According to oddsmakers at BetOnline, the Los Angeles Lakers have the best odds (2/1) of winning the Western Conference title. Next, the Golden State Warriors possess the second-best odds (9/2), followed by the Phoenix Suns (15/2), Los Angeles Clippers (8/1), Utah Jazz (8/1) and other teams. In the 2020-21 NBA season, the Lakers finished 42-30 (.583), ranking third in the Pacific Division and seventh overall in the Western Conference. Additionally, the Lakers have the second-best odds (+325) of winning their eighteenth championship next season, trailing the Brooklyn Nets (+290).
The Warriors have the fourth-best odds (+1100) of winning the 2022 NBA Finals. While all teams have to deal with injuries at some point, it is definitely true that injuries contributed to derailing the Lakers’ 2020-21 season. In May, LeBron James suffered an ankle injury. After their 100-92 Game 4 loss against Phoneix, Anthony Davis sustained a left groin injury, sidelining him for Game 5. Davis returned for Game 6, but this was a poor decision, considering he limped off the court after playing for only five minutes. The Lakers lost their first-round playoff series four games to two against the Suns.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 16, 2021
In the offseason, the Lakers drafted Isaiah Jackson 22nd overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. However, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft night. Plus, via a sign-and-trade, Russell Westbrook was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Lakers, and the organization shopped Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell.
As for the Golden State Warriors, with a record of 39-33 (.542), they ended their 2020-21 season ranking fourth in the Pacific Division and ninth overall in the Western Conference. On July 29, they drafted 18-year-old Congolese player Jonathan Kuminga seventh overall. The organization also drafted Arkansas Razorback Moses Moody 14th overall. Then, point guard Stephen Curry signed a four-year, $215 million extension on August 6, 2021. Four days later, Andre Iguodala signed a deal to return to the team.
2021-22 NBA Western Conference Teams
Western Conference Team Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||2/1|
|Golden State Warriors||9/2|
|Los Angeles Clippers||8/1|
|Portland Trail Blazers||28/1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||33/1|
|San Antonio Spurs||125/1|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||150/1|