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Week 10 In Review – Knicks Making Moves & NBA Awards Update

As the calendar turns to the new year, the Knicks and Raptors are making moves while we check in on the NBA awards.

Knicks Making Moves

The New York Knicks impressed last season to finish with a 47-35 record for 5th in the Eastern Conference. Currently on a similar path at 17-15 for 8th in the conference to start this season, the front office felt it necessary to make moves. They have been out of the championship conversation for too long and their trajectory before the trade had leveled off.

Now, they have an elite perimeter defender to prop up a defence that ranks 21st in the NBA allowing 116.6 points per 100 possessions.

The Knicks sent RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a 2024 second-round pick to the Toronto Raptors for Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn.

Anunoby can defend one through four on the court and make life miserable for his matchup. He can be exactly who the Knicks hoped Barrett would become. Barrett’s counting stats make for nice enough reading: 18.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. However, he’s a negative player when it comes to box plus/minus (-2.5) and value over replacement (-0.1). Meanwhile, Quickley is one of the best bench scorers in the NBA. He’s tougher to replace. Still, Donte DiVincenzo can help to fill the void, they’ll no doubt be in the market for a replacement, and they won’t need to deal with his restricted free agency in the summer. Quickly is too good to spend his career coming off the bench, but not good enough to unseat Jalen Brunson as the starter.

For the Raptors, it’s a swing and hope for Barrett. He ‘could’ be better than what he’s shown up to now as a 23-year-old, or his inconsistency in shooting is career-long and he’s little more than a rotation guy. Quickley is the big ticket. He will be an expensive ticket in the summer, but a worthwhile one. He’s never been a prominent playmaker for others, but that isn’t to say he can’t be. He filled his role off the bench for the Knicks but can display all of his talents in an expanded role for the Raptors.

The trade makes for major news in the NBA given the time of the year. It’s not often we see a move quite so big at this time. Still, it hasn’t done a lot for the championship winner market. The Knicks have come into $41 from $46 following Anunoby’s arrival. Meanwhile, the Raptors remain a non-starter to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy at $226.

Pistons Snap Skid

For the first time since October 28, following 28 consecutive losses, the Detroit Pistons won an NBA game.

It would never matter who the win came against. The fact it came against a short-handed Toronto Raptors means little. The longest losing streak in NBA history has come to an end, and the Pistons can finally start working towards taking something out of this season.

There will be no miraculous run to the playoffs for these Pistons. The hole is too deep and the scars are too fresh for there to be a significant turnaround in the W/L column. Still, they can make improvements and challenge the Over on their 11.5 win total ($1.79).

Of concern for the Raptors following the trade and loss to the NBA-worst Pistons:

“I mean, the culture is just difficult. When I got here, (coach) Darko did a great job just putting this system to the organization but I think we just got to follow that.” – Dennis Schroder

NBA Awards Update

With the calendar turning to 2024, we’re inching towards the halfway point of the NBA season. With that in mind, it’s a good time to check in on the futures markets with an eye for value.

Most Valuable Player: Nikola Jokic was our favourite here earlier in the season and having dropped to the second line of betting for a moment, is the favourite to win MVP at $3.30. Joel Embiid has the numbers to win it at $3.60 but the strange narrative hurdle of judges being reluctant to give it to him this year after undeservingly giving him the last one. Luke Doncic is the value play at $5 right now, though. His numbers are staggering, the Dallas Mavericks are winning enough games, and he’s receiving the narrative boost of doing it all without Kyrie Irving.

Rookie of the Year: Victor Wembanyama came into the season as one of the most hyped rookies in NBA history but has fallen to the second line of betting in the ROY market at $2.50 heading into 2024. The Frenchman is averaging an impressive 18.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game but playing on a bad team has hurt him at times. In contrast, Chet Holmgren is finding success in a good team to be the $1.45 favourite. He has the luxury of not needing to do everything and is popping up nicely for 17.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.7 blocks per game. With Jamie Jaquez Jr. on the third line at $41, this is a two-horse race.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert is back to his best to be the $1.72 favourite to win DPOY. He’s commanding the best defence in the NBA and has the added boost of it coming as a big surprise to the league. As a result, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the top seed in the Western Conference. Holmgren has crept into the conversation at $8 but it feels like more of a narrative pick than anything else. It’s unlikely to last the season. Anthony Davis opened at $9 and has shortened since then. However, back out to $9 as the Los Angeles Lakers struggle for wins, he’s an appealing pick at this point of the season.

Sixth Man of the Year: Austin Reaves was slatted as a starter to open the NBA season but the situation in LA has seen him revert to the bench. Should he stay there while averaging 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists, he’s a deserving $3.30 favourite. The risk in whether or not he stays there or ends up back in the starting lineup later in the season.  Tim Hardaway Jr. ($3.70) has started a few games of late but will more than likey qualify. It’s an award often dominated by points per game numbers in which Hardaway leads Reaves with 17.9 points per game.

As one of the more hotly contested awards in the NBA right now, Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4.40), Immanuel Quickley ($7), Cole Anthony ($7.50) and Malik Monk ($9) are also within touching distance.

Suns Drifting Away?

Things are going from bad to worse for the Phoenix Suns. At $7.50 to win the NBA championship only a fortnight ago, they drifted to $11 last week before landing at $12 in this one. Rumours are swirling of Kevin Durant’s unhappiness with the roster. A lot of that has to do with the fact the big three can’t get on the court together with Bradley Beal, in particular, constantly being hampered by injury.

The top end of this roster is too good not to assume improvement. If they can get on the floor for a week or two together, they’ll be difficult for any defence in the NBA to handle. However, they’re running out of time if they’re to develop the cohesion required to compete for the championship.

Right on cue…

TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

TEAMCURRENT PRICELAST WEEK’S PRICE
Boston Celtics$4.20$4.50
Denver Nuggets$5$5
Milwaukee Bucks$5.50$5
LA Clippers$11$9.50
Phoenix Suns$12$11
Philadelphia 76ers$14$14

Bet Now NBA Futures

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