Week 4 of the NBA season is in the books and it belonged to Steph Curry and the Warriors who continue to sit at the top of the standings. The Hawks, on the other hand, remain grounded as they struggle to stay locked in.
The Atlanta Hawks came into the season as a team most assumed would feature in the playoffs. They certainly did…
Trae Young on the difficulty of sacrificing early in the season: "I think guys are learning that. We're no longer the hunters. It's regular season. I'm not going to lie, it's a lot more boring than the playoffs. You got to find that motivation to play like the playoffs."
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) November 5, 2021
Trae Young has talked about the regular season being boring and needing to find the motivation to play like the playoffs. Perhaps the motivation to make the playoffs might help?
The Hawks are 4-9 for 13th in the Eastern Conference and have lost six games on the bounce. Their offence is only middling while only two teams are playing with a worse defensive rating right now. We knew the Hawks were going to sacrifice defence for points when putting the team together last season. They finished up 21st in defence but eighth in offence to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. However, if you’re taking it easy on the defensive side of the ball, a middling offence won’t cut it.
It looks as though the Hawks have been found out. They’re now at $1.65 to miss the playoffs.
The Chicago Bulls are good, they’re fun, and Alex Caruso is finally getting the credit he deserves. Now out of the blinding purple and gold uniform that impacts the way most people view a player, Caruso has played a key part in Chicago’s 8-4 start to the season.
Lakers fans do not turn on the Bulls game and shield your eyes if any highlights appear in your line of vision. I am trying to do you a favor. You have been warned.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 11, 2021
His 8.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game don’t jump off the page. Caruso’s best work has never featured prominently in the box score, though. He’s an energy guy. A glue guy. Whatever needs to happen on that night or that possession, Caruso is there to fill the role. Chicago needed a few points against the Dallas Mavericks during the week and Caruso provided by knocking down six of his seven shots for 16 points.
The Bulls don’t appear to be slowing down. DeMar DeRozan is proving to be an excellent foil for Zach LaVine and the Bulls’ top ten defence is doing a good job around them most nights. While the Milwaukee Bucks are still $1.33 favourites to win the Central Division, there is some appeal to Chicago’s $3.75. Milwaukee have been slow to start at 6-7 and still have injuries and a long season to work through. Championship contenders, it won’t be a surprise to see them take a careful approach to injuries and lose games they otherwise would have won.
Steph Curry has shortened into $3.40 and is the favourite to win the Most Valuable Player award this season.
Averaging 28.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists and shooting 40% from beyond the arc, the 33-year-old has dragged the Golden State Warriors to an NBA-best 11-1 record to start the season.
Draymond Green is throwing his hat in the ring for Defensive Player of the Year at $18 while spearheading Golden State’s 99.2 defensive rating (1st). When tasked with doing what he does best while Curry takes control of the offence, Green is playing his best basketball in years. Add Jordan Poole and Anthony Wiggins dropping 17 points per game, Damion Lee, Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala competing off the bench and a deep rotation that runs 10 or 11 deep every night, and you’ve got an unexpected championship contender in the Warriors.
James Wiseman and Klay Thompson remained back in the Bay Area during this Warriors road trip. Rick Celebrini and a few coaches are there. The team will bring players into the facility to scrimmage with both. Advancing to 5-on-5 full contact is expectation. Big step for both.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 14, 2021
What about Washington?
It’s early days, but they’re one of the most interesting teams in the NBA right now. They’re stacked with talent – plenty of which is tradable should the right player become available. Remarkably, in a squad boasting so much offensive talent, the Wizards are fourth in defensive rating giving up just 103.4 points per 100 possessions.
With two games against the Miami Heat to come later in the week, we’re going to get a good idea of where this team is at and whether or not this early-season form might be real.
NBA Against The Spread Standings
The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to surprise to have covered the spread in seven of their last eight games. Unsurprisingly, the Atlanta Hawks are at the bottom of the pile following their disappointing start to the season.
After Week 4
|Top 10||Bottom 10|
|Cleveland (10-3-1)||Houston (5-6-1)|
|Golden State (8-3-1)||Toronto (6-8)|
|Miami (9-4)||New Orleans (6-8)|
|Chicago (8-4)||Detroit (5-7)|
|Washington (8-4)||Portland (5-8)|
|Phoenix (7-4)||Dallas (4-8)|
|Oklahoma City (7-4)||Orlando (4-9)|
|LA Clippers (7-5)||LA Lakers (4-9)|
|San Antonio (7-5)||Minnesota (3-9)|
|Boston (7-5-1)||Atlanta (3-10)|