Published on October 5, 2019 by Connor Wolf  

The 2019 NBA offseason might just have been the craziest in league history.  Stars were traded, big name free agents selected their destinations, and rosters were completely shaken up.  Now that all the dust has settled, where does everyone land?  NBA fans and analysts are looking to answer who won big in free agency, what teams lost out, and which team looks like the next NBA Finals champion.

This article will first provide a table with the Vegas odds for each NBA team’s chance of winning the 2020 championship.  This table will demonstrate which teams made the biggest jumps, and which teams fell the most, over the summer. 

The article will then continue with a list of the top ten teams with the best odds of winning it all next season.  How each team performed last season and what players each team lost and added this summer will give context as to the current roster of each team.  From these, and statistical analysis, conclusions about each championship-contending team can be drawn.

Lastly, I will give my predictions for each team in the upcoming 2020 NBA season.

Vegas Odds To Win 2020 NBA Finals

The table below shows the Vegas odds of winning the 2020 NBA Finals for each NBA team on May 28, 2019 and July 17, 2019.  These two dates show the difference in expectation for each team before the free agency period started and now that it has ended.  The numbers in the table below represent how much someone would win if they bet $100 on each given team.  This means that the lower the number in the table, the higher the team’s odds are of winning the championship.

Vegas Odds to Win 2020 NBA Finals

Largest Jumps:  Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, 76ers, Jazz, Heat
Largest Falls:  Warriors, Celtics, Thunder, Knicks

East

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (+650)
    2018-19 Finish:  1st in East, 60-22, Lost in Eastern Conference Finals
    Key Losses:  G Malcolm Brogdon, F Nikola Mirotic
    Key Additions:  C Robin Lopez, G Wesley Matthews
    2020 Outlook:  With the exception of Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks resigned most of their core and picked up Robin Lopez as a backup center.  Giannis Antetokounmpo will have his eyes set on another MVP title.  Will he have enough help?  I project the Bucks to go 58-24 this season, losing to the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  1. Philadelphia 76ers (+950)
    2018-19 Finish:  3rd in East, 51-31, Lost in Eastern Conference Semis
    Key Losses:  F Jimmy Butler, G JJ Redick, G TJ McConnell
    Key Additions:  G Josh Richardson, C Al Horford
    2020 Outlook:  Losing Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick seems like a big hit, but replacing them with guys like Josh Richardson and Al Horford makes the pain a little easier.  The 76ers still have the most talented starting lineup in the East, led by Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.  I think Philly will overcome last season’s heartbreak and make the NBA Finals in 2020.  I project them to go 55-27 in the regular season, but lose in the championship to the Clippers.
  1. Boston Celtics (+2300)
    2018-19 Finish:  4th in East, 49-33, Lost in Eastern Conference Semis
    Key Losses:  G Kyrie Irving, G Terry Rozier, C Al Horford, F Marcus Morris
    Key Additions:  G Kemba Walker, C Enes Kanter, F Romeo Langford, G Carsen Edwards, F Grant Williams
    2020 Outlook:  Boston is another team that has lost a lot since the end of last season.  Their roster will be completely restructured, yet still provide hope to the Celtic faithful.  Kemba Walker will be a star in the green and white, and he is surrounded by young talent.  Although I expect Kemba to have a standout season, I think inexperience will cripple the Celtics.  I project they will finish the regular season at 47-35.
  1. Brooklyn Nets (+2300)
    2018-19 Finish:  6th in East, 42-40, Lost in First Round
    Key Losses:  G D’Angelo Russell, F DeMarre Carroll, C Ed Davis, G Allen Crabbe
    Key Additions:  G Kyrie Irving, F Kevin Durant, C DeAndre Jordan, F Wilson Chandler
    2020 Outlook:  The Nets had a busy offseason resulting in almost a completely new roster.  And that’s not a bad thing.  They lost a young star in D’Angelo Russell and a lot of key role players, but what they got in return was unmatched.  The additions of three stars like Kyrie, KD, and DeAndre Jordan, all in one offseason, is something to be amazed at.  Obviously the Nets won’t hit their full potential until Durant is back to full health, but I think they still have a good squad.  I project them to finish the regular season at 48-34.

