King James and the Cavs are listed as the NBA odds-on favorites to win the title in the 2015-16 season. Which teams will have the best chance of stopping them?
After falling short in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors last season, we know the Cavaliers are going to back with a vengeance this coming season. They've got the best player in the game and have surrounded him with a great supporting cast, led of course by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, and you can see why Cleveland is the clear-cut top dog on the futures odds list.
At time of this writing, the Cavs were in the +225 to +300 range to win the title in 2015-16. It's certainly not going to be an easy road, and we thought it'd be appropriate to run over the biggest obstacles standing in Cleveland's way.
San Antonio Spurs (+300 to +400 to Win Title)
Some may be surprised to see it's the Spurs here and not the defending champion Warriors, but that just goes to show you how fond oddmakers are of Gregg Popovich's team this season.
It's hard not to agree. San Antonio already had the best coach in the game and an excellent core including Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, and now they've become even more dangerous after adding LaMarcus Aldridge and David West to their frontcourt. Duncan and LMA together in the paint? That's just not fair. You better believe the Spurs will be a legitimate force.
Golden State Warriors (+350 to +500)
It's a little strange to see the reigning champs not getting much love, but that just goes to show you how strong Cleveland and San Antonio should both be.
We can't count out the Warriors though, not when considering how much talent they have over there in the Bay Area. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still young and haven't yet reached their prime, and Draymond Green has re-signed, which was a huge relief for the franchise. That being said, we just don't see Golden State repeating in 2015-16, with LeBron and the Cavaliers hungry as ever for the title and the Spurs beefed up and ready to go too.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+700 to +850)
Did you forget about the Thunder? That may not be a wise move, as it looks like both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to be fully healthy heading into the new season. That's a scary thought for the rest of the league.
You have to think Oklahoma City will be one of the most motivated teams in the NBA, and we're very curious to see how Billy Donovan fares in his first season. Considering the amount of success he's had throughout his career, we're not expecting him to disappoint, particularly since he has a very talented squad at his disposal, one that includes two of the best players in the entire league.
Los Angeles Clippers (+900 to +1000)
The last of the very top contenders in our eyes is the Clippers. They've made some interesting moves over the offseason, but seem well positioned to make another deep postseason run.
Convincing center DeAndre Jordan to stay was the first big move, and LA also made a splash in free agency by reaching deals with both Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson, who fill needs in the rotation and provide more depth. CP3 and Blake Griffin are still around too, so the Clippers should be challenging at the top as well.
Cleveland's Kryptonite: Who's Best Built To Stand In The Way?
We have to side with oddsmakers each and pick the Spurs at +1000 at 5Dimes as the most likely team to spoil Cleveland's season. The Spurs just look so strong across the board, and they've got the necessary experience to get down and gritty when it matters most in the playoffs.