NBA Futures: 2020-21 NBA Pacific Division Odds, Previews and Best Divisional Bets

LeBron James (23) and Anthony Davis (3) celebrate after defeating the Denver Nuggets
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Andrew Ortenberg

NBA · 1 year ago

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

The Pacific Division might have the most star power in all of sports. The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers all boast some of the biggest players in the league, and the Los Angeles teams are the two clear favorites to win the Western Conference. The Phoenix Suns are hoping to make a big leap forward after acquiring Chris Paul in a blockbuster trade, while the Sacramento Kings are flying a bit under the radar compared to their Pacific Division rivals.

If you’re looking for more in-depth analysis and futures picks ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season, be sure to check out our NBA Championship winner preview, as well as our assessment of both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. As for individuals, we’ve also taken a look at the MVP and Rookie of the Year markets.

But for now, let’s break down the Pacific Division:

Los Angeles Lakers

Let’s start off with the defending champions. Obviously the Lakers are coming off a finals run, but they certainly didn’t stand pat this offseason. They were aggressively looking to get better, signing Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell to bolster the frontcourt. They also made a trade for Dennis Schroder to give them an extra ball handler with Rajon Rondo departing. That being said, it’s not all positive. The Lakers are having to deal with a remarkably quick turnaround after such a long and exhausting playoff run, so I think we see even more of a championship hangover than usual. The Lakers’ sole focus will be on the playoffs, and they certainly aren’t going to prioritize the regular season. They’re going to be cautious with the soon to be 36-year-old LeBron James, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they rest Anthony Davis a good amount as well. I think they’ll slack off a bit early on, and as such I’m taking the under on their season win percentage of 66.5 (-107 on DraftKings).

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are coming off a big disappointment after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the second round of the finals. That collapse led to some major changes, including the firing of head coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers also made some aggressive moves, signing seasoned veterans like Nic Batum and Serge Ibaka. This team is now incredibly deep, which is something that’ll come in handy in a year unlike any other. Los Angeles will also have a huge chip on their shoulder after the way their season ended, so they certainly won’t be taking the regular season lightly. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s chemistry should also be much better in their second year together, so I’m taking them to win the division at plus money (+120 on DraftKings).

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors will be one of the most interesting teams to watch this season. They went from the top of the basketball world to the bottom last year as Kevin Durant left town and the rest of the team crumpled with injuries. Unfortunately we won’t get to see Klay Thompson back in action this year, but there’s still a lot of intrigue with Stephen Curry coming back to go along with Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and second overall pick James Wiseman. The Warriors essentially tanked last season on purpose, so you can throw their 2019 record out the window. Even without Thompson there’s still plenty of offensive talent, and I loved their trade for Kelly Oubre Jr. this offseason. They might not be the best team in the league anymore but they’ll get back to winning basketball, so I’ll take the over on their win percentage of 54.5 (+100 on DraftKings).

Phoenix Suns

The Suns will also be one of the most interesting teams to watch this season. They made a lot of progress this past season, and then went out and traded for Chris Paul. Even at his advanced age Paul is still one of the best point guards in the league, and he makes all his teammates better. One can only imagine what Paul will do for Deandre Ayton’s development. Ayton already showed signs of becoming a dominant big man last season, and I think he takes the next step this time around. Devin Booker is a superstar, and the addition of Jae Crowder will further help set the tone for this revamped culture. I don’t always like to chase offseason hype, but in this situation I think it’s real. No team that Paul is on is going to be bad, as evidenced by how he dragged a hopeless Thunder team to so much success last year. Take the over on their winning percentage of 52.5 (-117 on DraftKings).

Sacramento Kings

The Kings are the forgotten team in the Pacific Division, and understandably so. They haven’t been relevant in years, and I don’t see too many reasons for optimism this season. Hassan Whiteside is the only major acquisition they made this offseason, which is pretty underwhelming, and they’re mostly just running it back with the same team that was nothing better than mediocre last season. What makes me particularly down on them is that the West’s other worst teams should be a lot better. Obviously the Warriors are going to be better, and so too should the Timberwolves and Pelicans, the only other teams to finish behind Sacramento in the standings. I think there’s a good chance they have the second worst record in the conference ahead of only the Thunder, and I’m taking the under on their winning percentage of 40.5 (-114 on DraftKings).

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