- Lakers shorten title odds with draft-day trade to pick up Russell Westbrook
- Brooklyn Nets remain the betting favorite to win the championship
- Read below for the updated 2022 NBA Championship odds and best bets
The NBA Draft may have been the marquee, but it was the offstage actions of the Los Angeles Lakers that stole the spotlight on Thursday night.
After an injury-riddled campaign that resulted in an opening round flameout to the Phoenix Suns, LA reloaded by trading for Russell Westbrook, with Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers’ 22nd pick heading to the Wizards.
Washington is also sending second round picks the other way.
That has the Purple & Gold among the biggest movers in the NBA Championship odds. Let’s see who else bettered their fortunes on draft day.
2022 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+400|
|Golden State Warriors||+1000|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1800|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+8000|
|New York Knicks||+10000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+25000|
Odds as of July 29th at DraftKings
Fire Up the MotorCade
There wasn’t much doubt about this one — especially because a Woj bomb struck midday confirming the Pistons were going to take Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick.
New era in Detroit 🔥
— ESPN (@espn) July 30, 2021
That sets the franchise on the right track, with Detroit hoping Cunningham is the centerpiece of a core of youngsters that includes last year’s draft haul of forwards Saddiq Bey and center Isaiah Stewart. They also have promising guard Killian Hayes, and last year’s free agent prize Jerami Grant.
But it didn’t move the championship needle. Detroit still shares the worst title odds with the Magic, Cavaliers, Thunder and Rockets.
— SLAM University (@slam_university) July 30, 2021
Still, Houston fans should be excited to see an electric scorer step into the lineup in Jalen Green, who was chosen as the second pick. And Cleveland used the 3-pick to pair dynamic big Evan Mobley with the Darius Garland-Collin Sexton backcourt. It’s going to take some time, but these are good picks.
Philly, Phoenix Fading
Another team working the phone lines heavy leading up the draft was the Philadelphia 76ers. And we’ve got a monster set of memes with variations of people laughing uncontrollably or hanging up the phone show for it.
one hour until the nba draft! hearing the asking price for ben simmons is now kyle lowry, fred vanvleet, og anunoby, nav bhatia, 10 boxes of NN hats, auston matthews, the number four pick, and two osmow’s franchise locations
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) July 29, 2021
Darryl Morey was in full-on fleece mode, asking for every dish at the table. Philly was seeking rotation players and anywhere between 3-5 first round picks.
Not surprisingly, the 6-foot-10 Simmons, a defensive dynamo but a minus on the other end that can’t shoot and has a stunted offensive game had no takers Thursday. The Sixers ended up drafting Tennessee point guard Jaden Springer at 28, and dropping to +1600.
Sixers: We want Wiggins, Wiseman, the No. 7 & No. 14 pick, and two more future first round picks for Ben Simmons
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 29, 2021
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns are hoping this year’s draft doesn’t bite them as hard as last year.. Their 2020 lottery pick, 6-foot-10 big man Jalen Smith, couldn’t crack the Suns’ rotation all year. That wasn’t a problem until the Finals, when Dario Saric tore his ACL and Phoenix couldn’t spell Deandre Ayton against a bigger, stronger Bucks team.
Phoenix did try to address that obvious lack of size, choosing 6-foot-11 center Day’Ron Sharpe, but they also fell from +1300 championship odds to +1600.
Bay Area Bounceback
The Golden State Warriors were armed with two top-15 picks and expected to package that off to bolster a roster short on serviceable players, but nothing came to fruition. Instead, they used their choices on big wing Jonathan Kuminga at no. 7 and guard Moses Moody at 14.
No. 7 pick: Jonathan Kuminga (@warriors)
— SIS Hoops (@SIS_Hoops) July 30, 2021
Kuminga is a 6-foot-8 combo forward that plays with power and was talented enough to be mentioned as a potential first overall choice in this draft. Moody is an efficient scorer in the halfcourt and gives the Dubs another scoring element to support the Splash Brothers.
— Arkansas Razorback Basketball 🐗 (@RazorbackMBB) July 30, 2021
How this balancing act works should be interesting: Steph, Klay and Draymond are in their 30s and on the back end of their championship window. Andrew Wiggins bridges them, and then you’ve got these youngsters and last year’s second overall draft pick James Wiseman.
Oddsmakers seem to like the potential of this roster, shortening the Warriors’ odds from +1200 down to +1000.
What’s the Best Bet?
While there were some draft night surprises — starting with Toronto taking Scottie Barnes fourth, Memphis stretching at 10 to take Ziaire Williams and the Spurs going way off the board to pick up Josh Primo at 12 — the draft selections didn’t create a lot of movement in the title odds.
The Brooklyn Nets remain the favorite at +200, though the Lakers closed the gap from +525 down to +400 with the Russ pickup. The Lakers’ roster is desperate for shooting, but adding Westbrook’s competitiveness and shot creation is a plus. At 32, he must also know there are few title windows left in his career, and that motivation means something.
Russell Westbrook is the first MVP in NBA history to be traded in 3 straight offseasons! pic.twitter.com/WuHnXtKQen
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) July 30, 2021
If LA gets final-six-weeks-of-the-season Westbrook, the one who averaged 23 points, 14 assists and 13.5 rebounds, this could work.
If you’re looking for value, the sweet spot is right past the favorites with Golden State and Milwaukee. But sometimes, we overthink things. Assuming Durant, Harden and Kyrie are healthy, this is their chip to lose.
The pick: Nets (+200)