The odds for an NBA team to win the 2013 NBA title according to Bovada on Friday, August 24, 2012 are shown below. I have only listed the 10 most likely teams.
Miami Heat – 2.25-to-1
Los Angeles Lakers – 2.5-to-1
Oklahoma Thunder – 5-to-1
Chicago Bulls – 12-to-1
San Antonio Spurs – 18-to-1
Boston Celtics – 22-to-1
Los Angeles Clippers – 22-to-1
Brooklyn Nets – 30-to-1
Dallas Mavericks – 30-to-1
Indiana Pacers – 30-to-1
The 2013 NBA title is a long way off, and a lot of things can happen between now and then. Regardless, as the odds show, I think the only teams in the hunt are the Heat, Lakers, and Thunder. Arguably, the Thunder don’t belong in the discussion. How have they improved? They have more experience, but I’m not sure the team is better this year over last year.
So, it’s a two-horse race – Heat vs. Lakers. The Lakers have changed so much with the addition of Nash and Howard. Maybe Nash is good enough to pull this team together immediately. If there are growing pains, you have to think that Howard and Gasol will be the fall guys. It won’t be Kobe, and I don’t see people piling on Nash. If Howard takes criticism, how will this guy respond? It could be ugly. Kobe is not an easy teammate, and Howard has shown that he fits the sullen big man stereotype. Maybe big men with just one year of college (or no college) before turning pro aren’t such a great idea.
The Heat have added Ray Allen. With a healthier Wade and Bosh and a willing supporting cast, this team looks great. The pairing of Wade and LeBron still has some kinks, but Wade at 100% should deflect the bad press he was taking in last year’s title run. I have to think that the Heat are rightfully the favorites for next year, and I think they should have more separation from the Lakers than Vegas predicts.
Regardless of who wins next year, we still have to slog through the weakest part of the NBA – the regular season.