West

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (+330)
    2018-19 Finish:  8th in West, 48-34, Lost in First Round
    Key Losses:  F Danilo Gallinari, G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    Key Additions:  F Kawhi Leonard, F Paul George, F Maurice Harkless
    2020 Outlook:  The Clippers were simply the biggest winners this offseason.  A 2019 playoff team added two of the top-ten players in the league, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, without sacrificing too much of their existing roster.  The Clippers will hands-down be the best defensive team in the NBA, led by returning lockdown defenders Pat Beverly and Montrezl Harrell.  The Clippers are my early pick to go all the way, finishing the season at 62-20 and winning the NBA Finals.
  1. Los Angeles Lakers (+480)
    2018-19 Finish:  10th in West, 37-45, Missed Playoffs
    Key Losses:  G Lonzo Ball, G Josh Hart, F Brandon Ingram
    Key Additions:  F Anthony Davis, C DeMarcus Cousins, G Danny Green, G Avery Bradley, G Quinn Cook
    2020 Outlook:  The Lakers took part in the biggest trade this offseason when they sent most of their young core packing for Anthony Davis.  Losing so much young talent hurts, but it’s clear the Lakers are going all out for a ring in 2020.  The core of Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Kyle Kuzma is among the best in the league.  They also are surrounded by veterans with experience like DeMarcus Cousins and Danny Green.  I project the Lakers to go 58-24 this season, losing to the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals.
  1. Houston Rockets (+750)
    2018-19 Finish:  4th in West, 53-29, Lost in Western Conference Semis
    Key Losses:  G Chris Paul
    Key Additions:  G Russell Westbrook
    2020 Outlook:  The Rockets haven’t changed too much since last season.  They resigned the main portion of their core and will still be led by perennial MVP-candidate James Harden.  Except for one thing, they traded out Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.  This trade brings more energy, youth, excitement, and chemistry to the Rocket backcourt.  I project the Rockets to go 60-22 next season.
  1. Golden State Warriors (+1500)
    2018-19 Finish:  1st in West, 57-25, Lost in NBA Finals
    Key Losses:  F Kevin Durant, F Andre Igoudala, C DeMarcus Cousins, G Shaun Livingston, F Jordan Bell, G Quinn Cook
    Key Additions:  G D’Angelo Russell, C Willie Cauley-Stein, F Glenn Robinson III, G Jordan Poole
    2020 Outlook:  No team lost more this offseason than the Golden State Warriors.  But no team had more to lose.  While the Warriors will miss Durant, Igoudala, Cousins, and Livingston, their core of Curry, Klay, and Dray remains intact.  Factor that in with the addition of rising star D’Angelo Russell and young big man Willie Cauley-Stein and the Warriors will be just fine in 2020.  I project them to finish at 51-31.
  1. Utah Jazz (+1600)
    2018-19 Finish:  5th in West, 50-32, Lost in First Round
    Key Losses:  F Derrick Favors, G Kyle Korver, G Ricky Rubio
    Key Additions:  G Mike Conley, F Bojan Bogdanovic, C Ed Davis
    2020 Outlook:  The Jazz may be considered a sleeper pick for the 2020 Finals, but they’re a pretty strong dark horse.  They lost some old veterans this offseason, but their already playoff-caliber roster only improved this summer.  They picked up a star point guard in Mike Conley to create one of the most talented backcourts in the league, along with Donovan Mitchell.  They also added Bojan Boganovic to round out the starting five with Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert.  I project the Jazz to finish 51-31 next season. 
  1. Denver Nuggets (+2300)
    2018-19 Finish:  2nd in West, 54-28, Lost in Western Conference Semis
    Key Losses:  G Isaiah Thomas, F Trey Lyles
    Key Additions:  F Jerami Grant, C Bol Bol
    2020 Outlook:  The Nuggets, unlike most teams on this list, had an uneventful offseason.  When you’re the second-best team in your conference, I guess that’s alright.  They practically lost nobody from their 54-win team last season, while adding a solid all-around player in Jerami Grant.  Grant’s defense, paired with Gary Harris and Jamal Murray’s stellar offense, will create a balanced supporting cast for star center Nikola Jokic.  I project the Nuggets to go 55-27 in 2020.

Sources

www.lineups.com

www.espn.com

www.cbssports.com

About the Author

Connor just completed his sophomore year at Purdue University, where he is pursuing a double major in actuarial sciences and applied statistics, with a minor in management.  He has had a passion for both sports and statistics since a very young age, and enjoys discovering all the new information statistics can give us about sports.  Here is a link to his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/connor-wolf-bb3775186/.