Western Conference NBA Futures
December 26, 2011
The Lakers may be a year older and minus their coach and sixth man from a season ago, but the Bodog.ca oddsmakers still have the tagged as a 9/4 favorite on the Western Conference futures.
The Lakers still boast plenty of star power in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, but they also have to contend with the loss of Lamar Odom and the retirement of Phil Jackson.
The biggest threats to the Lakers could be remaining animosity and anger over the rejected Chris Paul trade and injuries to injury-prone Bryant and Bynum.
While the Lakers scoring superstar may be starting to breakdown the Oklahoma City Thunder's big gun is just entering his prime. Kevin Durant and the Thunder are true contenders in the West and they're listed at 3/1 on the futures at Bodog.ca.
Durant can't do it alone and he won't have to with Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden also starting to blossom. If the Thunder can keep their young stars around they should be a force in the West for years.
What about the Mavericks? The defending NBA champs will be hard pressed to get out of the West again, let alone repeat as champs. Dirk Nowitzki remains of course as do Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, but none of them are young guys.
The addition of Lamar Odom could be a good one, because it also weakens the Lakers, but is it enough for the Mavs to make another run? The Bodog.ca oddsmakers are listed the Mavericks at 9/2.
The real wild card in the West this season could be the Los Angeles Clippers. The addition of Chris Paul sent the Clippers shooting up the odds an they landed at 5/1 on the Bodog.ca futures.
Paul and Blake Griffin should make up a terrifying duo, while the additions of Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler give the Clippers some nice veteran talent. But, is it enough to knock off the Lakers as new kings of Los Angeles?
LA Lakers 9/4
LA Clippers 5/1
San Antonio 18/1
Golden State 50/1
New Orleans 90/1