I’m cashing in my chips, sort of. I put all my winnings on Brooklyn to win the East, which I will explain in a bit. The grind of the season was getting to me and it was just a matter of time before I imploded. I know myself well enough to know when that’s coming. I also really have to focus on family and stop with the capping, which is using up too much of my psychic and emotional energy. But I’m glad to go out on a winning note, with the Lakers and Warriors both coming through for us yesterday.
Why the Nets to win the East at -110? Despite the risks, mostly injuries, I’m not worried about this team gelling or not being able to play defense (the NBA, except for a brief, ugly period in the 90’s, is not a defensive league: it’s a superstar/offensive player league) or other issues that pop up. The Nets are all in. They have invested a lot in this team, from players to coaches, and behind it all is a powerful redemption story for guys who have won the championship and guys who have not. From Nash, to DeAntoni to Harden, Griffin, Aldridge you name it. Then there is Irving and Durant, who both, in their own way, won titles under the shadows of other superstars. Irving won on LBJ’s team and Durant on Curry’s. This is a chance for both of them to change that narrative, though how much credit they’ll ultimately get for putting this team together and getting it over the hump remains to be seen.
My last reason for investing in the Nets is that the top teams in the East are highly flawed. The Heat lost to the Grizz?! And this Heat team has no real identity or leader. The Bucks, without the freak, lost to the pitiful Warriors?! In other words, they are a one-man or one superstar team, and even then this team has shown, again and again, it cannot close out close games. The Sixers are a solid team that plays both offense and defense, but can you really trust Rivers and that bunch come playoff time? Will Embid outshine Durant, Irving and Harden? I don’t think so.
The West is a total crapshoot in my opinion, and I would not dream of investing in any of those teams. I also did not bet the Nets to win the title at +250 because that is a riskier proposition, since I don’t know who they’ll be playing or what form they’ll be in, whereas just winning the East, with the current crop of teams, in their current form, is easier to cap.
Good luck to everyone. And thanks for the support this season. I might stop in from time to time for some banter, but other than that I’ll just be a fan and enjoy the games.