- BetOnline has updated playoff odds for the NBA’s Western Conference
- Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis give the Dallas Mavericks an outside shot at a postseason berth
- Both Zion Williamson and Gregg Popovich might not have enough talent around them to make the playoffs
Basketball fans, our long national nightmare is over. The era of NBA superteams is dead and there will seemingly be some competitive, unpredictable games played this spring.
In the perennially-stacked Western Conference, six franchises are viewed as viable title contenders: the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Warriors, Jazz, and Nuggets.
This leaves the Mavericks, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs and Trailblazers to duke it out for the last two playoff spots. Let’s examine the odds at BetOnline and place our bets on what fringe contenders will make and miss the postseason.
NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF ODDS
|Golden State Warriors||-370||+310|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-1500||+1000|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-450||+360|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+200||-240|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+450||-600|
|San Antonio Spurs||-200||+170|
Back not so long ago, Mark Cuban was on SportsCenter everyday for doing or saying something stupid. His sloppy attire and cocksure smirk made him a constant presence in all of our lives.
I only mention this because the billionaire Mavs owner might launch an Eddie Murphy-like comeback if Kristaps Porzingis’ preseason debut is any indication of how good he might still be.
This entrepreneur is hilarious? #SharkTank @mcuban pic.twitter.com/YFcH11ZDy6
— Shark Tank (@ABCSharkTank) October 7, 2019
After missing the last year-and-a-half with an ACL injury, the 7-foot-3 Latvian knocked down a pair of threes to open the game against the Pistons and finished with 18 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
Pairing the 24-year-old unicorn with the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, Luka Doncic, gives Dallas a shot to return to the dance after three years out of the postseason.
Given how painful this scenario would be for Knicks fans, I’m willing to place a small bet on the “Yes” (+190).
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Just when you thought the Zion Williamson hype train couldn’t possibly fit any more passengers, the Pelicans’ big man went out and scored 77 points on 80 percent shooting over the course of three preseason games.
While the 19-year-old looks like a can’t-miss generational prospect, it’s still hard to envision New Orleans making the postseason.
Zion Williamson enjoying more dominant rookie preseason campaign than Kevin Durant, LeBron James or anyone else in recent history https://t.co/RjuSIdrVLW pic.twitter.com/cdaApPVvVQ
— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) October 14, 2019
Keep in mind that LeBron James missed the playoffs in each of his first two campaigns, and that the Pelicans only reached the postseason in two of seven years with Anthony Davis.
Considering all the question marks still surrounding Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, I’m comfortable betting “No” (-240) on NOLA.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
In all likelihood, the Spurs will break the NBA record with their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance this season, but there’s a bit of value (+170) in betting against them.
Despite the return of young point guard Dejounte Murray, this isn’t exactly a team oozing with talent.
Gregg Popovich says Trump has “impotent and cowardly” approach to “authoritarian figures” https://t.co/87SXNJ4eSU
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 14, 2019
DeMar DeRozan enjoyed a strong first season in San Antonio, but if he or 34-year-old LaMarcus Aldridge were to miss significant time, the Spurs season could end about as well as The Alamo.
Despite having similar playoff odds as the Trailblazers, the Spurs have a much lower ceiling and floor than Portland, even with known miracle-worker Gregg Popovich drawing up the plays.