Clippers and Lakers open with shortest odds to win NBA Championship

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October 11th, 2019

All roads to the NBA Finals lead through L.A.

The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers have claimed the shortest odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship following an offseason of unprecedented wheeling and dealing. The Clippers shot up the odds board by securing the services of two of the NBA's top 10 players in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, while the Lakers boosted their fortunes by landing Anthony Davis in a mega three-team trade that dramatically reshaped their roster.

The Staples Center co-residents are joined in the top five by the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors.

Odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship

TeamNBA Championship Odds
LA Clippers
LA Lakers
Milwaukee Bucks
Philadelphia 76ers
Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz
Boston Celtics
Toronto Raptors
Brooklyn Nets
*Odds do not include the Houston Rockets

The Clippers look legit

The Clippers put the NBA on notice last April when they nearly toppled the defending champion Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. It turns out that was only the beginning. Armed with Steve Ballmer's Mastercard, L.A. inked NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to a three-year, $103 million max deal and then fleeced the Oklahoma City Thunder for six-time All-Star Paul George. In terms of shocking developments, it ranked somewhere between the sinking of the Titanic and OJ's car chase.
The two stars join a rock solid nucleus featuring three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, professional pest Patrick Beverly and human jumping bean Montrezl Harrell. It's an enviable core, and one that could net the Clippers their first championship in franchise history.

The Lake Show is back

The Lakers were criticized for moving Heaven and Earth to acquire Davis, but the early results have been promising. The six-time All-Star has averaged 19 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 22 minutes per game in the preseason and has meshed well with James, both on and off the court.

The real question is whether L.A.'s shallow supporting cast is up to the task. Retreads like Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are both far past their prime and the Lakers will head into the season without DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his ACL, and Kyle Kuzma, who is still nursing a foot injury. This team will need a little luck and a whole lot of Icy Hot to make it through the season.

Don't overlook the Jazz

Few teams present better value than the Utah Jazz, who added point guard Mike Conley and sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic to a squad that won 50 games a season ago. Now in his 13th season, Conley may no longer possess the speed he flashed earlier in his career, but he's still  a heady ball handler who takes care of the rock and plays lockdown D. His presence should do wonders for emerging star Donovan Mitchell, who can slide back to his natural position and focus more on generating his own offense rather than creating for others. Bogdanovic, meanwhile, is a superb floor spacer who hit a career-high 42% of his threes last year in Indiana. Defenders will have to pick their poison when he shares the court with fellow gunner Joe Ingles.

The 2019-20 NBA season tips off on Tuesday, October 22 with a pair of marquee matchups featuring the New Orleans Pelicans taking on the Toronto Raptors and the Lakers battling the Clippers. Both games will be televised on TNT.

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