With the NBA starting training camps soon, it’s a perfect time to look forward at what potential matchups in the NBA Finals we could see. There are several solid teams as we head to the season’s restart, so let’s look at the top five potential matchups based on the odds.
5. Celtics vs. Lakers (+1900)
This is the matchup that fans of Boston would hope to see. When they won it all in 2008, they did it by knocking off the Lakers. And two years later, they were defeated by them in a rematch. The betting odds on this matchup happening are set at +1900.
Boston has the star power to sweep through the East. With several All-Stars and guys that can score from anywhere, they could seriously do this thing. They are still a dark horse, though.
For the Lakers, the sweetest win for them would be against Boston. Imagine Rajon Rondo winning his second ring against the Celtics, the team he with whom he won his first.
4. 76ers vs. Lakers (+1500)
The last time Philadelphia made the Finals 20 years ago, they faced the most dominant playoff team in NBA history, a Lakers team that went 15-1 en route to the title. It took a monster Allen Iverson performance to win just one game and knock them off an unbeaten course.
They were good enough to win the conference last year, but Kawhi Leonard and Toronto had other plans. With Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, they are always in it.
If they can garner some momentum in the remaining eight games of the regular season, maybe they can stake a claim for the best in the conference.
They would struggle mightily against the Lakers in a series, though.
3. Bucks vs. Rockets (+1100)
This matchup would feature three former MVPs all doing battle. The two from Houston — Russell Westbrook and James Harden — and then the likely back-to-back winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo. This series could actually bode well for the Rockets, with Bucks center Brook Lopez generally playing at the three-point line.
The super-small ball style that throws shooters all over the floor is going to open things up for Westbrook in a massive way. However, they would likely get destroyed by Antetokounmpo, who would not likely see any drop in production against whoever Houston would throw on him.
Milwaukee has a good shot at the Finals, while the Rockets have a daunting path. But it would be a good series.
2. Bucks vs. Clippers (+350)
This would be the most intriguing of all the matchups that could take place. The Clippers’ two superstar forwards and incredibly impressive depth chart take on the defensively-elite Bucks. To see Leonard versus Antetokounmpo again would be a blast.
Paul George hasn’t won a playoff series in six years and has never played in the Finals. So for him, this is a huge opportunity for his legacy. The Clippers’ bench punch of Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams is better than anyone the Bucks bring in.
It would come down to Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo versus George and Leonard at the end of the day.
1. Bucks vs. Lakers (+310)
Finally, the matchup that most non-Clippers and Leonard fans are pegging as the one they hope to see. This would feature the two MVP favorites in Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, and one of them would obviously end up with a ring. It would be James’ fourth ring, with his third different team.
For Antetokounmpo, it would cement him as an all-timer to be, knocking James off in the Finals, and also winning a ring in his mid-20s. With so much career left for him, getting a ring now would be historic, and also give the Bucks leverage in future negotiations.
If they can contain the Lakers bigs, they could seriously win the series. And the Lakers will need to focus a lot of attention on Middleton. He is the real key to the Bucks’ win.
No matter who plays in the Finals, whether it’s one of these matchups or some other, it is going to be great basketball. The talent on the teams in the postseason this year is insane.