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2016-17 NBA Championship Futures Update

2016-17 NBA Championship Futures Update

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The Cavaliers and the Warriors are still the favorites, because it’ll be silly if they aren’t. Both teams were the best in their respective conferences last year, and they got even better this year.

This list wouldn’t be complete without a sleeper pick, though. So, read on!


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The Favorites

Cleveland Cavaliers (+240)

Now that the pressure of delivering a title is off, the big three is going nuts, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love each averaging 20-plus points per game.

The Cavs are also getting solid contributions from the supporting cast, particularly Channing Frye and Tristan Thompson. Frye is the team’s “Mr. Quality Minutes,” as he is chipping in 10.3 points and 2.4 threes per game on just 16.5 minutes of action, while Thompson is recording career-highs in rebounds (10.8), blocks (1.3), and field goal percentage (60.8).

Through those productions, the Cavs currently have an 18-5 card and are likely on their way to another dominating season in the East.

Key team stats this season:

  • 111.1 PPG – fourth in the league (league average is 104.2)
  • 13.5 threes made per game – second in the league (league average is 9.4)
  • 40-percent field goal percentage from three – second in the league (league average is 35.4 percent)

Key trends this season:

  • 6-3 on the road and 12-2 at home
  • Beaten the next four teams (Raptors, Hornets, Celtics, and Knicks) that are succeeding them in the East standings.
  • Have held five teams to shoot below 40-percent in a game this season.
  • Have made 10 or more threes in 21 of their 23 games this season (they made 20-plus three times).

Golden State Warriors (-170)

As expected, the ONLY super team in the league is entering every game with guns blazing, and they are toying with every team that come in unprepared – ask the Indiana Pacers, who have lost by 36 and 37 points in their two meetings with the Warriors this season.

The Dubs have done an excellent job of mixing 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant in their already-steady chemistry, which is turning the team into “scary good” level. Yes, he and Stephen Curry are still options 1A and 1B, but Klay Thompson, who’s arguably just their fourth best player – behind Durant, Curry, and emotional leader Draymond Green – just scored 60 points in 29 minutes. It’s a type of unselfishness that’s probably more impressive than their godlike offensive firepower.

Key team stats this season:

  • 117.8 PPG – first in the league (league average is 104.2)
  • 12 threes made per game – third in the league (league average is 9.4)
  • 49.5-percent total field goal percentage – first in the league (league average is 45 percent)
  • 56.1-percent field goal percentage from two – first in the league (league average is 49.3 percent)
  • 31 assists per game – first in the league (league average is 22.1)
  • Allows opponents to only shoot 43.3 percent from the field – first in the league
  • Average winning margin is 17.1 points – first in the league

Key trends this season:

  • Shot 50-percent or better 12 times
  • Shot 50-percent or better from three four times
  • Have held five teams to shoot below 40-percent in a game
  • Had 30 or more assists in 18 of their 26 games (40-plus twice)

HONORABLE MENTIONS (as favorites): San Antonio Spurs (+1,200), Los Angeles Clippers (+2,000)


Sleeper Pick

Houston Rockets (+3,500)

The Rockets’ personnel is tailor-made for Mike D’Antoni’s system. Hence, the adjustment period is faster than usual. James Harden is having insane stats (28.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 11.6 assists per game), and the team is topping the league in threes per contest.

With their effective quick-trigger offense, “Clutch City” has a certain win under their belt that only few teams have – a cardiac win over the mighty Warriors on the road (because we all know good the Dubs are in close games, especially in Oracle Arena).

The victory brought Harden and company into a new light, because if they can hang with the Warriors, they can hang with anyone in the league (if they execute things well enough).

The Rockets are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. They are third in the West with an 18-7 record.

Key team stats this season:

  • 14.2 threes made per game – first in the league (league average is 9.4).
  • 112 points per game – second in the league (league average is 104.2)
  • 24.8 assists per game – tied for second in the league with the Celtics (league average is 22.1)
  • 46.7-percent field goal percentage – second in the league (league average is 45 percent)
  • Only allows 40.8 rebounds per game – fewest in the league

Key trends this season:

  • Has 10 or more threes in 24 out of 25 games
  • Has scored 120 or more points seven times (second only to the Warriors, who have 12)
  • In the current winning streak, they are averaging 119.1 points, 26.6 assists, and 15 threes per game.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (as sleepers): Toronto Raptors (+3,500), Chicago Bulls (+3,000)

 

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JE
Written by JE

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