The 2022-23 NBA season has tipped off in typically exciting fashion but two teams, in particular, haven’t started in the way most expected.

Jokic Watch

As if you need an excuse to watch Nikola Jokic play basketball, he could be making history the next time you do.

He has picked up back-to-back triple-doubles to start this NBA season.

@ Warriors: 26 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists
vs Thunder: 19 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists

Soon enough, he will have the most triple-doubles by a centre in NBA history.

The Denver Nuggets are in the group of teams we know are good, but aren’t sure about as championship contenders. However, it Jokic keeps playing like this, it won’t be long before they’re up there with the top teams in the league.

Simmons On Debut

Ben Simmons made his Brooklyn Nets debut and it… didn’t go well.

He somewhat bounced back in his second game to record six points, ten rebounds and eight assists. An excellent defensive player, he picked up two blocks against the Raptors, too. However, it looks as though it’s going to take a while for Simmons to find his place in this Nets lineup.

“Ten rebounds, eight assists, couple blocks. He’s starting to show the player he can be, and I think he’s still got a ways to go. Really proud of him. He shook off a first night and I thought was much more aggressive,” said Steve Nash.

He isn’t required to pile up points, but that “starting” Nash mentioned is likely to do with his scoring. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will get theirs, but Simmons at least becoming a threat will make their job a lot easier. While it hasn’t been a pretty start to the NBA season, Brooklyn’s $9 to win the championship is worth considering.

Shock: Westbrook Still Isn’t Working In LA

It feels like a matter of time before the Los Angeles Lakers cut their losses and trade Russell Westbook. Anybody with any sense of the NBA knew this move wouldn’t pay off. Remarkably, it has gone worse than even the biggest skeptics predicted.

The Lakers front office needs to accept that the picks they’re hoping to keep will have to go if they don’t want to waste another year of LeBron James and Anthony Davis together. Last year was bad enough even with the excuse of injuries. They can’t spend another season trying to convince Westbrook to buy in and produce effective basketball. History suggests – and it did before the deal – that he’s not going to change his ways.

With how bad he has been and the likelihood that they make a move sooner or later, the current $36 for the Lakers to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy could look mighty fine later in the season.

Horror Starts For Jazz & 76ers

Things couldn’t be going worse for the Utah Jazz (2-0) and Philadelphia 76ers (0-3).

For the Jazz, they don’t want to win games. They’re deep into the tank for Victor Wembanyama but have picked up back-to-back wins to start the season. Two early wins won’t rule them out of the #1 seed – we’ve still got 80 games to play. But with FiveThirtyEight currently predicting a 41-41 season, the trading of the remaining competent pieces might happen a lot sooner than expected.

Meanwhile, the 76ers are at the opposite end of the concern. They were – and still are – expected to be NBA contenders but have started the season with three consecutive losses.

Joel Embiid isn’t concerned.

“Like I said before the season, it’s gonna take time to get everybody on the same page. Yeah, we’ll be fine.”

Like a lot of people said before the season, concerns around James Harden’s fit are only growing. He scored 12 points on 18 shots in their latest loss. In the season opener, we caught a glimpse of ‘that Harden’. You know, the dribble mindlessly for 12 seconds before hoisting up a prayer, Harden. Or, and you’ll have seen the video circulating on social media by now, the dropping of a defender, the shake of the shoulders, and a shot that barely hit the backboard, Harden.

*insert any dismissive early-season struggles statement you like here*

The 76ers will more than likely be fine. Still, it’s worth exploring the $1.87 for them to finish with Under 50.5 wins.

Futures Bet of the Week

Ten players are averaging over 30 points per game at the moment, but it’s Luka Doncic that I think is the most likely to keep it up throughout the NBA season.

The Dallas Mavericks guard is averaging 33.5 points per game across his first two. It’s a small sample, obviously. It’s unlikely that he keeps it up quite this high throughout the whole season. However, it is likely that he leads the NBA in usage rate – just as he does now at 39.2%. Again, that’s a high number that isn’t expected to stick. It’s a number so high that it would see Doncic record the third-highest usage rate in NBA history.

As the numbers start to level out and look more normal, Doncic’s usage rate will remain towards the top of the list. It’s safe to assume he’s towards the top of the points per game list as a result.

Behind Joel Embiid ($4.50) and Giannis Antetkounmpo ($5.20), Doncic’s current $5.30 is the price to get on.

Tip: 2022-23 Points Per Game Leader – Luka Doncic @ $5.30

 

NBA Championship Odds

We don’t need to check in on the teams towards the bottom of the NBA championship list. Here, we keep an eye on those inside the Top 10 each week.

There hasn’t been a lot of movement away from the preseason championship odds after the first week of the NBA season. Surprisingly, the 76ers have come into $13 from $17 despite their horror start. Meanwhile, two of the big contenders in the LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors have shortened slightly into $7.50.

The Memphis Grizzlies are one to watch at $23. Ja Morant has started the season in outrageous fashion. Surely he can’t keep it up… But if he can do it through to Christmas, that price won’t last for long.

Top 10 Odds

TEAMPRESEASON PRICEWEEK 1 PRICE
Milwaukee Bucks$7.50$6.50
Boston Celtics$7$7
Golden State Warriors$8$7.50
LA Clippers$8$7.50
Brooklyn Nets$8$9
Phoenix Suns$11$12
Philadelphia 76ers$17$13
Miami Heat$19$18
Denver Nuggets$18$19
Memphis Grizzlies$23$26

 

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