After losing James Harden to a trade and getting back to the playoffs for another run, all seemed well for the Thunder until Game 2 of their playoff series with the Rockets. They are still solid title favorites according to the NBA odds from Bet365. The problem are they overvalued as sports picks?
Without Harden during the regular season, the Thunder were still one of the league’s best. They ended 2nd in the West right behind the Spurs, had another 60-win regular season, but the torn meniscus suffered by Russell Westbrook in the first round killed any title hopes the Thunder had. They may have been able to do it without Harden, but without both of their star guards, Kevin Durant could not carry this team by himself.
However, a torn meniscus is not an ACL, and Westbrook should be more than 100% ready for training camp. The real question is, do the Thunder have enough as presently constructed to win the West and/or beat the Heat?
Looking for the best books for basketball betting? Visit SportsbookReview.com!
The biggest news is the loss of Kevin Martin, who was signed and traded to the Wolves for basically nothing. Martin wasn’t the right fit in OKC to begin with, and the Thunder are saved from paying a big tax bill this season from the move.
This summer has been more about the moves the Thunder haven’t made, and the biggest move they didn’t make was to amnesty Kendrick Perkins. Perkins is owed $17.5 million more over the next two seasons, and Thunder fans know that money is desperately needed if they want to attract a third superstar.
Thunder GM Sam Presti has already said that the team doesn’t believe in using the amnesty clause, but I can almost guarantee that once he sees Perkins man the middle in one more playoff series, get bounced, and see the crop of free agents they could sign with Perkins’ money this time next offseason, I think this year is the last Perkins will be in OKC. The Thunder need an offensive and defensive big man, and Perkins four points per game aren’t getting it done for $9 million per year.
After drafting Steven Adams (a center with offensive upside), the Thunder haven’t done much else this offseason. Including their rookies, the Thunder came into the summer with 11 guys under contract, and they are already a team flirting with the luxury tax. Without many moves they could have made outside of the amnestying, the Thunder just need to decide who is going to round out their roster.
So far all of the teams I have covered seem to have some solid value, or are appropriately priced NBA picks. However the Thunder at +600 to win outright is way overvalued. Combined with what happened last season, the West’s top is a lot better. The Clippers, Rockets and of course the Spurs could all fight for that top spot. I could potentially see the Thunder finishing the regular season as the 3rd or even 4th best seed in the West.
With the way the Heat have been running through the league, and with the West so improved, I wouldn’t have the Thunder much better than 8 or even 10/1. They are going to be great, but we saw when they didn’t have enough scoring in the playoffs, the better defensive Grizzlies wore them down and beat them up. They need to replace Harden and now Martin’s scoring with a big man. They aren’t exactly the most physical team in the NBA either, and 6/1 is very overvalued in the NBA odds.
The 2013-14 NBA season is just a few short months away. Join the discussion now!