With the NBA season suspended for the foreseeable future, fans across the country are left to wonder "what if?" What if the NBA season had never been put on hold?
No matter when and how the NBA season continues, the outcome will have been drastically changed by the time off. Some teams that were missing players due to injury will get those players back earlier in the season than they had planned, and the momentum of the first 21 weeks of play will have surely disappeared.
Fans of the Bucks, who haven’t won an NBA title since their first and only ring in 1971, have to wait a little longer to find out if 2020 is the year they finally get their second. Milwaukee is currently in first place in the East and owns an NBA-best 53-12 record, while All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the middle of another MVP season.
Bucks fans aren’t the only ones that thought this was their year. Oddsmakers have Milwaukee as the odds-on favorite at +240 to win a championship, giving them an implied probability of 29.41%.
Milwaukee kicked off the season at +600, but its odds have been consistently shortening on a week-to-week basis. The Bucks have been title favorites since Week 17 of the season, when they passed the Lakers and Clippers.
Bookmakers currently give the Lakers the second-best chance at winning a title thanks to the strong play of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers have +300 championship odds, which gives them a 25% implied probability. The Lakers have hovered around the top for a while but have only been the favorite for a single week, which came in Week 16.
The Clippers started the year as championship favorites with +380 odds and kept their spot at the top for the first 11 weeks but have tailed off of late. Their +340 odds are the third shortest in the league, but are longer than the +300 odds they had in Week 12.
The Bucks, Lakers and Clippers have each been favored to win the title at different points throughout the year, but the Bucks were starting to pull away as play was suspended. Their +230 odds in Week 20 were the shortest any team has had at any point this year.
Whenever play continues, all eyes will surely be on Milwaukee to see if they can continue their dominance, or if the Lakers, Clippers or some other longshot can knock them off the top.