The last time the Brooklyn Nets won a championship, it was two names and over four decades ago. Led by three-time league MVP Julius Erving, the New York Nets won the final title in ABA history in 1975-76. Following the season, the ABA merged with the NBA and the Nets, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers were welcomed into the NBA.
It was the second ABA title in three years for the Nets, but they’ve never won another championship since. Twice during the NBA tenure, the Nets – who were rechristened the New Jersey Nets in 1977 and the Brooklyn Nets in 2012 – got to the NBA Finals, only to come up short. They were beaten in six games by the Spurs in 2002-03 and were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001-02.
That’s all expected to change this season. The Nets are favored to win the 2020-21 championship in the NBA Finals betting odds. According to the oddsmakers, the addition of three-time NBA scoring champion James Harden to a squad that already suits up Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving figures to finally end the title drought for the Nets.
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How The Nets Will Win
Harden is a former NBA MVP. Durant is a former NBA scoring champion and an NBA Finals MVP. Along with Irving, they form the most terrific triumvirate in the league when they’re all healthy. But that hasn’t been very often this season, which has to be a bit disconcerting.
Brooklyn is the +250 favorite to win it all, but the Nets are not a team without concerns. They tried to solve their issues at center by adding veteran LaMarcus Aldridge from the Spurs. However, an irregular heartbeat led to his recent retirement from the game.
Can Lakers Repeat?
The defending champion Lakers are offered at a betting line of +325, but they have their own concerns to overcome. Both of the team’s stars, forward Anthony Davis and guard LeBron James, have battled injury issues this season.
Yet even while missing their two stars, the Lakers continue to be the best defensive team in the NBA.
Is The NBA A Clippers Joint?
Oddsmakers might be the last folks who are still believing in the Clippers as championship fettle, listing them at +500. Still, there’s an argument to be made for the inclusion of LA’s other team in this group of contenders.
When he was guiding the Lakers and Chicago Bulls to multiple titles, coach Phil Jackson felt a true indication of elite status was for a team to reach 40 wins before losing 20 games. The Clippers have done that this season. Yes, Kawhi Leonard’s health is forever an underlying concern, but when he and Paul George are on the floor together, the Clippers are as dangerous as any team in the association.
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All That Jazz
Utah has been running at the top of the Western Conference all season long, yet doesn’t seem to get much love when it comes to title contending discussions. This is patently unfair. True, the Jazz don’t suit up a generational star like the other contenders. However, the tune they are playing is both smooth and impressive.
There are a half-dozen players on the roster who are averaging at least 12 points per game. Guard Donovan Mitchell is capable of going off for 40 on any night. Center Rudy Gobert is the league’s best defensive player and he’s averaging double digits in points and rebounds this season. Utah offers great value at +800.
Bucking The Trend
One of the favorites to win the title the past two years, the Milwaukee Bucks have slipped all the way to +950 in the current NBA championship odds.
Power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time reigning NBA MVP, hasn’t gone anywhere and Jrue Holiday is an upgrade in the backcourt. But Milwaukee has come up short two years in a row in postseason play and that seems to have put the pundits off the scent of the Bucks as a legitimate championship hopeful.
Sixers None The Richer
The numbers say that the Philadelphia (+1100) is in the hunt, even if the 76ers continue to throw in the odd clunker to display that maybe they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Center Joel Embiid is their perennial injury concern.
The Sixers play stellar defense, led by Ben Simmons and Embiid. Tobias Harris and Seth Curry can score the basketball from all over the court.
I expected to see an article titled “Miami Dolphins and Florida Panthers learned how to play defense in the same year.”
I remember having a red,white, and blue ABA basketball. Julius Irving was a one man highlight reel. Good times.