Golden State’s five-year run as a title contender was derailed by injuries, as the Warriors fell short in the NBA Finals when Stephen Curry’s good look at a 3-pointer bounced off the rim Thursday night.
The toll the lower-body injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson took on the franchise’s future was apparent Friday morning when the Westgate sportsbook posted adjusted odds to win the 2020 NBA championship.
Golden State was a 14-1 choice after opening the last few seasons as prohibitive favorites, usually south of 3-1.
“Durant’s going to miss next year, and even if Thompson can come back, at minimum it would be after the All-Star break,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “What type of position would Golden State be in at that point with just Curry and (Draymond) Green? They’d be in a dogfight in the West just to be making the playoffs. I argued for going even higher than what we have. The counter is they could not resign one of them and allocate the money differently and something could change. We can just be a little bit more conservative until we know more.
“They definitely needed to be bumped up.”
At least one bettor hasn’t lost faith. The Westgate took a $10,000 bet Friday afternoon on the Warriors and dropped Golden State to 12-1.
They also moved the Lakers from 9-2 to 5-1 in corresponding move. While the Lakers missed the playoffs this season, a healthy LeBron James potentially being paired with Anthony Davis has Los Angeles as the surprise favorites to win the title on the odds board at the Westgate.
NBA free agency begins June 30 at 3 p.m.
“It’s been tough for the last few years to make these numbers this early,” Sherman said. “We have to make them based on the anticipated movement that’s out there and being reported and what people are looking to bet. You’d never find the Lakers and Clippers (6-1) at the numbers they are if you didn’t hear the rumors about Anthony Davis and Kawhi (Leonard). It’s just trying to be anticipatory about where guys might go.”
Sherman said the NBA futures market sees the most movement of the major sports during the offseason.
“Just because of what one player could mean to a team,” Sherman said. “You don’t see that in other sports. If we wanted to, we could put up NHL season point totals today. NFL wins and baseball wins you can put up early. You have to wait until after free agency to do NBA season-win totals. We’d have to be closing numbers and adjusting teams like five to eight wins all the time. It definitely has a lot more volatility than any other major sport.”
What happens with Davis is the key to much of how the rest of the landscape shakes out over the next couple months.
It’s also a big factor in how the numbers will move.
“We were lower on (the Pelicans) earlier waiting to see if there was a chance they could convince Anthony Davis to stay,” Sherman said. “That could have been a very competitive team if he was paired with Zion Williamson. Under the circumstances with Golden State, they could really be competitive. I think he’s passed that point with that team, so it just depends what kind of return they could get. We still raised them up to 60-1, but didn’t go too high like some of the teams in triple-digits. They could be competitive if they get more of a veteran piece back in the deal.”
Boston’s interest in Davis also could change the landscape, particularly if the Raptors lose Leonard and are no longer a favorite in the East.
“Boston being in the mix gives their odds some volatility,” Sherman said. “The Nets are interesting because of Kyrie leaning that way, but at this point with Durant out of the mix, let’s say it’s Kyrie Irving and Tobias Harris. I don’t see them as a title contender at that point. I don’t think there’d be too much fluctuation.
“The big things are where is Anthony Davis going to go and where is Kawhi going to go now that you’ve taken Durant and Thompson out of the equation. After that, we’ll see some small adjustments.”
Odds to win the 2020 NBA championship
Courtesy Westgate sports book
Los Angeles Lakers;5/1
Los Angeles Clippers;6/1
Golden State Warriors;12/1
Oklahoma City Thunder;16/1
New York Knicks;20/1
Portland Trail Blazers;25/1
San Antonio Spurs;50/1
New Orleans Pelicans;60/1