In the last decade, the Milwaukee Bucks have been the lowest-seeded team that went on to win the championship game of the NBA. They were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern conference before they got to the finals, and were the only team to not be in Seeds 1 or 2 for the last 9 championship finals, who went on to win big.
From all of this, you can deduce that there is a powerful link connecting postseason and normal season winnings, which makes sense. However, the track records of championship teams are a little more complicated.
Both the San Francisco Spurs and the Golden State Warriors proved this to be true in the 2014, 2015 and 2016-2017 season – although it is well remembered how the Warriors couldn’t keep it together in the Finals even though they were on a winning streak for the entire regular season in 2016.
Nonetheless, let’s look at the teams expected to make it to the finals, according to bookmakers across America as we are well into the NBA Finals race.
Top Five Contenders
Phoenix Suns (+430)
This team has the best record in the NBA currently (with a wide margin), and are proving that last season’s winning streak did not happen by mere chance. They make the top 3 easily when it comes to net rating and on either side of the ball, and bookies are taking notice when it comes to odds. The only downside is Chris Paul’s thumb injury, which could set the team back for the rest of the regular season – the time when they need to be at the top of their game.
Golden State Warriors (+440)
Hot on the heels of the Suns are the newer (but still the same) Warriors. Newer because they have support that is young and fresh, and still hold the second-best record at the NBA of 43-18. Not only do they still have arguably one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA, Klay Thompson, but power forward and center Draymond Green will be returning after his back injury. This means the team will be primed to be at full strength for the run.
Brooklyn Nets (+600)
The team’s status slipped a bit after they traded James Harden to the 76ers in exchange for Andre Drummond, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and picks. Simmons forms part of a lethal combination for the Nets, with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant bringing their skills to offense and Simmons doing his thing on defense. With Durant poised to return and Irving now being able to play home games (after New York living directives that kept him away), things are finally looking up for the team.
Milwaukee Bucks (+650)
Coming in fourth on the most current odds board, the Bucks are defending their championship status hard. They are still the East’s No. 5 seed and have their eye on June more than any other team. The problem is that they haven’t played with any consistency, which has made them vulnerable at times, not to mention missing center, Brook Lopez. But the good news is Lopez has been cleared and can return to the team after undergoing back surgery in December, so a huge part of the Bucks’ two-way identity will be around and the team can probably breathe a small sigh of relief.
Philadelphia 76ers (+700)
The saga surrounding Ben Simmons has taken up most of the team’s season so far, but it is finally at an end. Months of speculation by NBA media finally resulted in Philly acquiring James Harden and Paul Millsap, not to mention Joel Embiid who is most likely to win this season’s MVP. The transition for Harden has been seamless, and it’s evidenced in two massive wins for the team thus far.
It seems crazy to pick the Chicago Bulls (+2800) when they haven’t even seen hide nor hair of the playoffs for five years now. But this season’s team is composed of players that could go all the way, such as Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.