Dark Horse Picks To Win The 2016 NBA Championship
Most observers think that one of three teams will win the NBA title this year: Golden State, San Antonio or Cleveland. Because of the routs that Golden State delivered over both of those other teams (and to Chicago, just for good measure), there are some who are ready to ship the trophy to Oakland now. However, the playoff series still have to be played. That means that some of the other teams that are further down the online sportsbook odds sheet have a chance. Let’s talk about some of the other teams that have a shot at the title.
Top NBA Odds Dark Horses To Win The 2016 Championship
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 2, 2016
Oklahoma City Thunder (12/1)
The Thunder got off to a less than mediocre start to the season, but once Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were both finally healthy at the same time and the team started firing on all cylinders, the team has won at the same clip as some of the other elite teams in the league. The key flaw that the Thunder have is their inconsistent defense. They can score with the best, but there are times when they lose focus on the other end of the floor, and then they can’t get stops at the right time. So when they get locked into a seven-game series, when defense becomes a premium factor, their response in the early rounds will determine how far they can go.
L.A. Clippers (20/1)
One of the stranger facts of the season has been how hot the Clippers have been since losing one of their stars (Blake Griffin) to injury. He went down with a hamstring injury, and just before he was set to come back, he broke his hand in a fight with a team staffer, and he could miss two more months. Without Griffin, though, the team has gone 15-3 to rocket up the West standings. Reserves have carried the load, led by Jamal Crawford, and the Clippers have gained the consistency that they were missing early in the season. This team can be streaky on offense, and even with DeAndre Jordan in the middle they can be a little absent-minded with their rebounding, but this is a team that could surprise with a long run.
Chicago Bulls (20/1)
Jimmy Butler is emerging as the franchise’s highest-ceiling star since a young Michael Jordan came on the scene. It’s way too early to put Butler on that same level as far as a career goes, but he shows tons of promise and is getting better with each passing week. With Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah pounding the inside, the team is building a strong inside core but is giving up too many losses to other contending teams, at least at this point, to be a serious part of the conversation. If they can figure out how to shore up defense and get those stops, though, they could be a big player in the East. Remember — they gave the Cavs their toughest test in the East playoffs last year.