Oddsmakers Aren't Fans of the Atlanta Hawks
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
The ridiculously early 2015 NBA title odds have already been posted, and the oddsmakers don't seem to be high on the Hawks.
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas released the odds shortly after the San Antonio Spurs' series clinching win over the Miami Heat. The Hawks have 70/1 odds to win the 2015 NBA Finals, and only six teams are below them.
Despite Atlanta's run to the playoffs and their competitive seven-game series against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers, they're listed 24th among the 30 NBA teams. Only the Jazz, Kings, Pistons, Magic, 76ers and Bucks have lower odds to win it all, according to Vegas.
I'm not allowed to gamble, but if I were, the Hawks would seem like a good bet. After all, they return (potential trades not withstanding) at least 10 players, including all five starters, from a team that went 16-7 with a starting lineup of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Horford. 2012 first-round pick John Jenkins is under contract and will be returning from a back injury that forced him out for most of the season. Horford, the team's leading scorer through Christmas, is expected to be fully recovered from a torn pectoral muscle, 2013-14 rookies Dennis Schröder and Mike Muscala got some valuable NBA experience and should develop more this summer, and Lou Williams will be able to work with the team from the start of training camp, as he won't have ACL rehab to deal with.
Let's also not forget that first year head coach Mike Budenholzer has his system in place, so the comfort level with that should only improve.
The Hawks have two scheduled draft picks and some flexibility to get better this offseason. Other teams in the East stand to get better as well, but from my vantage point this Atlanta team is continuing to go in the upward direction.
For what it's worth, the oddsmakers were (understandably) conservative. At the start of the 2013-14 season the Hawks were ahead of 11 teams, but their odds were 150/1. So maybe it's better to hope for a bigger payout by waiting until rosters start to take shape.
Below are the current odds for every team.
Story by Jaryd Wilson
2015 NBA Finals Odds
HEAT 5/2 (+250)