- Bradley Beal is coveted by many teams but he wouldn’t mind finishing his career with the Wizards, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype relays. Beal made that statement on the “On the Road with Buck & Phil” podcast. “That would mean the world, man. I’m a loyal guy. I want to be here,” he said. “I’m here. I’ve signed my extension. And that will mean the world to me. That honestly would you know, being able to finish your career in one place? You know, you don’t see that in today’s game.”
The Heat lost just three games during the first three rounds against their playoff opponents in the East en route to an NBA Finals appearance this year, eliminating three of the top four seeds in the conference in the process. However, Miami’s impressive postseason run hasn’t made the team the favorite to come out of the East in 2021, according to oddsmakers.
At BetOnline.ag, the Heat are listed at +450 to win the Eastern Conference in ’21, meaning you’d win $450 on a $100 wager should Miami repeat as conference champs. The Bucks (+375), Celtics (+425), and Nets (+425) are currently considered more likely to represent the East in next year’s NBA Finals.
The rest of the odds to win the East next year are as follows, per BetOnline.ag:
- Raptors: +750
- Sixers: +1200
- Bulls: +3300
- Hawks: +3300
- Pacers: +3300
- Wizards: +3300
- Magic: +10000
- Cavaliers: +12500
- Knicks: +12500
- Pistons: +12500
- Hornets: +17500
It’s obviously way too early to forecast the outcome of the 2020/21 season with any confidence. The draft and free agency are still to come, and we don’t know yet which teams will make major splashes on the trade market. If Victor Oladipo is dealt from Indiana to another Eastern team, for example, it could significantly change the conference’s outlook for next season.
Still, anticipated roster moves are at least somewhat baked into BetOnline’s current odds — if the Pacers had a ton of cap room to use this offseason and Oladipo and Myles Turner weren’t viewed as potential trade candidates, it’s a safe bet that they wouldn’t be listed alongside lottery teams Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington on the list above.
So, with the caveat that plenty could change in the coming months to alter the outlook of the East for the 2020/21 season, we want to get your thoughts on the early projections from oddsmakers.
Should the Bucks be considered the favorites to win the East? Should the Heat be listed higher than fourth among Eastern teams? Are the Nets or other teams being overvalued? Are the Pacers or other teams being undervalued? Which team do you like to come out of the East next season? And which club do you view as the best value pick based on the odds listed above?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your early forecast for the Eastern Conference in 2020/21!
- The Wizards‘ team website explores Killian Hayes‘s potential fit with Washington. The Wizards own the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which leaves them in the position to take the best player available. This season in Germany, Hayes averaged 12.8 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG in 26.8 MPG. The 19-year-old guard is projected to be drafted in the lottery.
- Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington dives into the possible ripple effects of the Wizards either trading up or down from the ninth pick in this year’s draft.
Potential top-10 selection Precious Achiuwa has interviewed with a number of lottery teams, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. Achiuwa, a power forward who averaged 15.8 PPG and 10.8 MPG as a Memphis freshman last season, has talked to the Kings, Wizards, Knicks, Nets, Cavaliers, Suns, Spurs, Pistons and Thunder, among others. He’s currently listed at No. 10 overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects.
We have more on the draft:
- Duke point guard Tre Jones has spoken with the Bucks, Suns, Thunder and Timberwolves, among others, according to Kennedy (Twitter link). Jones had an interview lined up with the Bulls, but it was postponed due to their coaching change. Jones anticipates he’ll be a mid- to late-first round pick. He’s currently listed at No. 34 overall by ESPN.
- Combo guard RJ Hampton, who played last season in Australia’s NBL, has talked to the Wizards, Kings, Thunder, Pistons, Suns, Trail Blazers, Knicks and Bulls, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. He posted modest stats in 15 NBL games before suffering a hip flexor injury and returning the U.S. Hampton is currently ranked No. 13 by ESPN and Hughes speculates he could be a late lottery steal like Michael Porter Jr., who sat out for a year after getting drafted by the Nuggets.
- Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry has interviewed with the Suns, Thunder, 76ers, Raptors, Knicks, Nets, Warriors, Timberwolves and Bulls, Kennedy tweets. He’s pegged at No. 42 in ESPN’s rankings. He averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.2 APG as a freshman.
With the NBA’s virtual combine underway, a handful of this year’s top draft-eligible prospects are speaking with reporters today on conference calls and are revealing some information about their pre-draft meetings.
French point guard Killian Hayes, for instance, confirmed that he has interviewed with the Spurs, Wizards, Knicks, Bulls, and Warriors, adding that his agent has told him to expect to come off the board between No. 2 and No. 10 on draft night (Twitter link via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic).
