As the NBA season heads down the home stretch, the banged-up Brooklyn Nets (+250 odds) and LA Lakers (+350 odds) continue to lead the pack in the NBA championship futures market. The Denver Nuggets saw the biggest change in market prices when their championship odds tanked after they lost Jamal Murray to a season-ending ACL injury.

Kevin Durant NBA Futures Odds Brooklyn Nets Denver Nuggets LA Lakers championship
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets dishes a behind-the-back pass against the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Image: Craig Lassig/AP)

The Philadelphia 76ers (39-18) hold the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference after overtaking the Brooklyn Nets (38-19). As soon as the Nets got Kevin Durant back in the lineup, he injured his knee. The Nets also had to say goodbye to veteran LaMarcus Aldridge, who had to prematurely retire due to a heart condition.

2021 NBA Futures: Favorites
  • Brooklyn Nets +250
  • LA Lakers +350
  • LA Clippers +500
  • Utah Jazz +700
  • Milwaukee Bucks +750
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1200
  • Phoenix Suns +2000

The Lakers (35-23) are eagerly awaiting the return of Anthony Davis (calf) and LeBron James (ankle). The Lakers slipped to the #5 seed in the Western Conference after LeBron went down. The defending champs are in the process of losing home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Clippers (40-19) recently joined the 40-win club, which only has two other members with the Utah Jazz (43-15) and Phoenix Suns (41-16)

Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (35-22) had a huge target on their backs for the past two seasons as the team with the most wins. While most of the public’s money backed Brooklyn, the Bucks fly under the radar at +750 odds on the NBA futures board.

Hopefuls: Celtics Surging, Nuggets Falling

Murray went down last week and the Denver Nuggets (37-20) saw their championship hopes fizzle out before their eyes. Last night, the Nugs took another injury hit when point guard Monte Morris injured his hamstring. The Nugs still have MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, and Michael Porter, Jr. has been on a shooting tear. Plus, Aaron Gordon made a smooth transition to the starting lineup after the Orlando Magic traded him to the Nuggets before the deadline.

Jimmy Butler thinks the Miami Heat (30-28) are playing too soft, which is why they’re at the back of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff race with the #7 seed.

2021 NBA Futures: Value Picks
  • Miami Heat +2800
  • Dallas Mavericks +4000
  • Denver Nuggets +4500
  • Boston Celtics +5000
  • Portland Trail Blazers +6000
  • Atlanta Hawks +10000

The Boston Celtics (31-27) are playing their best basketball of the season with an 8-2 clip over their last 10 games. The Celtics are the #5 seed in the East and are threatening the Atlanta Hawks for the #4 seed. The Eastern Conference is dominated by three superior teams (Nets, 76ers, Bucks) while 10 teams are fighting for the other five playoff spots and a shot at the play-in tournament.

The Atlanta Hawks (31-26) are now five games over .500. They were able to stay competitive even after John Collins injured his ankle and missed multiple games. With Collins back in the lineup, the Hawks are looking to fend off the Celtics or the NY Knicks in the final weeks of the season.

Playoff Bound Long Shots: Knicks, Griz, Warriors

The New York Knicks are +25000 long shots on the NBA futures board. Knicks’ fans have been tormented for the last decade with horrible teams, so the fact they have a playoff-bound team this year is nothing short of a miracle. Julius Randle has the inside track to MIP, but he’s been the Knicks’ MVP since he arrived last season.

Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies (29-27) currently sit in the #8 seed out West. The Griz are tussling with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavs (30-26) for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, it’s a two-team race on the bubble between a pair of break-even teams. Red-hot Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors (29-29) and the San Antonio Spurs (28-28) are fighting for a spot in the play-in game, but they’re both within striking distance of the #8 seed if they can string together a late surge.

2021 NBA Futures: Long Shots
  • Indiana Pacers +15000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +15000
  • Toronto Raptors +15000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +15000
  • Chicago Bulls +25000
  • Golden State Warriors +25000
  • New Orleans Pelicans +25000
  • NY Knicks +25000
  • San Antonio Spurs +25000
  • Charlotte Hornets +50000

The New Orleans Pelicans (25-32) dropped three games in a row, which means that Zion Williamson might miss the postseason this year. The Pels are in a bad spot because they didn’t suck enough for a shot at a lottery pick, but were good enough to secure an invite to the play-in tournament.

LaMelo Ball’s fractured wrist has healed at a faster pace than team doctors estimated. The rookie for the Charlotte Hornets (28-28) has been cleared to return for practice. He wants to return to action for Buzz City before the end of the season.

Tank City: Fight for Cunningham and Mobley

At this point, the bottom feeders of the NBA are actively trying to dump games for a better shot at a lottery pick. Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State and Evan Mobley from USC are projected to be among the top two picks in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft. Both players will be welcome additions to the worst teams in the league.

2021 NBA Futures: Dunzo
  • Washington Wizards +50000
  • Sacramento Kings +100000
  • Cleveland Cavs +150000
  • Detroit Pistons +150000
  • Houston Rockets +150000
  • Minnesota Timberwolves +150000
  • OKC Thunder +150000

The Washington Wizards are the best of the sorry bunch of bad teams. Even with superstar Bradley Beal and triple-double machine Russell Westbrook, the Wiz saw their postseason push come up short.

The OKC Thunder lost again last night and their double-digit losing streak has been extended to 11 losses in a row.

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