The 2021-22 NBA regular season begins two weeks from tonight with the Brooklyn Nets visiting the defending league champion Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors at the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA.com released Tuesday the results of its annual survey by the 30 general managers, and to no surprise the Nets were an easy winner as the champions and Brooklyn star Kevin Durant as MVP. CBS Sports has a Top 100 player list and Durant is No. 1.
Caesars Sportsbook oddsmakers agree on the Nets to win it all as they are +225 favorites. The Nets were about an inch shy of potentially winning their first title over the summer but Durant's potential game-winning shot in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bucks was a two-pointer instead of a three-pointer as his toe was barely on the line.
If Brooklyn wins that game and likely gets Kyrie Irving back for the East Finals, well most believe the Nets would have gone on to win a title. Alas, they lost that Game 7 in overtime to Milwaukee, which beat Atlanta in the East Finals and Phoenix in the NBA Finals.
A total of 72 percent of the votes to win the 2022 NBA Finals were on the Nets with 17 percent on the Lakers and 10 on the Bucks to repeat. Consider this, though: Irving would not be allowed to play home games in Brooklyn this season if he doesn't get at least one COVID vaccine shot due to New York City regulations.
For what it's worth, 81 percent of the votes last year went to the Lakers to win their second straight title and of course they lost in the first round of the playoffs. Los Angeles is a +400 second-favorite at Caesars and has an almost entirely new roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis led by Russell Westbrook.
Milwaukee is a +800 third-favorite, but superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo recently told reporters that he's still dealing with some soreness in his left knee. That could be a huge warning sign. He hyperextended that knee in Game 4 of the East Finals but was able to return for Game 1 of the NBA Finals and was historically good.
To win a third NBA MVP Award, Giannis is a +650 second-favorite behind the Mavericks' Luka Doncic (+425). On the GMs survey for best player, Doncic was second with 33 percent behind Durant's 37 percent. KD is +700 to win his second career MVP (2013-14). Giannis was third with 13 percent of the vote.
The Miami Heat were voted as the team that had the best offseason with 47 percent because of the sign-and trade for Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry. The Heat are +2500 to win a title. Erik Spoelstra was voted as the league's best coach at 55 percent.
For Rookie of the Year, it was a close vote behind No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green (+300 at Caesars to win) of the Rockets and No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham (+275 favorite) of the Pistons.
Which team will win the 2022 NBA Finals?
1. Brooklyn Nets — 72%
2. Los Angeles Lakers – 17%
3. Milwaukee Bucks – 10%
Who will win the 2021-22 Kia MVP?
1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 37%
2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 33%
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 13%
Which team made the best overall moves this offseason?
1. Miami Heat – 47%
2. Los Angeles Lakers – 17%
3. Brooklyn Nets – 7%
3. Houston Rockets – 7%
3. Washington Wizards – 7%
Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?
1. Kyle Lowry, Miami – 77%
2. Russell Westbrook, L.A. Lakers – 17%
Which team will be most improved in 2021-22?
1. Chicago Bulls – 27%
2. Golden State Warriors – 13%
Los Angeles Lakers – 13%
3. Charlotte Hornets – 10%
Who will win the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year?
1. Jalen Green, Houston – 47%
2. Cade Cunningham, Detroit – 40%
3. Jalen Suggs, Orlando – 7%
Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
1. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 55%
2. Monty Williams, Phoenix – 17%
3. Quin Snyder, Utah – 14%
Which team has the best home-court advantage?
1. Utah Jazz – 47%
2. Denver Nuggets – 20%
3. New York Knicks – 10%
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