Chalk in L.A. Makes Rockets Right Pick To Win West

Monday, July 8, 2019 4:15 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 8, 2019 4:15 PM UTC

The Western Conference has turned into a two-horse race between the L.A. Clippers and L.A. Lakers. Do either of these teams belong in your NBA picks?

<p>Gosh, that was an exciting NBA Finals, wasn’t it? Well done, Toronto Raptors, but the Golden State Warriors can’t feel too bad about themselves; they gave it a strong effort despite all those injuries, and they should still have plenty of gas left in the tank once Kevin Durant gets healthy... what’s that? Oh. <em>Ohhhhhhh.</em></p><p>So the Warriors are toast. Durant is off to the Brooklyn Nets in a sign-and-trade that brings D’Angelo Russell and two others to the Bay Area. Andre Iguodala was shipped to the Memphis Grizzlies in a salary dump, DeMarcus Cousins has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Klay Thompson could miss all of 2019-20 with a torn ACL. The <a href="" target="_blank" title="Live NBA Odds Board">NBA odds</a> are understandably in flux right now; not every book has their futures market open at press time, but at around +800 to win the West, you can stick a fork in the Dubs dynasty.</p><p> </p><div><h2><strong>Battle Of Los Angeles</strong></h2><p>As you may have already heard, the <a href="" target="_blank" title="It’s Showtime! Anthony Davis Goes To Hollywood">Lakers also picked up Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans</a>, finally consummating that long-awaited deal. It was enough to move L.A. to the top of the futures market for a while, but then the L.A. Clippers dropped a bomb on the league, getting Kawhi Leonard to leave the Raptors <em>and</em> pulling off a trade to bring Paul George over from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now it’s the Clippers who are favored to win the West at around +175, ahead of the Lakers at +225.<br /><br />If we were going to put either of these L.A. teams in our <a href="" target="_blank" title="More NBA Picks">NBA picks</a>, it would have to be the Lakers. Nate Silver and his crew ran the numbers at FiveThirtyEight and projected the Purple and Gold to win 54.9 games with their current lineup – and that was before Cousins left Golden State. The Clippers checked in at 54.2 wins. But neither team is No. 1 in the future West; that would be the Houston Rockets at 59.8 wins. Not bad, considering they’re available at around +800 to win the conference.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>House Money</strong></h2><p>That’s what the fog of NBA free agency will do. The last time anyone paid attention to the Rockets, there were rumblings of a split between James Harden and Chris Paul, and almost no talk of any major pick-ups for the new season. Re-signing guards Gerald Green, Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr. didn’t do much to put Houston back in the headlines.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Rockets Twitter: DO SOMETHING MOREY&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;*Westbrook rumors*&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Rockets Twitter: No way! Do not want!&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;*Westbrook goes elsewhere*&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Rockets Twitter: For god sake, wake up Morey!&lt;/p&gt;— Mike of House King (@Zepp1978) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;8 de julho de 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p>It didn’t have to. We’ll see how the rest of free agency plays out – <a href="" target="_blank" title="Where is Westbrook going?">Russell Westbrook is still being dangled by the now-weakened Thunder</a>, who have plummeted to around +4000 in the West. But with Harden and most of his teammates apparently coming back from a team that went 53-29 (40-39-3 ATS) last year, we’ll take the Rockets at a bargain price to hold it together while the two L.A. teams try to make their new pieces fit.</p></div>
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