Maryland big man Jalen Smith told reporters, including Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter links), that he has met with the Wizards, Spurs, Raptors, Nets, Suns, and Bulls, among other teams. Smith ranks No. 20 on ESPN’s big board.
Potential No. 1 pick LaMelo Ball was more evasive when asked about his meetings, refusing to name any teams he has talked to except for the Knicks, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. That meeting occurred prior to the lottery, per Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link).
While it’s possible Ball has had other meetings with top teams that he declined to mention, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link) hears that the guard’s interview with the Timberwolves is still to come. Minnesota, of course, holds the top pick in the draft.
Here’s more on the draft:
- There’s a belief around the NBA that the Timberwolves may make an effort to trade down from No. 1, but if they keep that pick, multiple sources believe they’ll select LaMelo Ball rather than Anthony Edwards, says Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report.
- According to Wasserman, there’s some concern among scouts and executives about Edwards’ professionalism, drive, and desire to win. While the Georgia wing still figures to come off the board early, the likelihood of him falling to No. 3 appears to have increased, Wasserman notes.
- One scout who spoke to Bleacher Report said his team will be putting more stock this year into prospects’ basketball IQ and other intangibles, and Wasserman believes other clubs around the NBA could take a similar approach. Tyrese Haliburton and Isaac Okoro are among the players who could benefit from that trend, Wasserman adds.
- Czech guard Vit Krejci, who is playing for Zaragoza in Spain, has suffered a left ACL injury that will require surgery and is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season, according to the team (hat tip to Sportando). Krejci had declared for the 2020 NBA draft as an early entrant, but could still withdraw his name before the league’s November deadline.
Former Georgetown big man Omer Yurtseven has met virtually with about a third of the teams in the NBA, including the Hawks, Wizards, Spurs, Hornets, Kings, Sixers, and Rockets, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. As Yurtseven explained in a conversation with Hughes, he has made an effort to do his homework on each team interviewing him in order to make a good impression during those meetings.
“You have to know their rosters in order to see how they would fit in; what shooters are you going to be able to kick out to, or what bigs would you be playing with, what picks do they have,” Yurtseven said. “In all the interviews, I try to incorporate all the things I know about them in order to show them that I care, that I want to be on their team.”
Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:
- The revamped “combine” won’t allow teams to get as much first-hand information as in a typical draft combine, but after six months of doing little but rewatching tape and making phone calls, scouts and teams are pretty interested in the process and anxious for new information, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report.
- In a story for Bleacher Report, Wasserman looks at some of the latest draft rumors, attempting to weigh their legitimacy. Wasserman is buying talk of RJ Hampton‘s improved jumper, but doesn’t expect the Timberwolves to trade the No. 1 pick and is skeptical about some of the chatter coming out of Golden State.
- Despite the fact that just about every NBA team would love to add a sharpshooter such as Duncan Robinson, the Michigan forward went undrafted in 2018. With that in mind, CJ Moore of The Athletic identifies four prospects who could be this year’s under-the-radar marksman like Robinson, including BYU’s Jake Toolson and Boise State’s Justinian Jessup.
- The latest mock draft conducted by team beat writers at The Athletic featured LaMelo Ball going No. 1 to the Timberwolves, the Warriors trading the No. 2 pick to the Suns, and Anthony Edwards slipping to the Hornets at No. 3.
The Wizards will have several options available to them to improve their roster this offseason. In the second installment of a two-part chat, David Aldridge and Fred Katz of The Athletic discuss the many paths towards improvement the team could take.
Aldridge posits that some teams may be looking to sell off late first-round picks for cash considerations, and suggests Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard look into procuring one, while Katz discusses the possibility of using the team’s mid-level exception to add a veteran big man. The Wizards, who finished with the ninth seed during the NBA’s summer restart in Orlando, will have the Nos. 9 and 37 picks in this year’s draft at their disposal.
There’s more out of the NBA’s Southeast Division:
- The Magic departed the league’s Disney campus after a 4-1 first round defeat to the Bucks. Now, Josh Robbins of The Athletic assesses the rise or fall of Orlando players’ “stocks” around the league. Potential free agents Gary Clark and James Ennis are both assessed to be on the ascent.
- Hornets guard Joe Chealey will not partake in the team’s training camp this month after suffering a lower leg injury, the team tweeted.
- Heat All-Star wing Jimmy Butler has taken just 14, 11 and 13 field goal attempts in the first three games of Miami’s Eastern Conference Finals series with the Celtics. Despite the Heat’s 2-1 lead, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wonders if Butler needs to correct his relative passivity on offense. “No matter how many shots I take, no matter how many points I score, our job is to win,” Butler said after a Heat practice Tuesday. Butler’s signing as a free agent in 2019 and the improvement of Bam Adebayo have helped push the Heat to the brink of their first NBA Finals appearance since 2014.