We’re into the middling period of the 2021-22 NBA season but that hasn’t stopped Nikola Jokic from dominating. It has halted Chicago’s rise, though.
Los Angeles Leakers
The stories are starting to come out…
The Russell Westbrook trade is a disaster. Anybody that had seen him play in recent years saw it coming, but Anthony Davis and LeBron James apparently missed it. They have been identified as the reason Westbrook ended up in purple and gold instead of Buddy Hield – undoubtedly the better fit.
Leaks started to appear once Westbrook had been benched in the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Indiana Pacers.
I love this so much. They’re determined to make Vogel the scapegoat for the dumb Westbrook trade and a broken roster, and he knows it, so he’s going down swinging. https://t.co/GvIhJSGVbi
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 20, 2022
His shooting is diabolical, defence non-existent and he simply doesn’t make the right plays late in a game often enough to warrant being out there. Frank Vogel knows that, but there isn’t much he can do about it.
Davis, James and the Lakers front office have made their bed and now must lie in it.
They’re now out to $18 to get out of it to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
We know better than to think that any Steph Curry shooting slump is going to last longer than a couple of weeks. He’s the greatest shooter of all time and the current $2.88 favourite to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award. But even while shooting a sub-standard 6-for-21, he dropped a buzzer-beater to secure the Golden State Warriors 105-103 win over the Houston Rockets.
Steph Curry tonight:
— Scored 22 points
— Dished 12 assists
— Made first career buzzer beater
— Sent countless tweets back to the drafts pic.twitter.com/PxPqEWbsU5
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 22, 2022
Remarkably, it’s the first game-winner Curry has hit on the buzzer…
Bulls Breaking Down
The Chicago Bulls have surprised the league to be the number one team in the Eastern Conference at the halfway point of the NBA season.
However, they’re at risk of falling back into the pack. Zach LaVine is already sitting on the sideline while Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball have recently joined him. That’s half of their on-fire offensive duo unavailable and both parts of Chicago’s excellent perimeter defence missing.
The Bulls rank 8th in offensive rating and 17th in defensive rating. A regression was expected but has been accelerated by the recent injury issues which have seen the Bulls play with the 14th ranked offence and a dismal 29th-ranked defence across the last two weeks. Losers of six of their last eight games, there are now questions around whether or not this injury-ravaged group will fall as far down the standings that they become part of the play-in tournament.
Value In The Suns
Does anybody know that the Phoenix Suns are 3.5 games in front of the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the NBA?
Say whatever you like about their run to the NBA Finals last season. Yeah, it was a little flukey. They’re more than riding the wave this season, though. The Suns are genuinely elite, Devin Booker is doing whatever he needs to win, Chris Paul doesn’t get injured anymore, Deandre Ayton wants his bag, and the supporting cast are happy to do just that – support.
This team is so, so good, yet they don’t seem to rate much of a mention as the NBA world scrambles around the chaos in Los Angeles or the injury issues plaguing the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets.
The Suns are an NBA-best 36-9, on an NBA-best win streak of 6 games, with a top-5 offense and top-5 defense and an NBA-best point differential
— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) January 23, 2022
Only getting better, the Suns are second in both offence and defence over the last two weeks. They’ve won six on the bounce and nine of their last ten. What does this group need to do to earn some respect?
Assuming it will come eventually, now looks like the time to consider their $8.50 to win the NBA championship.
NBA MVP Odds Update
Nikola Jokic posted a 49-point triple-double this week…
He’s carving up almost every offensive metric the NBA has to offer and it’s only the record of the Denver Nuggets that is keeping him from MVP favouritism. If he can string together a winning streak and lift the Nuggets up the standings, Jokic’s price won’t be at $5.50 for long.