June 09, 2018
With the 2017-18 NBA season in the books (congratulations to the Warriors on winning an impressive but inspiring championship over LeBron James and four other guys), the 2018-19 season pretty much starts right now.
We'll know in a month or so where James will play — and once he makes a decision the rest of the NBA world can figure itself out. For the record, the Sixers have a pretty good shot at getting James as far as Las Vegas oddsmakers go. Philly comes in as the fourth most likely team according to OddsShark.
Odds on what team LeBron James will be on next season (@betonline_ag):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) June 9, 2018
So is that the reason why the betting site, and countless others have the Sixers as one of the favorites to win it all next season?
Opening odds to win the 2018-19 NBA Championship (@LVSuperBook):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) June 9, 2018
The Warriors are no shockers to repeat after a sweep this finals and two of the last three titles in their trophy case. And after taking a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference Finals the Rockets are a formidable No. 2 with the confidence and knowledge from a successful year in the rearview.
With healthy, young superstars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric returning after a very impressive season the Sixers have a really potent core. Markelle Fultz who had half a redshirt year and has been fine tuning his dunking prowess (instead perhaps of his broken jump shot) could prove to be an addition of sorts, and the salary room to ink a max contract makes them one of the favorites in the East.
Quite interestingly, Philly has twice as good a chance — bookmakers predict — to win it all than the Celtics do. Fresh off an unexpected run to the Eastern Conference Finals where it took the Cavaliers to seven games, Boston will have its two best players back next year when Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward return from season-ending injuries.
Whether it's just a conspiratorial ploy by oddsmakers to try and profit from the Sixers' growing popularity or the earnest belief that the Sixers are going to be the best team in the conference by a wide margin next year is unsure. But the 7-1 odds on Boston do make them perhaps the best bet at this time.
Especially in the wake of the most recent Philadelphia sports melodrama — one that has the team searching for a brand new general manager as one of their biggest offseasons ever fast approaches.
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