The biggest news in the NBA in the post-season was the acquisition of Kevin Durant by the Golden State Warriors. Durant left Oklahoma City after nine years, leaving the organization’s chances at a championship ravaged.
Many criticized Durant for joining a team that had just eliminated him from the playoffs, but this news has a huge impact on the world of NBA odds.
Just how big was his defection to the Warriors? Recently at Covers, the top sports betting information website on the Internet, it was estimated that the Warriors (who set an incredible regular season record of 73-9 in their 2015-16 season) are projected to win 66 games. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City is now projected to win just 45 games, mostly on the strength of Russell Westbrook’s explosive point production.
This is a full 10 games ahead of the 2016 NBA Champions, Cleveland, and the perennial powerhouse, San Antonio. Durant’s combination of height, speed, defensive acumen, and raw scoring ability (Durant averaged 28.2 points last season and has averaged 27.4 over a 641 game career) makes him a valuable addition to an already loaded Warriors team.
However, it’s fair to ask how well Durant will fit in with the Warriors offensive scheme. With the team focused heavily on the sharp-shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Durant may take a backseat to them or even the all-around skill of Draymond Green.
Perhaps Durant can be slotted in at center and play a multi-faceted threat to Warrior’s opponents, which includes mad skills in the paint, accurate mid-field shooting, and a reasonable three-point percentage.
So how do you bet the Warriors this year? Like last season, it’s probably always a good idea to bet on them, though your payout may be a bit low. Betting on teams who bested them last year (such as the Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers) isn’t a bad idea, as those teams have maintained most of the same personnel.
The wild card here is the addition of Durant. A player like that is impossible to ignore, but gauging his effect on the Warriors will have to wait until the season is in full swing. That’s when we’ll have a better idea of the exact odds that will affect each Warriors game.