As if Covid isn’t making the 2020-21 NBA season crazy enough, we added a blockbuster trade to the conversation this week.
Nets Shorten For Championship
You’d have had to be living under a rock to not have seen this one coming or the commentary once the trigger had finally been pulled.
Brooklyn has granted James Harden's wish to be reunited with Kevin Durant with the Nets. Huge haul for the Rockets, but the Nets were determined to get another All-NBA player in his prime — and get him with Harden. KD, Harden … and Kyrie Irving.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
Now the questions:
How do Harden, Durant and Irving play together?
Does Irving play? Is he traded for defence and depth?
Can they produce a top 10 defence – a requirement for most NBA champions over the last 20 years?
We’re not going to know the answers for quite some time, but that hasn’t stopped the markets from reacting. Brooklyn’s odds halved following the Harden trade. They’re now on the second line of betting behind the Los Angeles Lakers ($3.60) at $4.20 to win the 2020-21 NBA Finals.
Harden’s Nets – Looking Good
If James Harden’s first game in a Brooklyn Nets uniform is anything to go by, they’re going to be an almighty offensive team. He posted a triple-double in his debut to lead the Nets to a 122-115 win over the Orlando Magic.
James Harden is the first player in NBA history with a 30-point triple-double in his debut.
That’s also the most assists in a Nets debut ever. pic.twitter.com/hFRUTFOf1H
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 17, 2021
Scarily, Kevin Durant also added 42 points, four rebounds and five assists to continue his incredible start to the season. It’s a sign of his greatness that he has managed to seamlessly return from a long-term injury to make an impact on a new team, and for it to fly relatively low under the radar.
List of the most points scored by a player in their first 10 games with a new team in NBA history:
371 points – Wilt Chamberlain – Philadelphia Warriors (10/24-11/15/59) – the first 10 games of his NBA career.
307 points – Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets (12/22-1/16/21) via Nets.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) January 17, 2021
Look out, NBA. The Nets are coming.
A return from injury hasn’t been quite as promising for Kemba Walker.
He had just nine points on 3-13 shooting in the Boston Celtics’ embarrassing 105-75 loss at the hands of the New York Knicks. Dealing with Covid-related outs and a disrupted schedule, the Celtics laid an egg and gave up what should have been a regulation W to a Knicks team that has started to come back down to earth following their hot start.
Out at $19 in the championship market, the Celtics have a lot of work to do if they’re to be a player in the Eastern Conference by the end of the regular season.
We’re at the point of the NBA season where we usually have an early bolter for the Most Valuable Player Award. The sort that probably won’t win it, but that some people talk up to make the whole conversation a little more interesting. In reality, it’s likely to be either the back-to-back winner Giannis Antetokounmpo at $8.50, a narrative-fitting Kevin Durant at $8, or MVP-in-waiting Luka Doncic at $5.
Nikola Jokic ($6.50), Steph Curry ($8.50), Joel Embiid ($9.50) and LeBron James ($10) are all putting forward cases to at least be considered to start the season. However, it will be a big surprise to see different names to those above on the first three lines of betting by the halfway point – whenever that might be…
NBA Against The Spread Standings
The Denver Nuggets split their games against the spread this week to lift themselves off the bottom of the ATS ladder. A horrible 1-3 week sees the Toronto Raptors replace them as a no-go for NBA punters.
After Week 4
|Top 10||Bottom 10|
|Bulls (8-4)||Timberwolves (5-6)|
|Pacers (8-4)||Hawks (5-7)|
|Spurs (8-5)||Warriors (5-7)|
|Hornets (8-6)||Knicks (5-8)|
|Lakers (8-6)||Kings (5-8)|
|Celtics (7-4)||Heat (4-7)|
|Suns (7-4)||Rockets (4-7)|
|Mavericks (7-4)||Pelicans (4-7)|
|Pistons (7-5)||Nuggets (4-8)|
|Thunders (7-5)||Raptors (3-9)|