NBA 2015 Title Odds: Cavs emerge as favorites

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Updated: July 25, 2014

A few weeks removed from the entertaining chaos that was the initial wave of the NBA’s free agency period, it’s an ideal time to look at the odds for the 2015 championship and dissect them for value.

If you were sage enough to jump on the Cleveland Cavaliers before LeBron James decided to return back to the team he spurned in 2010, you very easily could be sitting with them at 50-1.  For everyone else though the Cavs are now sitting around 7-2, the favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy next season.  I realize Cleveland plays in the East and that LeBron easily makes them a 50 win squad, but it still seems like a bit of stretch considering what the Spurs did to the Heat last month.  Vegas might be banking on Kevin Love arriving to the team via trade.

San Antonio (9-2) retained all of their players, essentially running back the team that just won the title.  Getting out of the brutal Western Conference for a third consecutive year will be quite a challenge, especially with another year on the books for Duncan/Parker/Manu.  Coach Pop remains the best in the business however, and no team will be as deep as the Spurs.

I think the Bulls (13-2) will challenge the Cavs for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, but it once again depends on the health of D-Rose.  Rose has been snake bitten of late, and I truly hope he can remain healthy and get back to being the player he was just a few short years ago.  The addition of Pau Gasol to the frontline of Noah and Gibson provides the Bulls with arguably the deepest trio of “bigs” in the entire NBA.  If Coach Thibs can get this crew to the playoffs in once piece, they should be able to power their way to at least the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite losing Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons, and failing to land Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony, the Rockets (10-1) are still being considered one of the favorites.  Howard and Harden are great players, but overall this team might take a step back this season.  They seem primed for another first round exit unless they are able to make a move during the season to upgrade their roster.  Stay away.

The LeBron-less Heat might be a sneaky pickup at 25-1.  They brought back Bosh and Wade and have added Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts to a squad that will be motivated to prove they can win without LBJ.  I know everyone points to Wade and his health, but seeing if Bosh can perform as a max level player this year will be interesting to watch.  Can they get 20/10 out of him?  If so, I wouldn’t count Miami out in what is being called a wide open Eastern Conference.

My prime pick at the moment is the Thunder (13-2).  Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are gradually approaching the prime of their respective careers, and I have to believe that one of these years they will all be healthy in June and take that much anticipated next step.  Two years ago it was Westbrook going down, and this year Ibaka wasn’t 100%.  If players such as Jeremy Lamb and Percy Jones can continue develop into serviceable role players, I don’t see even the Spurs stopping OKC this year.

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