- With the NBA Finals officially over and the Milwaukee Bucks crowned champions, we now look ahead to next season
- The opening championship odds are favoring the Brooklyn Nets to win in 2022
- See the odds for every team to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy next season by scrolling down below
The NBA Finals have come and gone, with the Milwaukee Bucks winning their first title in 50 years after Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 50 points in a decisive Game 6 on Tuesday night.
It was a thrilling series between the Bucks and Phoenix Suns, with both teams making a huge statement under the bright lights.
Now, we look ahead to the 2021-22 campaign, with the Nets, Lakers and now defending champion Bucks the top three favorites in the 2022 NBA Championship odds.
Opening 2022 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+450|
|Golden State Warriors||+1200|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+2000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+8000|
|New York Knicks||+10000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+25000|
Odds as of July 21st at DraftKings.
Can Brooklyn Stay Healthy?
The Nets entered the 2020-21 campaign as a heavy favorite to win the NBA Finals and then after trading for James Harden, it looked like there was no chance anyone in the Association would stop them.
Unfortunately, injuries plagued Brooklyn, with their big three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden all dealing with health problems throughout the course of the season.
Harden ended up playing through another hamstring injury in the conference semifinals against the Bucks, while Irving was absent for the last few games of that series with an ankle injury. That ultimately hurt the Nets, with Milwaukee ending their title aspirations in seven games.
By no surprise, Steve Nash’s team has the best championship odds for 2021-22, but it will all come down to the health of these three superstars. They played under 10 games together this past season which certainly hurt their chemistry when it came to the playoffs.
On paper, Brooklyn should be winning it all. This trio is ridiculously talented and Durant is arguably the purest scorer in the league right now. As for pieces around them, there isn’t a lot but, to be honest, they don’t need much. The ball is always going to be in one of their hands but having shooters like Joe Harris or Bruce Brown around is a massive plus as well.
It’s hard to imagine another campaign of the Big 3 all spending time on the shelf. I expect them to come back hungry and healthy. The +210 moneyline definitely offers value right now.
Lakers Need Third Star
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were also plagued by the injury bug last season. Both the King and Anthony Davis missed substantial time which resulted in LA falling to a No. 7 seed in the postseason after beating the Warriors in the Play-In Tournament.
AD and James both weren’t 100% in the playoffs either as they fell to the Phoenix Suns in six games. It was a shocking turn of events for the 2020 NBA champions and some changes will need to be made in the offseason in order to get back into contention.
Dennis Schroder was seen as a solid addition for the Lakers and while he did show relatively well in the regular season, he was extremely disappointing on the big stage. The German averaged just 14.3 points on 30% shooting from downtown against the Suns, including a goose egg in Game 5.
Los Angeles even offered him a lucrative four-year deal worth $84 million in February, but he turned it down because he wants to explore his opportunities in Free Agency. Schroder wasn’t the most well-liked figure by the Lakers faithful and given his poor play in the postseason, it does seem unlikely he will return.
With that being said, Frank Vogel’s squad needs to add more pieces around their two stars. LeBron isn’t getting any younger and the idea of him carrying the scoring load is slightly foolish. Sure, he’s still a game-changer, but they must bring in another proven scorer to contribute. Davis will likely be the No. 1 option offensively along with his dominance on the opposite end of the floor, but maybe signing a guy like Kyle Lowry who brings experience, scoring, and playmaking to the table could be valuable.
Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, and Derrick Rose are the likely candidates who fit the bill.
Who do you want to see in purple and gold, Lakers Nation? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/bGggurTqep
— LakeShow (@LakeShowCP) July 14, 2021
There are also several free agents to retain on the Lakers roster like Talen Horton-Tucker and Alex Caruso. The backcourt has to be strengthened and knowing LA, I’m sure they’ll get it done. Bron and AD will be coming back with a vengeance next season after a disappointing exit and as long as the team is active this summer, those +450 odds could really be worth a bet.
Are Suns or Bucks Worth a Bet?
The Phoenix Suns were really impressive in the playoffs, but if the Lakers were fully healthy, I have a hard time believing they would’ve beat them. The Denver Nuggets were also without their second-best player in Jamal Murray when the Suns swept Nikola Jokic and Co. in the conference semifinals.
Phoenix will be in the mix next season, there’s no doubt about it. Chris Paul will likely be back and Devin Booker will have a year of playoff experience under his belt. But, I don’t think they’re going to be in the Finals conversation again.
The Bucks, meanwhile, defied all odds and knocked off the depleted Nets in the conference semifinals then eventually beat the Suns in the NBA Finals. It was a magical year for Milwaukee, with Antetokounmpo finally winning a much-deserved ring.
The Milwaukee Bucks are CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!! pic.twitter.com/yB73gbUJyk
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 21, 2021
This team is extremely solid on both ends of the floor and even if Brooklyn was at full strength, the Bucks could’ve very well still eliminated them. The Greek Freak has a taste of championship glory now and he’ll be wanting more in 2021-22. At +800, Milwaukee may be worth a shot.
Don’t Sleep on the Warriors
Golden State is a team that can’t be slept on. Steph Curry is coming off a historic campaign where he won the scoring title, while Klay Thompson is set to return from an Achilles tear in the early stages of next season. James Wiseman has a respectable rookie year and is profiling to be a key piece of the future in the Bay Area. Draymond Green is a cog defensively and the heart of the Warriors.
With all these pieces intact, the Dubs should have no problems getting back to the playoffs. You also have to factor in that Golden State has the No. 7 and No. 14 overall picks in next week’s NBA Draft. More talent and depth coming in. Keep an eye on the Warriors.