The talking is finally done and at last we’ll see Dwight Howard wearing a Lakers uniform and actually in an NBA game.
The season starts Tuesday night with the LA Lakers-Dallas Mavericks contest completing a pro basketball triple header. Washington-Cleveland opens things up followed by the champ Miami hosting Boston.
Naturally the story lines this season are aplenty, but biggest one is Howard doing his best “LeBron holding his team hostage” before finally opting to leave Disney World for Disneyland. What that’s done is made the Lakers a 9-4 co-favorite (with the Heat) to win the NBA title and the Orlando Magic the Cavaliers of 2010 when losing James to Miami.
Yes, Orlando is now in the company of Charlotte as the NBA’s worst -- carrying odds of 1000-1 (latest LVS). The Magic over/under win total is 24½. If you take the over, that means at worst a 25-57 record. Hint: Cleveland went from 61 wins to 19 when LeBron left.
Speaking of departures there’s Linsanity headed from Manhattan to Houston and New Jersey moving from Newark to Brooklyn. The over/under win totals are 30½ for the Rockets, 44 for the Nets. At odds of 300-1, Houston is one of 17 teams in a league of 30 listed at least 100-1 to win the championship.
That’s not parity, but it is definitely worth a $5 wager to become part of Linsanity-Texas style. Brooklyn’s spanking new Barclay Center, hottest selling uniforms on the market and re-signing Deron Williams makes the Nets this year’s version of the resurgent Los Angeles Clippers.
Each of the 30 franchises has a theme. Here are the ones that quickly come to mind.
• Ray Allen leaving Boston and signing with “the enemy” – Miami.
• Phoenix having to deal with the loss of Steve Nash to the Lakers.
• Andrew Bynum going over to Philadelphia as part of the multi-team Howard trade to the Lakers.
• How soon Derrick Rose returns to the Chicago lineup and his effectiveness.
• Jason Kidd taking over as point guard for the circus that is the New York Knicks.
As far as wagering, we have 13 teams at 50-1 or lower to win the title. Sports Illustrated, in its bid for shock value, has the Knicks meeting the Lakers for the title. The Knicks are 50-1.
From that group of 50-1 and below, we like Philadelphia (30-1) and the Clippers (30-1) as live longshots.
Teams we see big improvement are New Orleans (with hot rookie Anthony Davis), Golden State, Houston, Brooklyn, Sacramento and Toronto.
The matchup we most want to see: NY Knicks at Brooklyn. Having a Nathans frank at New York-New York is the ideal way to celebrate that one. Hopefully it won’t be too cold so we eat it on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].