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NBA World Dim On Suns, Mitchell Produces & Lakers Dismiss Ham

We’re down to eight teams in the NBA as the conference championships approach and we inch closer to crowning a champion. As it stands, the Celtics remain as favourites to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

NBA World Dim On Suns

“Ask the other 29 GMs; 26 of them would trade their whole team for our whole team, our draft picks, and everything as is,” said Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia.

Ric Bucher got in touch with a few NBA executives around the league who didn’t share the same optimism as Ishbia. In reality, they’re a top-heavy team with an aging star, one that has typically struggled to win, and another they would have to trade away picks with if they’re to shed.

“They are poorly constructed,” said one executive.

“Where is their bench? Where is their rim-protecting, shot-blocking big as a starter or off the bench? Where is a decision-making point guard as a starter or off the bench? Where is their 6’7” defensive wing? Where is a power forward who plays with size and physicality, since KD doesn’t want to play the 4? Where is their size? They are too small. All of that is essential to a winning franchise with championship aspirations.”

One of the best bets before the NBA season was “not the Suns.” Still, to limp through the regular season and barely throw a punch in the playoffs has seen them fall further below expectations than anybody expected. They didn’t once look like the $6.50 championship contenders they tipped the season off as.

Rumours are already swirling around a deal for Devin Booker. Kevin Durant is too old to move, and no team is taking Bradley Beal’s $50 million contract on his current form. The Suns, like last year, will be one of the most interesting off-season teams to follow through to October.

Mitchell Produces

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been there or thereabouts throughout the whole NBA season.

So too, have the questions around Donovan Mitchell’s contract and whether or not this experiment is worth continuing as he heads into the fourth year of his deal ahead of a 2025-26 player option.

Given what we’ve seen over the last two games as the Cavaliers advanced past the Orlando Magic in seven games, Mitchell will be in hot demand.

With 39 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 106-94 win over the Magic, Mitchell made it 89 points across the final two games of the series. It’s the most of any Cavaliers player in Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series, which includes LeBron James. Fittingly, it resulted in the first playoff series win without James for the Cavaliers since 1993.

Mitchell is a bucket-getter. He’s had big playoff performances in the past. Now he needs to do it four more times against Boston Celtics.

Cleveland will open the series as $5.25 and +10.5 underdogs in Game 1.

Bet Now NBA Playoffs: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics

Lakers Dismiss Ham

And there goes another coach of the Los Angeles Lakers…

Darvin Ham has left the building and the Lakers are on the lookout for a new coach. One that needs to simultaneously deal with an aging LeBron James while keeping a small eye on the future.

Ham showed glimpses of being that guy throughout his two-year tenure. By all accounts, he was a respected member of the team both as a person and as a coach following stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers went 90-74 throughout the NBA regular season in his two years and 9-12 in the playoffs. However, he struggled to produce any sort of consistency this season. He moved away from what had worked earlier in the season and took too long to get it back.

The Lakers held the lead for almost 70% of their series against the Denver Nuggets. It captures the potential of this team when it all clicks. However, in going down 4-1, it also captures their shortcomings. Ham’s inability to make quick adjustments, in particular.

Losing to the Nuggets in the first round is all too familiar. In the end, the Lakers showed no real improvement this season from the last, so Ham is the one to go.

Yet another new search begins for the Laker’s front office.

Timberwolves Take Game 1

Comparing anybody to Michael Jordan is risky.

It’s typically forced for clicks and engagement.

But when Anthony Edwards is doing this in big spots…

It’s difficult not to start mentioning him, just a little bit.

The Minnesota Timberwolves completed a stunning 106-99 win over the defending NBA champions Denver Nuggets in Game 1. As expected, Edwards was a standout with 43 points, seven rebounds and three assists. This Timberwolves team, who has been a surprise packet of the season so far, are capable of extending that upset to the whole series.

“Minnesota has the length to make things difficult inside and out. They play on the ball and are considered the best screen navigators in the league.” Western Conference Preview

Minny did make things difficult for Denver. It’s a testament to the MVP-in-waiting that Nikola Jokic can score 32 points along with eight rebounds and nine assists and have it considered he was held in check. Denver, in turn, didn’t have much of an answer for Edwards. He now has the second-most 35-point playoff games before turning 23 in NBA history (6), behind only Luka Doncic (7).

Despite the slump in Game 1, the Nuggets are $1.43 and -5.5 favourites to win Game 2.

Bet Now NBA Playoffs: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets

NBA Championship Odds

The Timberwolves are the big movers following their Game 1 win over the Nuggets, shortening from $11 to $7 this week. In response, the Nuggets have drifted from $3.50 out to $5.

In the East, the Celtics remain on the first line of betting to win the NBA championship at $2. With the Bucks and 76ers out of the picture, the New York Knicks are the only notable challenger $14.

TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

TEAMCURRENT PRICELAST WEEK’S PRICE
Boston Celtics$2$2.10
Denver Nuggets$5$3.50
Minnesota Timberwolves$7$11
Oklahoma City Thunder$9$11
Dallas Mavericks$10$17
New York Knicks$17$14
Bet Now NBA Futures

Related

Pacers Go Level, Celtics Bounce Back & Timberwolves Shorten For Championship

NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Preview

NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Preview

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