlingly has the exact same odds as a Nuggets team that eliminated them from the playoffs in six games last May. While the club hired former Lakers coach Frank Vogel and dumped Chris Paul in favor of sharpshooter Bradley Beal, a lot is riding on Kevin Durant’s health. The 35-year-old has shown no ability to stay healthy in recent years – making the Suns an obvious stay away.
Jaylen Brown eager to join forces with Jrue Holliday: “He’s an assassin” https://t.co/ysJijRjE47
— WBZ Boston Sports (@wbzsports) October 2, 2023
Lakers and Warriors have no chance
Los Angeles (+1200) and Golden State (+1600) round out the top six, but it’s difficult to see 38-year-old LeBron James or 35-year-old Steph Curry winning their fifth championship. The Warriors brought in Hall of Fame guard Chris Paul, but lost Jordan Poole in the process. And the Lakers didn’t do much to bolster a club that was swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.
While Giannis and Lillard teaming up will be fun, the rest of the roster is thin compared to the Celtics’ roster. Still, we don’t think either Eastern Conference club did enough to knock off the Nuggets.
We’ll buy the dip and predict Denver to win their second-consecutive NBA championship.
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