The Warriors and Suns top the standings after Week 6 of the NBA season while the 76ers recieved a much-needed boost with Joel Embiid returning to the floor.
Knicks On The Fringes
The New York Knicks surprised everybody to finish 4th in the Eastern Conference last season. However, in their quest to improve on their 23rd-ranked offence last season, they’ve taken a hit defensively. The Knicks played with the third-best defensive rating in the NBA last season but are down to 19th to start 2021-22. Already on the fringes of a playoff spot at 8th in the East with a 10-9 record, the Knicks are at $1.99 to miss the playoffs.
It’s an appealing number when you consider the Philadelphia 76ers ($1.13 to make the playoffs) and Boston Celtics ($1.57) – both expected to improve to the point they make the playoffs – are currently below them on the standings.
New York can circle a handful of areas of concern, but none more so than the sub-par play of Kemba Walker.
Kemba Walker’s last 10 games:
He’s averaging a career low 11.4 PPG on the season pic.twitter.com/jAVKTFjQaT
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) November 24, 2021
He has struggled mightily to start the season and hasn’t provided them with the veteran consistency and control of the offence many had hoped he would. The 31-year-old is averaging a career-low 11.7 points on 42.9% shooting this season. Remarkably, that mark is above his career average of 41.9% which suggests expectations may have been set a little bit too high for a player that hasn’t cracked 60+ games since 2018-19.
The Houston Rockets are the worst team in the NBA at 2-16 this season.
While it’s all well and good to call it a rebuilding period and a time for young players to develop, losing at such a rate can be detrimental to a players career. There is only so much you can learn on the end of a thrashing. He’s not going to change their fortunes and propel them into playoff contention, but John Wall’s possible return will at least provide opposing teams with a problem on offence.
Houston Rockets guard John Wall has expressed his hopes to the organization that he can resume playing for the team in the near future, sources tell ESPN. Story soon.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 27, 2021
He hasn’t played this season. Wall wants to be traded away from Houston, and while he seemed happy to sit to start the season, a lack of action in the trade department has triggered talks of a return to the court. At the very least, Wall can put himself in the shop window every night and provide the Rockets with some quality on the court.
Nothing is set in stone just yet. A return to the floor doesn’t seem far away, though.
Warriors: Still Winning
The Golden State Warriors went unbeaten throughout the week to move to 17-2 for the best record in the NBA.
Their latest winning streak stands at five entering Week 7 of the season.
Positive news surrounding Klay Thompson’s possible return before Christmas in conjunction with the five-game winning streak has seen Golden State’s price to win the championship shorten from $7.50 last week to $7 at the time of writing. Still, the Brooklyn Nets remain as $3.60 favourites despite the uncertainty around their superstars.
Top 5 Championship Chances
It must be one of the quietest 16-game winning streaks in NBA history.
The Phoenix Suns aren’t leading many conversations around winning the championship. They fell just short last season and have the second-best record in the NBA to start this one, yet they’re out on the seventh line of betting to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy – behind an unconvincing Lakers team ($11) – at $14.
The Phoenix Suns have not lost in a full calendar month.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) November 28, 2021
Chris Paul continues to keep Father Time at arms length while Devin Booker is thriving now that he finally has support around him. Deandre Ayton has put his preseason contract issues behind him while Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder round out an excellent starting five that can score on anybody and defend their own basket just as well. JaVale McGee, Cameron Payne, Frank Kaminsky, Cameron Johnson and Landry Shamet provide quality off the bench to ensure the Suns are a threat for 48 minutes a night.
It wasn’t long ago that the Suns were a sorry franchise towards the bottom of the West. One successful season later and their superb start barely rates a mention around the Warriors hype train, controversy at the Nets and potential disaster to the west in Laker Land.
Are they flying under the radar because people expected them to be good? Or, do most anticipate they will crumble sooner rather than later?
Joel Embiid returned to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup after missing nine games in health and safety protocols.
Joel Embiid first game back:
The Timberwolves shot 16 free throws as a team. pic.twitter.com/mIs96WCWh3
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 28, 2021