Despite an unpredictable 2020 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have earned their 18th NBA Championship. After securing their first playoff appearance since the 2012-13 season, this was a roster led by superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The supporting cast included veterans with playoff experience of their own, such as Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard.
With the NBA Finals behind us, which teams are most likely to find themselves holding up the trophy in 2021? Here, we discuss the five teams with the best odds:
Honorable Mentions: Miami Heat (+1450), Brooklyn Nets (+1500), Denver Nuggets (+2250)
5. Golden State Warriors (+1250)
With a season full of injuries, the Warriors quickly fell out of contention in a competitive Western Conference. However, during their dynasty run from 2015-19, they were difficult to slow down. During the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 seasons, they finished with the best offensive rating. In their 2018 outlier season, they were ranked as the third-best team in the league in that category.
While Kevin Durant being on the roster during his brief tenure tipped the scales, Golden State can still find a way to fill out their roster nicely. With a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the team is also holding onto the #2 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The West is better now than it was during the Warriors previous reign, but with practical expectations, this could be a roster that finds its way back to contender status.
4. Boston Celtics (+1000)
After reaching the Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons, the Celtics have reached Game 6 in two of those occasions. At full health, specifically with Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward, they could be a difficult organization to overthrow next season.
The team will have a similar look to their roster next season, which is more than other contending teams can say for themselves. In fact, Boston will have at least 14 of their 18 players returning at this time.
As a franchise with the third-best point differential (+6.3) last season, the Celtics are due for a breakout year in which they make it to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign.
3. Milwaukee Bucks (+600)
With a reigning back-to-back MVP in Giannis Anteokounmpo, it’s difficult not to side with the Bucks moving forward. With one more season under his current contract, the belief is that Milwaukee will go all-in on an NBA Championship run next season.
As the league’s leader in points scored (118.7) and rebounds (51.7) last season, Milwaukee will compete with a similar roster next season. If Anteokounmpo can remain on the floor, this is a roster that should be able to propel itself back into contention.
2. Los Angeles Clippers (+450)
After moving on from head coach Doc Rivers, the Los Angeles Clippers face uncertainty in regards to the future of their franchise. Their loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals makes them the 13th team in NBA history to lead a series 3-1 and then lose that advantage.
If the Clippers maintain their current roster, it’s practical for them to be in contention for their first NBA Championship in franchise history. At this time, both Marcus Morris and Montrez Harrell are projected to hit free agency.
In the previous regular season, Los Angeles was the third-best at rebounding and sixth-best when it came to accuracy from deep. With a similar formula, the Clippers will remain in the conversation as title favorites.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (+350)
As the reigning NBA Champions, the Lakers are rightfully the favorites to repeat. By doing so, they would become the 14th team in NBA history to win back-to-back titles; with the latest being the 2017-18 Golden State Warriors. For LeBron James, he accomplished this milestone from 2012-13 with the Miami Heat.
A large factor in the Lakers success moving forward will come from potentially re-signing Anthony Davis. Facing a $28.7 million player option for the upcoming season, most expect Davis will receive a lucrative payday before then.
The Lakers have other numerous players scheduled to hit free agency, and will be in a position to surround the likes of James and Davis with more veteran talent. However, the core of those two players has proven to be a winning formula already.