Updated: Jan 14
Only four teams remain in the contention for the Larry Brown Trophy. Unprecedented amount of ianjuries aside, these NBA playoffs have delivered from an entertainment stand point. Game 1 of the Western Conference finals is already behind us, but let’s break down each team’s title chances before we get any further:
Phoenix Suns (+140 to win NBA Title)
Over the weekend, we saw the Suns edge out the Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. In that game, we saw Devin Booker post of the first triple-double of his NBA career, regular season included. It was a huge performance from a young rising star. Still, the biggest story for Phoenix is the status of veteran point guard Chris Paul, who was forced to sit out of the game because of covid protocol. We like the Suns to get Paul back before it is too late, but time will tell.
Los Angeles Clippers (+800 to win NBA Title)
The Suns are not the only team remaining who are battling despite missing star players. Even for fans in Los Angeles, these Clippers have exceeded expectations since Kawhi Leonard went down with a knee injury during the previous round. Paul George has certainly stepped up in Kawhi’s absence and has done his best to quiet critics, but much credit also belongs to role plays Reggie Jackson and Terrence Mann, who have both stepped into bigger roles since the injury. Now, after the Clippers failed to reach an NBA Finals for six seasons with Chris Paul (and plenty more without him), they have to get through Paul to get there.
Milwaukee Bucks (+100 to win NBA Title)
It is very possible that the Bucks just defeated the best team in these playoffs when they beat the Nets in Game 7 on the road. This Milwaukee team is not a super team, but they have a superstar in two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and they largely enter the Eastern Conference as one of the more healthy teams. It will be interesting to watch this tough, defensive-minded team match up against a less talented offensive team than the one they just eliminated. If you can’t tell, we like the Bucks to advance. Giannis might just be able to justify his decision to stay in a small market.
Atlanta Hawks (+1100 to win NBA Title)
Wow. There is no better way to describe this Hawks run. The Hawks were not expected to win their first round matchup against the New York Knicks and they were certainly not expected to beat the Philadelphia 76ers. Trae Young has left his mark on these playoffs, but we will see if he can continue to play how he does against a very tough matchup against All-NBA Defensive First Team guard Jrue Holiday.
*Please do not mistake our opinions expressed here as our picks for this event. We will post all picks for this event and all games we play in the Game Picks section of the website.
**Odds accurate at time of posting