Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors on winning the 2021-22 NBA Championship! ...or whatever.
On to 2022-23
Using the odds from our friends over at DraftKings, the Phoenix Suns open at +900 to win the title next season — the 3rd-best overall odds and 6th team in the pecking order — so I’m assessing for you all whether that’s a good bet or not to invest in now, and whether or not the Suns are being disrespected among the top ten.
Below the Suns — 7 through 10:
The Denver Nuggets (+1500) and Miami Heat (+1400) don’t really scare me much at all to a point of even mentioning them, but the Memphis Grizzlies (+1400) and Philadelphia 76ers (+1400) both pose very real threats if things break right for them.
(The world revolves around) The Suns:
Frankly, it’s really hard to know just how real the Suns’ chances are until the Ayton situation is resolved in one way or the other. We’d like to think that guys like James Jones, Monty Williams, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul have earned the “perennial title contender” benefit of the doubt, but that just isn’t the case with the personnel uncertainty.
All this uncertainty means it may not be the smartest bet you’ll ever place, but +900 is good enough value for the optimistic degenerate bettors out there.
Ahead of the Suns — 5 through 1:
But there are two that seem downright unacceptable to me: Los Angeles Clippers (+600) and Brooklyn Nets (+600) seems to be doubling down on an on-paper recipe that never bears fruit for one reason or a thousand others.
If I told you even three years ago that Devin Booker would open the season tied with LeBron James in MVP odds, would you believe me?
They’re tied for 9th in the order at +2200. Pretty great value if you believe strongly in either one.
Ahead in the order:
The next two make a lot of sense; they just competed for a title too — Steph Curry (+1700) and Jayson Tatum (+1200).
The next two didn’t go quite as far in the playoffs, but they both carry a lot of weight as household names in this league: Kevin Durant (+1200) and Ja Morant (+1000).
The next three are the ones that finished ahead of Booker in MVP voting this past season: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+850), reigning MVP Nikola Jokic (+800), and Joel Embiid (+550).
The final favorite just hurts: Luka Doncic, sharing the odds with Embiid.
None of these feel necessarily disrespectful, and I’ll probably make the case that these ten are the top ten players in the NBA in whatever order you want to take it.
If I was making my own bets, I’d probably pick the Celtics to win the title and Embiid to win the MVP, but I’d also throw a bit on Booker for MVP just to have something to root for all season.