Chet Holmgren is flying to start the NBA season. The Pistons and Bulls, on the other hand, are desperately searching for answers before it’s too late.
Chet Holmgren Watch
As the NBA world zeroed in on Victor Wembanyam to start the season, Chet Holmgren somewhat flew by the wayside.
Hailed as the best prospect since [insert any great prospect in any sport you want here], Wembanyama opened as a short-priced $1.72 favourite to win the Rookie of the Year and shortened into $1.28 a fortnight into the season. He started the season playing like a consensus ROY pick. However, as the rest of the league adjusts and the wear and tear of NBA basketball starts to have an impact on him, Wembanyama has started to struggle more often. He’s rebounding the ball at an elite level but has failed to score in double figures twice in his last six games.
Meanwhile, Holmgren played out one of the more memorable rookie performances in NBA history by scoring 36 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, handing out five assists and blocking two shots while hitting a clutch three-pointer to send a game into overtime.
CHET HOLMGREN KNOCKS IT DOWN AT THE BUZZER 🤯
The Warriors and Thunder are going to OT!pic.twitter.com/5EZsG1X449
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) November 19, 2023
Averaging 17.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game, Holmgren has been the better of the two throughout the opening month of the NBA season.
“I think I can be a 50-40-90 player,” Holmgren said before making his debut.
Right now, he’s shooting 55.7% from the floor, 43.4% from beyond the arc and connecting on 87% of his free throws. It’s incredible to think that he could end his rookie year as a 50-40-90 shooter.
He’s doing it on both sides of the ball but it’s his defence that is perhaps most impressive. The tools are obvious. Still, it’s the smarts – developed over a year spent sitting on the sideline – that has put him in a position to dominate from day one. Remarkably, he’s on the ninth line of betting and very much in the hunt to win Defensive Player of the Year at $15.
A genuine All-Star candidate at this point of the NBA season, it looks as though it’s now or never when it comes to his ROY odds. Tipping off at $4.20, Holmgren is now into $2.20 and shortening fast.
The Elephant in the room
The NBA is looking into the allegations of Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey having inappropriate relationship with a minor that have emerged via social media, league spokesman Mike Bass said.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 24, 2023
Pistons Aren’t Firing Like Many Expected
“The Detroit Pistons will be better this season. How much remains to be seen.” – NBA Eastern Conference Season Preview
The assumption was that the introduction of a quality coach in Monty Williams and the improved health of Cade Cunningham would translate into improved performances. Perhaps not a lot of wins with their preseason win total set at 28.5, but an encouraging output with the future in mind.
Instead, the Pistons have lost 13 games on the bounce to be 2-14 heading into what you might say is a must-win game against the Washington Wizards. Cade Cunningham has upped his scoring average from 19.9 points per game to 22 points per game. However, it’s negated by the 4.8 turnovers per game he is currently churning out, up from 3.3 last season.
Detroit’s 2-1 record through three games to start the NBA season feels like a long time ago now.
The Pistons are 4-37 since the trade deadline. That’s exactly an 8-win pace over an 82 game season, and they’ve kept that up for 41 games.
— Duncan Smith (@DuncanSmithNBA) November 25, 2023
Hawks Are All Offence
The Atlanta Hawks have long been a team put together to score. Regardless of the history of the league and the frequency in which championship teams are towards the top of the NBA defensively, the Hawks are prepared to put all of their eggs in one basket.
It’s unlikely to translate into sustained success but the Hawks rank 2nd in the league in points scored at 121.6 per game. That average lifted following two high-scoring games throughout the week.
The Hawks and Pacers linked up for a whopping 309 points as Indiana claimed the 157-152 win. More on the Pacers next week, but they just played out the most efficient opening month of a season ever and their 128 points per game is the highest mark in NBA history.
Naturally, the Hawks couldn’t keep up.
Tonight: the highest NBA total (253.5) on record (Hawks vs. Pacers) went OVER with 8:23 remaining in the 4th quarter.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 22, 2023
Atlanta almost combined for 300 points again on the following night, sneaking past the Brooklyn Nets 147-145. Trae Young carried a tired team to victory with 43 points on 12-31 shooting hitting eight of his 16 three-point attempts.
Despite struggling defensively to rank 25th allowing 118.4 points per 100 possessions, the Hawks are still favoured to make the playoffs at $1.49. They will, however, need to address their issues at some point. The all-offence experiment has run its course but Quin Snyder has a great history in defence as a coach. The expectation is for improvement throughout the year as he continues to implement his systems and refocus the franchise onto both ends of the floor.
Continuity and cohesion are massively understated by the general sports fan. A large chunk of the best teams in any sport have a high level of cohesion that goes largely unmentioned when breaking down how and why they’re successful.
To be fair to the Chicago Bulls, they had understandable intentions with their lack of change over the offseason.
“Continuity and cohesion will have the team better prepared to start the season over other teams.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. The roster always looked as though it had run its course and now 17 games into the 2023-24 NBA season, it’s all but over for this group. Their 37.5 win total presented as an appealing option on the under and is now significantly favoured with the Bulls currently 5-12 ahead of their game against the Nets as +4.5 and $2.44 underdogs.
DeMar DeRozan’s embarrasing outburst and ejection against the Toronto Raptors is a reaction to more than just a late-game three-point shot. It’s a reflection of his general frustration and lack of improvement across the board.
Points differential matters.
Even if it didn’t, the reaction to these situations is always more lame than the action they’re angry about. https://t.co/IdK9RXIwk4
— Jason (@SportsJO13) November 25, 2023
There is too much talent on the offensive end for the Bulls to rank 27th scoring just 110 points per 100 possession. For a team the front office hoped would be a cohesive unit, there is a clear disconnect. It’s time to finally blow it up and start from the bottom. No more half-rebuilds with a ceiling of sneaking into the playoffs. Produce a plan for the future and play the long game.
It starts with trading Zach LaVine who seems resigned and willing to be moved: ” My job is to go out here and play. Simple as that.”
From there, the Bulls can start playing and preparing for success. Losses look different when results aren’t the be-all and end-all. You can glean positives and identify work-ons with hopeful improvement. As it stands, defeat is another blow to an already dead season.
NBA Trends & Odds
Undedogs continue to do it for NBA bettors, currently cashing in at 53.6%. Home underdogs produce at a slightly better clip. At 52.7% last week, home dogs have jumped up to a 53.8% cover rate.
The Orlando Magic are flying to be 13-3 against the spread to start the season. At the opposite end, the Bulls and Denver Nuggets are teams to avoid at just 5-11.
Meanwhile, the markets are starting to adjust to the offences. Despite the massive totals in Hawks and Pacers games and around the league in general, only 50.7% of games are finishing Over the points total.
TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
|LAST WEEK’S PRICE
|Golden State Warriors