If the oddsmakers are right the Golden State Warriors should have no problem repeating as NBA Champions. They are listed as 5-12 to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy as the regular season begins Tuesday.
They opened at 5-12. Cleveland is next at 4-1 with Boston at 10-1 and San Antonio, Houston and Oklahoma City at 16-1.
The defending titleholders will face Houston in the second game of opening night and are favored by 10 points. The over/under on the game is 230 ½ after opening at 232.
The first game will be the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is listed as questionable for the game with an ankle injury and the team is a 3 ½ point pick against their rivals. The over/under for the game is 212 ½, down from an opening 214.
Stronger Than Last Year
Warriors Coach Steve Kerr made a bold statement after the team’s Sunday practice and is one of the reasons they are the top pick to win the NBA Championship.
“This is probably the deepest team we’ve had,” he said. “I thought two years ago we were also really, really deep.”
This is a team that lost only one game in the run to the championship and Kerr pointed out that they have a more seasoned bench and the second string is impressive. They already had small forward Andre Iguodala and point guard Shaun Livingston, but added shooting guard Nick Young, small forward Omri Casspi and rookie power forward Jordan Bell.
They will be able to give a blow to the four all-stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson in the backcourt, small forward Kevin Durant and power forward Draymond Green that will take the court. Center Zaza Pachulia rounds out the starting five.
Can Anyone Beat Them?
In last year’s run to the title the Warriors went 16-1, sweeping Portland, Utah and San Antonio and winning the first three games against Cleveland in the best of seven series before dropping one to the Cavaliers and then taking the fifth game to win its second title in three years.
If no one could defeat them in the 2017 playoffs why would 2018 be any different? Especially since the Cavaliers lost their second best player in the offseason.
Kyrie Irving was the team’s second-leading scorer behind James, but the all star got tired of playing second fiddle and in July met with owner Dan Gilbert to request a trade. He was shipped to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder and center Ante Zizic.
The team had no choice but to trade Irving and they got the most they could in the deal, but questions remain about the overall health of Thomas, who suffered a hip injury. He is 28 years old and the earliest he will return to the team in January. They did add Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose.