Injuries defined Week 3 of the 2022-23 NBA season while the latest Kyrie Irving situation started to come to a long overdue end.

The Kyrie Situation Continues

Whatever Kyrie Irving manages to do on the basketball court doesn’t make up for the baggage he brings off it right now.

His latest off-court crusade has been well-documented by now. As it stands, he’s once again on the Brooklyn Nets bench and not contributing to what has been a poor start to their NBA season.

Things aren’t about to get any easier with Steve Nash also away from the team. As the expected scapegoat, the Nets fired Nash early last week. Although, it has since been said the decision was “mutual.” Regardless of how they got there, Nash has been moved on after going 94-67 with this team.

All things considered, Nash did relatively well with the cards he was dealt. If you could pick three players difficult to deal with at the moment, Irving, James Harden and Ben Simmons are on the podium. It always felt like Nash’s ceiling was relatively low as a coach but he wasn’t given much of a chance throughout his tenure in Brooklyn.

Injuries Strike

James Harden has played out a solid start to the 2022-23 NBA season but is expected to miss the next month with a right foot tendon strain.

The 33-year-old has averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and ten assists across his nine games this season. He seems to have carved out a role in the team to allow Joel Embiid to lead and Tyrese Maxey to continue in his development towards NBA stardom. While Harden still has some head-scratching moments in him, he’s a big loss for a 4-6 Philadelphia 76ers team that can’t quite get a roll on just yet. They’re out to $19 in the championship market.

The Toronto Raptors, on the other hand, have exceeded expectations to be 5th in the Eastern Conference nine games into the season. Pascal Siakam’s MVP-level form has been the major contributor.

Siakam has been superb for his 24.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. He’s the touch of quality in a fairly stacked Raptors team. They have managed to win games without Fred VanVleet with Christian Koloko and O.G. Anunoby picking up the slack. Siakam’s production can’t be replaced, though. His injury will put a handbrake on their season and it remains to be seen whether or not the Cameroonian can hit the ground running like an MVP upon his return.

Still, the Raptors are at $1.17 to make the NBA playoffs.

Futures Bet of the Week

The Milwaukee Bucks are the only unbeaten team remaining in the NBA at 9-0. We took their $6 to win the championship last week and now we’re zeroing in on just how they have started so well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the $4.50 favourite to win the Most Valuable Player award. His play has obviously been crucial to how well the Bucks have started. However, it’s their 1st-ranked defence that laid the platform for their winning start. Brook Lopez is at the base of that defence.

Few big men come close to Lopez and his ability to play the angles and limit the space an offence has to move. Only Ivica Zubac averages more blocks than Lopez’s 2.6 per game. Per Adam Spinella at The Box and One, “a five-man lineup of Jevon Carter, Jrue Holliday, Grayson Allen, Antetokounmpo and Lopez is holding opponents to only 37.2% shooting in 81 minutes.”

It takes time for the Defensive Player of the Year award to start rating a mention. Unlike the MVP, it’s not one that is talked about all year. When voters do eventually dig into the numbers and search for their winner, they’re going to see Lopez littered throughout all of the major metrics.

Now is the time to get on him at $17.

Tip: Defensive Player of the Year – Brook Lopez @ $17

Concerns In Minny?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are our team to watch in the coming week: v Knicks, v Suns, @ Grizzlies, @ Cavaliers.

Completing a blockbuster trade for Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves have struggled with the ball to be 20th in offence scoring 110.5 points per 100 possessions. The Frenchman going nine quarters without a field goal might have something to do with it.

Gobert adds plenty to the defence – that much we know. However, their 9th-ranked defence isn’t making up for their lack of offence.

After breaking the playoff drought last season, the Timberwolves are 5-5 for 10th in the West. They’re a team to keep an eye on as they try to find the winning formula.

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.

Little has changed in the Top 10 prices in the NBA Championship list. In fact, they have remained in the same order with only minor changes in the odds.

The Phoenix Suns continue to come in following early doubts to their championship credentials. Somewhat surprisingly, the LA Clippers remain on the fifth line of betting despite not showing us much in the way of their best basketball and possible ceiling. Kawhi Leonard continues to do as little as possible as the value of consistency and cohesion goes ignored.

The Cleveland Cavaliers can’t be far away from sneaking into the Top 10. At 7-1 and looking every bit like contenders, their $23 is worth considering. Donovan Mitchell is right at home in Cleveland and gelling nicely with the young Cavaliers team.

Top 10 Odds

Boston Celtics$6$6
Milwaukee Bucks$6$6
Golden State Warriors$8$8
Los Angeles Clippers$8.50$8.50
Phoenix Suns$9.50$8.50
Brooklyn Nets$13$12
Philadelphia 76ers$15$19
Memphis Grizzlies$19$19
Miami Heat$21$21
Dallas Mavericks$21$21