Three-peats are rare achievements that only the absolute, historically great teams accomplish. Back-to-back titles make you great; three in a row puts you in the ‘greatest of all-time territory”. Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers did it in the early 00’s, Michael Jordan’s Bulls did it in the 90’s—twice, for you youngster that don’t remember. And up until then no team had done it since the 60’s when Bill Russell’s Celtics won eight in a row. Throw in the Minneapolis Lakers in the 50’s and that your entire list—four teams. Most people are nonchalantly predicting Miami to win another title, but the feat is much hard than people are giving it credit for. The Heat were one missed shot away from losing Game 6 of the NBA Finals last season and having their three-peat hopes derailed. Let’s take a look at the early odds to win this season NBA title
Miami Heat: +200: Wining a third title is difficult, the motivation has to be there along with a little luck. The Heat even making the Finals is not a given this year in the much improved East.
Oklahoma City Thunder: +700: The Thunder will still be a very good regular season team without Russell Westbrook, but they playoff hopes will rest on just how good he will be upon his return. OKC doesn’t feel like a title team this year—it’s a subtle difference, but the team is just not the same without James Harden.
Chicago Bulls: +800: The Bulls may have looked bad opening night against the Miami Heat, but the team is built for the slower, defensive pace of the playoffs and can beat Miami in a seven game series. There +800 odds are showing an excellent price.
Los Angeles Clippers: +1200: The Spurs are still the toast of the Western Conference, but the Clippers have value at +1200. If Doc Rivers can get the team to buy into a defense-first concept, the team will have a real shot at winning its first title in franchise history.
Indiana Pacers: +1200: The Pacers are a very good team, and have even improved this season. But they are not better than the Miami Heat or any of the top teams that are expected to come out of the West.
San Antonio Spurs: +1200: The Spurs are the Spurs and win 55 games in their sleep every single season. The team is never the sexy pick but there is definite value on them winning a title at +1200 odds:
Brooklyn Nets: +1200: The Nets started off the season looking old and out of sync against the Cavs, but are another one of those teams that will not shine until the playoffs. They are probably not better than the Heat or any team that will come out of the West, but they will be a tough out in the playoffs.
Houston Rockets: +1200: Dwight Howard and the Rockets looked very good during their season debut, particularly with Howard grabbing 26 rebounds. The team has the size and defensive capabilities to win the West. However, the Rockets will only go as far James Harden takes them.