Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, right, tries to score next to Philadelphia 76 Joel Embiid ersa during the second half of the NBA basketball game on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has long said that he would like to get rid of the league divisions. A victory is worth nothing these days thanks to new play-off seedlings, other than a possible but unlikely draw. However, the COVID pandemic has certainly put the elimination of divisions in the background for a while.
The Brooklyn Nets of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden are the 240 favorites to win their first NBA title in July. Here's how many divisions doesn't matter: Brooklyn didn't even win the Atlantic, finishing behind Philadelphia with the Eastern Conference's highest seeding of + 700 to win the title.
Of course, only one team from a given league can advance to the NBA Finals at least until the league has potentially re-deployed teams 1-16 as well as reportedly finally on Silver's plate. The Atlantic of the Nets and Sixers network is +130 favorite to win the title, which makes sense considering one of the two teams is arguably winning in the East. The New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics are also the Atlantic team.
The Pacific Division appears to be the strongest
LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers is +450 Second favorite to repeat as champions, even though they will have to go through a pre-tournament first to get to the Western Conference playoffs. The Phoenix Suns won the Division Pacific, with the Los Angeles Clippers in second, the Lakers in third and the Golden State Warriors in fourth.
That the NBA champion is from the Pacific is +160 second favorite. There is no doubt that this is the strongest league group in the playoffs as the Lakers, Suns and Clippers are all capable of the championship. Golden State is not.
The Northwest Division is +500 on that requisite, which would be the Utah Jazz, who finished with the best NBA record and will have a home advantage throughout the Playoffs, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers match. The Northwest price would likely have been lower had the Nuggets not lost second top scorer Jamal Murray to a season-ending injury in mid-April.
Next is the Central Division at +900 which is Milwaukee Bucks Only - Indiana has played in a play-in but no shot. The Bucks ended up with the best NBA record in the previous two seasons but dropped out in the playoffs.
Finally, there's Southeast Division at +1800, which is Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat (a 2020 NBA finalist), and Southwest Division at +3000, which is realistically just the Dallas Mavericks.
There is also a state proposition with the NBA champion praises, and California is the +170 favorite among the states listed, followed by New York (+250), Florida (+3,000), Texas (+4,000), and then any state that is not on the list. leaves (+110). Players would get the likes of Nets, 76 ers, Jazz, Bucks and Suns on the latter option.