As you can see, the Lakers, at least according to the odds makers, are the runner-up to the Clippers, and you have to wonder if that is about to become a theme. You can certainly understand the Clippers being the favorite on the board to win it all, but there’s also a case to be made for a bunch of other teams.
In talking to people around the league this week, scouts and executives who spoke with CBS Sports felt the league was one Kawhi decision not to go to the Lakers from perhaps the greatest level of parity the NBA has seen in decades. You look at those top five favorites, and you can probably throw in Houston, Utah, Denver and Portland as teams that can at least rightfully believe they have a reasonable shot to make a title run.
Next season you can at least add the Nets to that list, with Kevin Durant back, and who knows who else powers up. This thing feels wide open, and just about everyone is in play to make a move to get in the race. Playing it safe is a thing of the past.