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Week 11 In Review – Trouble in LA LA Land, Wemby Magic & Draymond Returns

January was meant to be a time for the Lakers to start their run at the NBA championship. Instead, they’re scrambling. Meanwhile, the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player races are heating up.

Trouble In LA LA Land

“We just suck right now.” – LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers have lost ten of their last 13 games.

Rumours are beginning to swirl around what LeBron James might do next season if this one doesn’t significantly improve.

Will Darvin Ham be there by the end of it? He’s saying the right things, but they are things we’ve heard from coaches in the hot seat before.

“I’m solid. … As long as (Buss and Pelinka aren’t) saying it, I guess I’m good. Which I know how they feel about me and the situation we’re currently in. So, we’re all on the same page. My two captains, I communicate with them. Our communication has been at a high level.”

Much has been made over the Lakers’ form since winning the In-Season Tournament. They’re 3-10 since lifting the trophy. Still, it’s unlikely to be the catalyst for their poor patch. Perhaps three or four games can be explained away with a Vegas hangover. Not three or four weeks. They’ve blown out across the board in the futures markets…

Championship Winner: $21
Pacific Division Winner: $19
To Make The West Play-In: $1.62
Over 46.5 Wins: $1.98
To Make The Playoffs: $2.05

January looked like it could be the catalyst to a championship-contending season. With 11 of their first 12 games at Crypto.com Arena this month, the Lakers have the luxury of playing at home at an important time of the year. But now 0-2 with the LA Clippers to come next, what always had the potential to be a season-defining home stand might not be a positive one. In stark contrast to the Lakers, the Clippers have won 14 of their last 16 and go into this one as $1.67 and -2.5 favourites.

Not all hope is lost. Much of this same Lakers team led by the same coach finished the 2022-23 NBA season strong enough to feature in the Western Conference Finals. Any team with James – even at 39 years old – and Anthony Davis can make a run. Still, this period at home needs to be where it all starts for the Lakers if they’re to have any shot of catching the genuine championship contenders.

Wemby Did What!?!?

How do you describe this?

First of all, he’s 7-foot-4 splitting a pick and roll. He then picks up his dribble at a spot on the floor where he could shoot a three, but it ends up as a dunk…

Wembanyama is just different. He’s starting to look more comfortable in the NBA, too.

Chet Holmgren has the benefit of playing on a better team. People see more of him and see him in a winning light. It helps. Averaging 17.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 blocks per game, he’s a deserving $1.50 to win Rookie of the Year right now. However, there is value in Wemby…

Voters love to be a little different. They’ll often look beyond the typical counting numbers by the end of the season. If Wembanyama continues to produce at the per 36 rate he is at the moment, his current $2.40 is a gift.

Wembanyama has averaged 35.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 6.1 blocks per 36 minutes in his last four games. Limited to only 25 minutes per game of late, he’s making every minute count.

The San Antonio Spurs are in no hurry to speed things along. It’s unlikely Wembanya’s minutes will significantly increase throughout the season. Their win total certainly won’t get close to Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Still, the Rookie of the Year race is alive and well.

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Jokic Isn’t Fair

Nikola Jokic is a different beast again.

You could argue he’s having a down year overall, but he’s still on the second line of betting to win the Most Valuable Player award at $3.30.

Whether he’s putting up his monster numbers or not, there is always something. This week, Jokic went through a period of four games missing only five shots. He shot 39 from 44 with that 44th, an outrageous game-winner against the Golden State Warriors.

He blew out against the Magic to finish the week shooting 13-from-19 on his way to 29 points, four rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

The Denver Nuggets haven’t been at their very best to start the NBA season. Nonetheless, they’re 25-12 for 3rd in the Western Conference and are behind only the Boston Celtics ($4) to win the championship. They’ve not been quite as consistent as last season. However, when the Nuggets are firing, they look like the best team in the league. While the Western Conference is improving overall, the Nuggets are still comfortably the team to beat.

Warriors News

It’s been a roller coaster week for a Golden State Warriors team that still looks pretty good when it all goes right.

Jonathan Kuminga’s benching created a stir that has apparently been addressed with the expectation for Steve Kerr to play him more minutes.

Kerr has his work cut out for him in juggling rotations with Chris Paul requiring surgery on his fractured hand. The 19-year NBA veteran has a long history of hand injuries already, so it’s concerning to see him ruled out for an extended period. While only averaging 8.9 points and 7.2 assists shooting 42.4% from the field, he’s a reliable player for Kerr to lean on as he figures things out.

As Paul leaves the rotation, Draymond Green reenters. He’s served enough of a suspension to satisfy the NBA following another embarrassing display of frustration. He’s bad for the NBA with the way he has acted this year, in particular, but he’s a welcome addition to the Warriors. Currently 17-18 for 10th in the Western Conference and at $2.30 to make the playoffs, they need the best of Green moving forward.

Pacers Pile Up 150

The Indiana Pacers will go as far as the offence can take them this NBA season.

On nights like they had against the Atlanta Hawks, you have to give their $56 to win the Eastern Conference a cursory glance.

Somewhat fittingly against a Hawks franchise that tried to do exactly this (put everything into the offensive end and simply outscore everybody) the Pacers piled up 150 points.

They dished out a franchise-record 50 assists in the process. Tyrese Haliburton extended his lead at the top of the NBA’s assist list with 18 in this one for 12.8 per game this season. They’re the highest-scoring team in the NBA and have just won their sixth game on the bounce.

So, how far can they go?

Now 20-14 for 4th in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers are among the top teams in the league. The offence is enough to do that on its own throughout the regular season. However, their 26th-ranked defence allowing 120.3 points per 100 possessions will catch up with them in the end. The Boston Celtics as current NBA favourites are second behind the Pacers in offence but have maintained the second-best defence in the league.

Indiana is a League Pass darling and Haliburton is a bonafide All-Star, but this group is a defensive player or three away from contending.

TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

TEAMCURRENT PRICELAST WEEK’S PRICE
Boston Celtics$4$4.20
Denver Nuggets$5$5
Milwaukee Bucks$5.50$5.50
LA Clippers$9.50$11
Phoenix Suns$12$12
Philadelphia 76ers$13$14
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Related

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