Not much of a change to win the 2021 NBA championship since our last look at the odds as the Los Angeles Lakers are +220 favorites to repeat followed by the Brooklyn Nets at +300, Los Angeles Clippers are +400 and Milwaukee Bucks at +600. It would be a huge surprise if one of those four doesn’t win it all.
Update Championship | 2021 NBA Expert AnalysisThe Nets made a big statement on Tuesday (Feb. 2) by beating the Clippers 124-120 in a terrific game and potential Finals preview – neither franchise has won an NBA title and the Clippers have never even reached the NBA Finals.
Kevin Durant was brilliant with 28 points in 11-for-13 shooting along with nine rebounds. He also made all of his free throws and played good defense in Kawhi Leonard. It was the third straight game that Durant has made at least 11 shots, and he has 52/45/87 shooting splits while ranking second in the NBA in scoring.
Durant reached 500 points with the Nets in just 17 games. That is tied for the 2nd-fastest a player has reached 500 points with a team in NBA history. Only Wilt Chamberlain did it faster with the Warriors in 1959-60 (14 games).
James Harden returned from a one-game absence Tuesday and had a triple-double to the tune of 23 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists. Harden hit 7-of-15 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the line, finishing third on the team in scoring but first in the game with assists. Harden became the eighth player in NBA history to reach 50 career triple-doubles. He joins Oscar Robertson (181), Russell Westbrook (151), Magic Johnson (138), Jason Kidd (107), LeBron James (95), Wilt Chamberlain (78), and Larry Bird (59).
The Clippers will be just fine, though.
Today, let’s talk about one player who could truly shift the NBA futures odds by the March 25 Trade Deadline: Washington guard Bradley Beal, who leads the NBA in scoring and has become the first player with at least 25 points in each of his first 16 games of a season since Michael Jordan in 1988-89.
Even with Beal and Russell Westbrook – who, amazingly, has lost seven consecutive games when he has a triple-double, 2 longer than any other player in NBA history – the Wizards stink. And they aren’t going to be good anytime soon. Beal has looked clearly frustrated at times with all the losing but hasn’t demanded a trade – yet. Last week, Beal became the first player in NBA history to lose 10 straight games in which he scored 40 points.
When asked by a media member if he was frustrated with his team’s performance following a recent loss, Beal offered a simple response:“Is the sky blue?”
Beal is under contract through the 2021-22 season. He has a player option for the 2022-23 season that he could turn down in favor of free agency in 2022. Beal has so far expressed he wants to remain in Washington and has not indicated he prefers to be traded, but things can change very quickly in the NBA.
The Lakers don’t have enough to get him and neither do the Clippers or Nets or Bucks. But a team like Boston, Philadelphia, Denver or Utah could immediately become a threat to win it all by adding Beal. The general consensus is that Beal’s value is somewhere between what the Bucks gave up for Jrue Holiday and what the Nets paid for Harden. This offseason, Milwaukee shipped out two first-round picks and the right to swap two more first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans, along with Eric Bledsoe, to get Holiday. Brooklyn sent three first-round picks, Caris LeVert, and four first-round pick swaps to the Houston Rockets for Harden.
The Nuggets are set up well with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic leading the way. They are one of the best duos in the league and are off to a hot start once again, but they need a third star to get past the Lakers and Clippers. Denver would have to give up promising young forward Michael Porter Jr. in any package for Beal, however, and so far the team has put him off limits.
Golden State also has been mentioned as a possible landing spot with the Warriors building a package around rookie center and No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman and draft picks. Beal with Steph Curry would be frightening.
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