Having won the NBA title in 2015 and now 2017, the Golden State Warriors are favored by Bovada to win it again in 2018. Big shock there. The Cleveland Cavaliers — bigger shock — are listed as second favorites. The Atlanta Hawks are 24th-favorites. Think about that.
The Hawks have made the playoffs in each of past years, something no other NBA East franchise can say. They’ve had a winning record every season since 2008-2009. They won 60 games in 2014-2015. They won a playoff series last season. They were the fifth seed in the East this time. And yet …
Their odds of winning it all in June 2018 are, per Bovada, 200 to 1. By way of comparison, the Philadelphia 76ers — who’ve won an aggregate 75 games over four seasons; the Warriors won 73 last season alone — are listed at 100 to 1. The six teams given longer odds than the Hawks: Charlotte, Detroit, Brooklyn, Orlando, Phoenix and Sacramento.
Betting lines are no guarantee of future results. This we know. But I’d suggest this particular line is a reflection of where this particular oddsmaker believes the Hawks are headed, and it’s not straight up. To reiterate: If they keep Paul Millsap, they’ll have spent a ton of money to stay mediocre; if they don’t, even mediocrity might be beyond their reach.
As we also know, the Hawks have a new general manager, Travis Schlenk having just arrived from Golden State. He has, to put it mildly, work to do.