VOL. 133 | NO. 134 | Friday, July 6, 2018
The Press Box
If Warriors Are A Lock For 2019 NBA Title, What Would You Bet On It?
By Don Wade
Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls ruled the NBA in the 1990s with six championships, twice winning three in a row. The Kobe/Shaq Los Angeles Lakers won three straight titles in the early 2000s and then the Lakers won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 without Shaquille O’Neal.
Here’s another historical fact, best as we know: At no point did a member of the New York Knicks Photoshop then-NBA commissioner David Stern in a Bulls or Lakers jersey.
But after the Golden State Warriors, winners of three of the last four league titles, added a fifth all-star in DeMarcus Cousins, New York’s Enes Kanter took to Twitter and had some fun.
Kanter created a Photoshop image of the NBA commissioner in a Warriors jersey and wrote: “Adam Silver has agreed to a Mid Level extension with Golden State, league sources tell ME.”
Props to Kanter for the humor. He’ll need it if he spends another season with the Knicks.
But is the larger point, which was made not just by Kanter but seemingly everyone on the outside of the Golden State dynasty looking in, accurate?
Is it fair to collectively sigh and ask, what’s the bleeping point in having the 2018-19 NBA season?
There are multiple ways to approach the question. But with sports wagering coming to a Tunica casino near you, let’s go with this one:
Is the Warriors dynasty your chance at free money?
Seriously. If we’re sure they’re going to win, why not cash in?
After Cousins agreed to his one-year contract – and he won’t be ready until at least mid-season because he’s coming off an Achilles injury – the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook made the Warriors 4-to-7 favorites to win the championship.
Odds-makers are confident in the Warriors to the point of being scared. They need bettors to hunt better return. And some will.
At 4-to-7 odds, a $100 bet on Golden State would return $157.14 – or a $57.14 profit.
So when you consider putting your own skin in the game, does that change the way you feel about the Warriors being a so-called lock?
Are you so sure this is inevitable that you would risk $100 to win $57.14?
Or does that get you to thinking about everything that could go wrong?
See, it’s easy to sit back and smugly proclaim the Warriors 2019 NBA champions if you have nothing at risk. But injuries can potentially change any season or playoff series.
Or have you forgotten Houston led Golden State 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals not so long ago and then Chris Paul got hurt and missed the last two games? The Warriors had to overcome double-digit deficits in each win.
Which means the Rockets, though it doesn’t feel like it now, were very close to landing in the NBA Finals.
So consider what could happen in the foregone conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season:
Stephen Curry’s notoriously fragile ankles could render him a spectator for the playoffs.
Kevin Durant could blow out a knee.
The underappreciated Klay Thompson could literally become invisible, and disappear off the face of the planet.
Boogie Cousins and Draymond Green get into a fight over a bottle of Gatorade, bust chairs over each other’s heads, and while they’re both in the league’s concussion protocol, the Warriors could get bounced in the first round by a spunky Lakers team led by a balding old champ from Cleveland.
Stuff happens. There are no guarantees.
So to be clear: I’m not suggesting you bet on the Warriors. Nor am I advocating betting against them. I don’t care if you make a bet at all.
But do think about it.
Because it will remind you that despite what looks like a stacked deck now, there are no sure things.
At least none this side of Boogie and Draymond technical fouls.
Don Wade’s column appears in The Daily News and The Memphis News. Listen to Wade on “Middays with Greg & Eli” every Tuesday at noon on Sports 56 AM and 87.7 FM.