After missing the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2013 the Toronto Raptors have opened well back of the favourites on the 2022 NBA championship odds, listed as a lengthy +8000 wager on those betting futures at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Forced to play all of their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, the Raptors particularly stumbled through the second half of this past year's pandemic-shortened 72-game campaign. Fueled by a dismal 1-10 straight-up run to close out their schedule, the team mustered just 10 wins over their final 38 contests to end the season with a 27-45 straight-up record.
That proved to be only good enough to finish in 12th place in the Eastern Conference standings, six games back of a berth in the league's play-in tournament.
In addition to searching for answers as to why things went so wrong for a team just two seasons removed from their first-ever NBA championship win, the Raptors brass also faces some hard personnel decisions over the offseason. Most notable among those is whether or not to bring back team leader Kyle Lowry.
The 35-year-old Lowry has emerged as the heart and soul of the Raptors since arriving in Toronto back in 2012, and remained a key contributor this past season despite appearing in just 46 games. However, with the Raptors facing the prospect of a rebuild following this past season's poor performance, and Lowry poised to cash in as an unrestricted free agent this summer, the six-time NBA All-Star's time with the team might be over.
Further complicating matters for the Raptors is the expected continued improvement next season of key conference rivals. Among those are the Brooklyn Nets, who enter the offseason set as strong +300 favourites at sports betting sites to raise the trophy next season.
The Nets opened atop those odds despite failing to fulfill the promise as championship favourites this past season with an early playoff exit. Improved health would go a long way to boosting Brooklyn's fortunes. The Nets were devastated by injuries to key personnel this past season. Most notable among those was Kevin Durant, who was limited to just 35 games, but enters the offseason among the NBA MVP favourites for next year as a +700 wager.
The Los Angeles Lakers sit second to the Nets on the 2022 NBA championship odds at +550, ahead of the newly crowned champion Milwaukee Bucks at +900. The Golden State Warriors sit at +1200 on those NBA odds, followed by the Phoenix Suns, who sport +1500 odds of claiming their first title. Three teams sit deadlocked at +1800 including the Los Angeles Clippers, the Utah Jazz, and the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Denver Nuggets at +2000.