Kevin Durant playing on the Warriors is going to make the world of sports gambling a very interesting place next season.
The intriguing part about some of the hefty bets placed on the Warriors beginning this offseason was that a lot of them came before Durant announced his decision to join the Warriors.
The odds have since been adjusted according to that monumental decision due to the continued influx of funds, but the people who bet on the Warriors should be feeling very confident right about now.
Durant, Zaza Pachulia, David West, Patrick McCaw, and Damian Jones have been added. Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Marreese Speights, Festus Ezeli, Brandon Rush, and Leandro Barbosa have departed.
Critics who lament that significant depth has been lost are overreacting. Durant is a gigantic upgrade over Barnes.
As great of a defender and rim protector as Bogut is, Pachulia’s influence as an inside scorer, rebounder, and reliable free throw shooter makes him an upgrade at center when all things are considered.
David West is an upgrade over Marreese Speights. The main draw of Speights is his 18 ft. jumper, but West is a better shooter at that range. Plus he brings a defensive tenacity that Speights just didn’t have.
Rush was a solid piece, but didn’t play that much. Anybody overly concerned about him leaving needs to take a deep breath and put things in perspective.
Ezeli is a big loss, and hopefully Jones can be an adequate replacement. The same goes for McCaw with Barbosa.
Overall, this team is better than it was on July 3rd before Durant made his decision. Look at each transaction and it becomes objectively clear that at least from a talent perspective, it was a net positive change.
Team chemistry is a different story, and can’t be assessed until this team gets some time to play with one another. But as far as statistics and ability, this Warriors team is superior to last season’s.
The MGM sports book indicated that since Durant has joined the Warriors, three times more money had been placed on the Warriors to win the championship than any other team.
At most shops, the Warriors sit as 2-3 favorites to win the title next season. The next closest team is the Cleveland Cavaliers at 5-2.
What might be even more remarkable is that line that has been placed on the Warriors’ regular season win total. SuperBook is setting the line at 67.5 wins. Only 6 teams in NBA history have won at least 68 games in a regular season.
The basketball world has huge expectations for this Warriors team. It’s going to be fun to see if they can live up to these lofty predictions.