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Longshot Bets for 2012-13 Worth Considering (but only for discussion and fun, of course)

It's a longshot, but Andrew Bynum could turn out to be the piece that changes the Eastern landscape.If you want to put some money down on the upcoming NBA season, at least make it interesting and go for something other than the Heat, Lakers, or Thunder to win it all. Go for something with a serious payout. Go for a longshot.


Below are the odds for various team and player accomplishments this season, with a look at the obvious frontrunners and—more importantly—the longshots worth considering. All odds are courtesy of offshore betting site Bovada.



NBA Championship

Top 6
Miami Heat, 9/4

LA Lakers, 11/4
OKC Thunder, 17/4
Boston Celtics, 16/1
Chicago Bulls, 16/1
SA Spurs, 16/1

Longshots Worth Considering
LA Clippers at 25/1: The Clippers have a starting lineup with tons of firepower (Paul, Crawford, Butler, Griffin, Jordan), two legit superstars who can earn some of those questionable playoff calls that always help the star-laden teams that advance, the return of Chauncey Billups in November or December, the addition of looks-to-have-his-life-back-together Lamar Odom who can do wonders for a frontcourt, and they reside in the most bottom-heavy division of all-time. If everyone stays healthy (big if), LAC has enough things going for it in order to topple an elite club, especially if someone like Dwight Howard or Kevin Durant is injured.

Indiana Pacers at 30/1: Indy has a sneaky good starting lineup, one of only 2-3 legit good centers in the East which can always cause problems for Miami, a few decent backups (including the seldom talked about Ian Mahinmi), and one of the NBA's best young coaches in Frank Vogel. The Bulls lost a lot more than just Derrick Rose and Boston could go either direction this year, so a hot Indy team in May and June could pose issues for the small-ball Heat.


Philadelphia 76ers at 50/1: They now have the East's best center (Bynum), best back-up center (Hawes), an emerging PG fans love who shoots 3's (Holiday), a talented do-it-all wing still coming into his own (Turner), an athletic freak who makes things happen at both ends of the floor (TYoung), and about 3 other guys who could lead the team in scoring on any given night (Richardson, NYoung, Wright). They have enough going on that no one would be blown away if they win the Atlantic and slide into the Eastern Championship series with Miami, who Philly actually matches up with well considering they have two good centers.




Top 8
LeBron James, 9/5
Kevin Durant, 15/4
Kobe Bryant, 12/1
Russell Westbrook, 16/1
Dwight Howard, 16/1
Steve Nash, 16/1
Chris Paul, 20/1
Dwyane Wade, 22/1


Longshots Worth Considering
Deron Williams at 25/1: The Nets first season in Brooklyn is going to be the major storyline of the season, and the MVP Award is often based on little more than a good storyline. The Nets have bulked up their lineup, Williams is clearly the team's best player and should have a chance at some good numbers, and the Nets just might be a top-3 team in the East if everything goes well. If voters and fans continue to get occasionally stupid about how clearly-much-more-valuable-than-everyone-else LeBron James is, the Laker players all cancel each other out on the voting, and Durant decides it's still a good idea to not demand the ball more from PG-wants-to-be-a-SG Westbrook while sacrificing some shots to Harden so that he remains in OKC, annnnnd Brooklyn has a first season worth remembering, Williams just might get some late-season buzz.


Rajon Rondo at 28/1: If Rondo again leads the league in assists (probable), Boston comes up with one of the East's top-4 records (possible), KG and Pierce again take it somewhat easy during the regular season in order to save their bodies for the playoffs (likely), Rondo scores more with the absence of Ray Allen (probable), again tops the NBA in steals like he did in 2009-10 (unlikely but possible), and can get the national pundits talking about his triple-doubles by either recording one in a big win over a contender (like he did April 1 over Miami) or recording consecutive ones at some point, he could land the MVP Award.

Andrew Bynum at 40/1: If the Sixers have the type of really strong season they showed last year they were capable of, Bynum is a major reason for it after team leader Andre Iguodala got dealt to Denver, he starts in the All-Star Game, plus he has at least 3 really strong showings throughout the year in wins against the Heat, Thunder, and/or Lakers, Bynum's value on a pretender-turned-contender (at least in perception) should get some notice. Assuming he dominates the other Eastern centers while Philly shows improvement, Bynum could make a case for himself if some of the frontrunners don't turn in the type of seasons they're expected to.



Rookie of the Year

Not exactly a longshot, Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas deserves a lot more ROY buzz than he's gotten so far.Top 8
Anthony Davis, 19/10
Damian Lillard, 11/2
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 9/1
Thomas Robinson, 19/2
Bradley Beal, 10/1
Harrison Barnes, 12/1
Jonas Valanciunas, 12/1
Dion Waiters, 15/1

Longshots Worth Considering
Kendall Marshall at 25/1: Marshall knows how to rack up assists, and although he's currently a back-up behind Goran Dragic, if he manages to work his way into Phoenix's starting lineup he could easily end up as the rookie with the most assists per game. Very few rookies have a chance to play an integral role for a contender, so being able to lead all the first-year guys in one of the glory stats could carry a lot of weight.


Jared Sullinger at 30/1: Some blogger recently wrote “very few rookies have a chance to play an integral role for a contender” -- well Sullinger is a rookie who has that chance. It now looks like he'll start at PF over Brandon Bass for the Celtics, he'll have a chance to score some points considering Garnett and Pierce aren't particularly concerned about their stats and Rondo doesn't like to shoot very much, he could conceivably be the leading rookie rebounder, and he now has none other than KG as his personal mentor. If it comes down to Anthony Davis (or Jonas Valanciunas) putting up slightly better stats for a considerably worse team up against what Sullinger is capable of, Boston's rookie may win it.


Andre Drummond at 30/1: I still think Drummond is a bust in the long-run who will never live up to the potential of his immense physical skills, but the first-year Piston is also going to play a lot this year considering how bad Detroit is and how high of a draft pick he was. If Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, and Jonas Valanciunas don't post particularly good rebounding numbers and Drummond can average at least 6 rpg with the occasional SportsCenter-hyped 15 boards outburst, plus maybe lead the rookies in blocks while unwisely swinging for everything, Drummond's surface-level stats could look impressive enough to win this thing.


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