With the NBA Summer League wrapping up in Las Vegas and the Christmas Day schedule starting to leak out, it is time to look forward to another exciting season in the association.
This offseason, we saw a lot of moves starting with the Los Angeles Lakers acquiring former MVP Russell Westbrook in a massive blockbuster trade from the Washington Wizards. Then there was the Chicago Bulls, who added both Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan via sign and trades. Finally, the Miami Heat made their big offseason splash acquiring Kyle Lowry in a trade from the Toronto Raptors.
Last season, we saw three new teams in the East (Hawks, Knicks, Wizards) make the playoffs that did not participate in 2019-20 and two teams in the West (Suns, Grizzlies). Who will be the newcomers this upcoming season? To answer that question and more, we’ll take a look at the recently dropped playoff odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Chicago Bulls (-155) to make the playoffs
The Bulls are one of the more obvious choice to potentially make the playoffs after the changes they made at the trade deadline and in free agency. If you forgot, at the trade deadline Chicago acquired All-Star center Nikola Vucevic to pair with first-time All-Star and Olympian Zach LaVine. In 26 games with Chicago, Vucevic averaged 21.5 points, and 11.5 rebounds per game.
Then to kick off free agency, the Bulls bolstered their starting lineup with the sign and trade additions of Ball and DeRozan. Ball is coming off a career-year with the Pelicans, where he averaged 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. He also shot 37.8 from three-point range. DeRozan, however, has missed the playoffs the last two seasons with the Spurs, but is looking to change that with Chicago. If there’s any season for the Bulls to make that playoff push, the time is now.
Washington Wizards (+400) to make the playoffs
The Wizards made the playoffs last season as the 8th seed, but are a noticeable underdog this upcoming season with Westbrook off to Los Angeles. It will be an entirely new Wizards’ team led by first-year head coach Wes Unseld Jr. Unseld will have the dubious task of trying to get Washington back to the playoffs for the second-straight year.
However, he won’t have to do it alone as he still has Bradley Beal, who averaged a career-high 31.3 points per game last season. Despite not having Westbrook by his side, Beal still has a solid core of players surrounding him in Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Aaron Holiday, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. And not too mention, the Wizards still have Deni Avdija, Rui Hachiumura, Davis Bertans, and Daniel Gafford. On paper, this team does not look bad at all and could sneak their way in the playoffs via the play-in tournament.
Memphis Grizzlies (-105) to make the playoffs
In the Western Conference, the Grizzlies have -105 odds to make the playoffs, but have -115 odds to miss the postseason next season. This comes as a surprise since the Grizzlies have shown progress over the last two seasons. They went from losing in the play-in tournament in the 2020 bubble to advancing out of the play-in tourney in 2021 and giving the Utah Jazz a tough first-round series this past season.
The Grizzlies did make a noticeable move this offseason, trading away Jonas Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans for Steven Adams. Then on Tuesday, they traded Patrick Beverley to the Timberwolves for Jarrett Culver and Juan Hernangomez. But outside of those moves, the Grizzlies return the same team. The only way Memphis doesn’t make the playoffs is if the Golden State Warriors take their spot, which is not out of the realm of possibility.
2021-22 NBA odds to make playoffs
|ATL Hawks||Yes -525||No +400|
|BKN Nets||Yes -20000||No +4000|
|BOS Celtics||Yes -525||No +400|
|CHA Hornets||No -215||Yes +175|
|CHI Bulls||Yes -155||No +130|
|CLE Cavaliers||No -8000||Yes +2000|
|DAL Mavericks||Yes -650||No +475|
|DEN Nuggets||Yes -475||No +360|
|DET Pistons||No -8000||Yes +2000|
|GS Warriors||Yes -600||No +425|
|HOU Rockets||No -6000||Yes +1600|
|IND Pacers||Yes -170||No +140|
|LA Clippers||Yes -300||No +235|
|LA Lakers||Yes -3500||No +1300|
|MEM Grizzlies||No -115||Yes -105|
|MIA Heat||Yes -900||No +600|
|MIL Bucks||Yes -8000||No +2000|
|MIN Timberwolves||No -750||Yes +525|
|NO Pelicans||No -210||Yes +170|
|NY Knicks||Yes -135||No +115|
|OKC Thunder||No -10000||Yes +2200|
|ORL Magic||No -10000||Yes +2200|
|PHI 76ers||Yes -2000||No +1000|
|PHO Suns||Yes -3500||No +1300|
|POR Trail Blazers||Yes -235||No +190|
|SA Spurs||No -3000||Yes +1100|
|SAC Kings||No -525||Yes +400|
|TOR Raptors||No -330||Yes +260|
|UTA Jazz||Yes -3000||No +1300|
|WAS Wizards||No -525||Yes +400|
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