It was all much of the same in the NBA this week: The Lakers are still bad, SGA is still on fire, and Irving still isn’t adding enough on the court.

Lakers Going From Bad To Worse

The Los Angeles Lakers are going from bad to worse. Now 2-10, things are going so poorly for the storied franchise that calls to trade away LeBron James are growing louder.

First of all, that isn’t happening.

The Lakers would need a haul of picks to even consider the trade. No team – not even a contender – is going to give up their future for a year or two of old LeBron James. He’s still one of the best players in the league, but not one you move picks on for right now. Failing that, a potential trade partner would then need to give up a collection of top-level talent. Why would they do that?

While the calls to trade James are rather silly, they do paint the picture of where the Lakers are at right now. So too does an awful passage at the end of their recent loss to the Sacramento Kings. Poor clock management, non-existent defence and just a general display of ineptitude saw the Lakers start to blow a double-digit lead and perfectly sum them up as a team. They’re capable in defence, but the lack of offence soon translates into a lack of effort without the ball and an eventual loss.

Everybody knows the first move that needs to happen if things are to improve any time soon…

As it stands, the Lakers are $2.98 outsiders to make the playoffs.

Superstar Shai

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is rising towards superstar status.

He has been ballin’ all season, but when you do it against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, people really start to take notice.

SGA scored 21 points in the third quarter alone as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Knicks 145-135 in New York. He finished up with 37 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a performance that has him as the favourite for the Most Improved Player award at $2.88.

His numbers are incredible:

31.1 points
5.7 assists
4.4 rebounds
2.1 steals
1.5 blocks
54% shooting from the field
93% shooting from the line

There is a long way to go. Somebody will make a late-season run to put themselves into the mind of voters later in the season. However, should he continue to keep up this level of play, Gilgeous-Alexander will end up holding the Most Improved Player award.

Nets Continue To Struggle

Kyrie Irving continues to be one of the most ineffective superstars in the NBA while sitting in the stands suspended. While plenty predicted big things for Ben Simmons to start his career, he is a long way off superstar production and status. Instead, 34-year-old Kevin Durant is keeping the Brooklyn Nets afloat by being the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988-89 to start an NBA season with 13 straight games scoring 25 points or more. Even then, the Nets have only won six of their 13 games to be 9th in the Eastern Conference.

There has been widespread speculation about Irving retiring after his latest drama. We’ve moved beyond the ‘he will come good’ stage of Simmons’ career, too. As things slowly start to look better on the court as key contributors return from injury, there is still a lot of water to go under the bridge before the Nets are considered contenders for the NBA championship. Right now, they’re on the sixth line of betting at $12.

Futures Bet Of The Week

We’ve mentioned before that it will be incredibly difficult for Nikola Jokic to overcome voter fatigue to win another Most Valuable Player award.

However, while averaging 21.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game, and with his Denver Nuggets 5th in the Western Conference, $34 appeals. His numbers aren’t quite what they were when winning the award, but breaking records and producing highlights every night will keep him in the mind of voters until his numbers catch up.

It’s a long shot, but early enough to get on given his history of sustaining a high level of play throughout a whole NBA season.

Curry Watch

“While the league average appears to be going down this season, Steph Curry is still putting up 12.3 per game – the second most he’s averaged per game throughout his career. He only needs to put up another 28 and he will pass Ray Allen for the most three-point attempts in NBA history with 7,429.” Best Three-Point Shooters Of All Time

With Curry now up to 7,424 three-point attempts throughout his NBA career, the record will fall this week.

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.

No changes to the Top 10 NBA championship contenders this week…

All remains the same form Week 3 as the league works through a rather uneventful week. Brooklyn’s $12 might be the most appealing of them all considering the play of Durant and the slow improvement of results. They look better overall, even if Irving is there at all and Simmons is little more than a warm body.

Top 10 Odds

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