Given what went down in the bubble in last season’s playoffs, it was always going to be interesting to see how teams would adapt to continuing life playing in a pandemic, albeit this time outside the bubble. To this point in the season, we are seeing pretty much what we saw in the postseason last year, which is that some teams are adapting better than others to this set-up. We are closing in on about 30 games of the season in the books, which means that we are not even at the halfway point of the 72-game season. That, though, is more than enough for us to get a good look at the strengths and weaknesses of each team, which helps us get an idea of who might be competing for a championship. I am going to take a closer look at a pair of teams from each conference and then make my pick as the most likely to win it all. That being said, let’s jump right into action so you can continue planning your bets against their NBA Championship odds.
Who is most likely to win the 2021 NBA Finals?
It’s hard to look beyond the defending champions, especially since they have made another solid start to the season, sitting at 22-7 at the time of writing. They are going to be without the services of Anthony Davis until after the All-Star Game, so it is going to be interesting to see how they handle life without one of their best players. Given how strong the Western Conference looks this season, seeding may become a real issue, so the Lakers will be looking to hold their ground while playing without Davis. Any team that has LeBron in the lineup always has a chance.
While it is the Utah Jazz who are sitting atop the West right now, they don’t quite crack my top two from this conference. The Clippers are sitting down in the #3 slot right now, and while that might be a little lower than we expected, this is a team that has had to deal with injuries to their top players this season. They will, though, eventually get everyone back and ready to go, and if they gel quickly, the Clippers are a team that can make some noise.
The knock on the Milwaukee Bucks these past couple of seasons is that they have not been able to turn their regular season dominance into post season magic. They did get to the Eastern Conference Finals a couple of years ago, where they lost to the Toronto Raptors, the eventual winners, but they were bounced early last year and had a difficult time adapting to life in the bubble. They have been a little up and down this season, but perhaps struggling a little in the regular season will help them overcome things in the playoffs.
When the Nets went out and landed James Harden in a trade with the Rockets, one of the biggest questions was how he would mesh with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The fact of the matter is that we haven’t really received the answer yet, as separate issues with Irving and Durant has meant that these three haven’t been playing together that much. That will come, though, at which point, I think this team takes it up a notch. In my opinion, it is the Brooklyn Nets who are most likely to win the NBA Finals in 2021.