Everyone is an underdog now
The early playoffs have been tough to favorites
BY DAVID THORPE
Now that every team has played four games, we know less than ever about who’ll win the 2021 NBA title.
That’s not normal. Usually more games are clarifying. This year, every team has known flaws. Almost every team has profound injury concerns.
One of them will hoist a trophy in July anyway. Here’s how we see the contenders right now:
20% LIKELY TO WIN IT ALL
Can they execute the defensive game plan?
Will Jeff Green play?
Almost exactly a year ago we gave the Lakers a strong edge to win it all, thanks to a clear identity as gritty, smash-mouthed defenders. They knew what they were, which mattered more than ever in a focus-draining pandemic.
The Nets might be the bizarro Lakers. They’re terrible at defense. But they know what they are. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving form the best trio of playmakers in basketball history. Joe Harris led the league in 3-point percentage at 47.5 percent. In the regular season, they had the best offense…