- Bovada and BetOnline have updated 2021 NBA Championship odds following James Harden’s trade to the Nets
- With Harden once again team up with Kevin Durant, Brooklyn’s odds to win the title (+300) trail only the Lakers (+250)
- LeBron James’ points, rebounds, and assists per 36 minutes are all above his career averages through 14 games
James Harden became the first NBA player in history to record a 30-point triple-double in his team debut, dropping 32 points, 14 assists, and 12 rebounds in the Nets’ 122-115 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.
Following his trade from Houston, Brooklyn’s NBA championship odds surged to +300, only behind the favored Lakers. Let’s check out the updated board and discuss our best bets.
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2021 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
THE BEARD’S IN BROOKLYN
Listed at +650 before the season, oddsmakers shortened the Nets’ title odds (+300) by more than half following the Harden acquisition. The Beard is receiving the usual criticism from Shaq and Charles for forcing his way off the Rockets and many are wondering why Kevin Durant wants to play on another superteam so soon after leaving Golden State.
There are also valid concerns with team chemistry – is one ball enough for Harden, KD and Kyrie? Will Irving ever show up to work? Do the Nets have enough defense after shipping away center Jarrett Allen in the deal?
IM 36!!!!! IM 36!!!! STOP THROWING THE BALL ????????? https://t.co/KkU32nQVKU
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 14, 2021
Even with all these questions, Brooklyn clearly made the right move in mortgaging the future to acquire Harden as it was their one-and-only path to a championship. And, just like everyone quickly forgave and forgot about Anthony Davis extricating himself from New Orleans, people will soon laugh about Harden’s brilliant “eat his way out of Houston” strategy.
Having failed in the playoffs, again and again, the 31-year-old guard is ready to play second-banana to Durant so don’t expect any “who’s taking the last shot?” issues to plague the Nets come playoff time.
And while Kyrie’s headspace is always a concern, Harden’s addition gives Brooklyn some breathing space talent-wise to survive a round in the postseason should Irving go AWOL. Then, if the flat-earther is ready to rock and roll by the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s hard to see Milwaukee, Boston, or Philadelphia defeating them.
LAKERS STILL THE FAVORITE
LeBron James capturing his fifth NBA title is no longer the layup it seemed at the start of the season, but the Lakers (+250) are still in a great spot. After playing his whole career in a pathetic Eastern Conference, the King has seen the West crumble at his footsteps, leaving the Clippers as his only plausible challenger.
Los Angeles has the best record in the NBA (11-3) through 14 games with both James and Anthony Davis playing career-low minutes that should keep them fresh for the postseason. More importantly, LeBron is still in peak form at age 36, with his points, rebounds and assists per 36 minutes all above his career averages
James Harden says he’s “An elite player, an elite teammate, an elite leader and just a guy that’s willing to do whatever it takes to rack up as many wins as we can.” pic.twitter.com/S2s4hcgAtc
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 15, 2021
The question now of course is whether a Big Three of Durant, Harden and Irving are enough to topple a Big Two of LeBron and Davis? After facing depth concerns all of last season, the Purple & Gold have bolstered their surrounding talent with 2020 Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell and runner-up Dennis Schröder, as well as center Marc Gasol.
If anything, the 2021 Lakers are better than the version that won a championship in the bubble and they have a definite bench advantage over Brooklyn at the moment, but the Nets should be extremely active on the buyout market.
Right now, we still prefer Los Angeles as a title bet, but we’re buying Brooklyn as the top threat to steal LeBron’s crown.
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