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Week 8 In Review – Suns Can’t Rise, Concern For Cleveland & Brunson Burries Nine

The NBA season is arguably too long but the Suns, Warriors and Cavaliers need all of the time they can get if they’re to contend for a title.

Suns Can’t Rise Through Injuries

The Phoenix Suns opened the NBA season at $6.50 to win the championship. There was little value in them then, and with what we’ve seen so far throughout the season, their current $7.50 should be viewed with caution, too.

No team looks more exciting on paper. With Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, it’s not difficult to imagine this group combining for a ring in their first year together. Forget the potential issues in defence – it wouldn’t matter. The Suns have too much firepower with the ball if the Big Three are on the court together and clicking. However, now 13-12 for 10th in the Western Conference 25 games in, it’s not looking quite so good for the Suns.

Durant, Beal and Booker have played only 28 minutes together over two games.

Cohesion matters in the NBA. You only have to look at the LA Clippers of recent seasons to know you can’t develop championship-contending levels of cohesion without maximising time on the court together throughout the regular season.

The Big Three haven’t been able to spend time on the court as a trio. Now, Beal is set to miss an extended period with an ankle injury. The good news is that there is no major damage despite how bad the incident looked. Still, if he’s out for 4-6 weeks, that puts the Suns into the second half of the regular season without Beal, Durant and Booker playing more than 30 minutes together.

With the trio moving in and out of the team for various reasons, the Suns have used 13 different starting lineups in 25 games. You can move Beal, Durant and Booker in and out to still play with a decent offence so long as two of them are available. Phoenix still ranks 11th in the NBA in offensive rating to score 117.4 points per 100 possessions. However, it’s on the defensive end they are suffering. It’s without the ball that the lack of cohesion up and down the roster could hurt them in the postseason provided they make it that far…

The Suns currently give up 116.2 points per 100 possessions for a middling +1.2 net rating. Of the teams around them in the Championship Winner market, the Boston Celtics ($4.50), Denver Nuggets ($5), Milwaukee Bucks ($5) and Philadelphia 76ers ($15) all play with a superior defensive and net rating.

Perhaps it all comes together for the Suns by April. They’re a team nobody will want to face in a seven-game series if the Big Three are all active. However, the West runs deep. The Nuggets are among the favourites, the Lakers and Clippers are climbing, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the best defensive team in the NBA, Luka Doncic can take the Dallas Mavericks all of the way, and who knows what happens with the Golden State Warriors between now and June.

It’s the time of year to find value in the championship market. Should the Suns continue to track the way they are, their $7.50 could still rise.

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The Draymond Situation

Draymond Green is bad for the Golden State Warriors at this point.

He’s bad for the NBA.

Incredibly talented and capable of spearheading a championship-level defence, this version of Green is detrimental to Golden State’s chances of lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Ejected again and suspended indefinitely, Green has left Curry and the Warriors without a key player to any turning point they hoped would soon come.

Curry is visibly frustrated with how things are going right now. Typically brilliant for his 28.6 points, 5 rebounds and 4.4 assists on 41.3% shooting from beyond the arc, Curry is being let down by those around him. Rumours have begun to circulate of sellers getting in touch with the Warriors with an eye to providing Curry with help. He needs it if they’re to recover from this 10-14 start to feature in the playoffs.

Having opened the season at $15 to win the chip, the Warriors have blown out to $31 following their latest loss and Green’s latest indiscretion.

Concern In Cleveland

The 2023-24 NBA season started as one of potential for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They made significant strides last season and expected Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, in particular, to take one or two more steps in the right direction in this one.

Now, the pair have been ruled out for lengthy periods. Already outside the playoff picture to be 9th in the Eastern Conference at 14-12, the Cavaliers will be without two of their most important players.

Garland’s numbers hadn’t moved far beyond what he produced last season but his 20.7 points and 5.9 assists per game are difficult for the Cavaliers to replace. Still one of the most exciting young players in the league, Mobley’s improved shooting and focus on rebounding translated into 16 points and 10.5 rebounds in 21 games so far this season. If the Cavaliers were ever to do something special, Mobley’s development would be at the forefront.

And there is still the impending negotiations with Donovan Mitchell. He could sign a big contract over the summer. He could leave with the Cavaliers receiving nothing in return. Both Garland and Mobley will be back roughly around the trade deadline. This period without them is one that could not only define the Cavaliers’ season but their next three or four.

The Tweet Says It All

The less said about what happened after the game, the better.

Brunson Burries Nine

The New York Knicks are quietly putting together a nice start to the NBA season to be 14-10 for 5th in the Eastern Conference.

They’re overshadowed by championship favourites in the Celtics, Bucks and 76ers. The Orlando Magic surprising everybody to be 16-8 and 4th in the East is another talking point taking away from the Knicks.

However, Jalen Brunson scoring 50 while connecting on all nine of his three-point attempts put the New York Knickerbockers at the top of every NBA show on the day.

NBA Trends & Odds

Home teams are covering the spread at a slightly better clip than way teams coming in at a 51.8% clip so far this season.

Home favourites are the best of the bunch, though. With favourites coming in at 51% overall, getting them at home is pushing the rate up to 52.1%.

As points pile up in the NBA right now, Overs is cashing in on 53.1% of non-overtime games. Add overtime games where just one of the 18 has finished under and the number bumps up to 55.2%.

TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

TEAMCURRENT PRICELAST WEEK’S PRICE
Boston Celtics$4.50$4.50
Milwaukee Bucks$5$5
Denver Nuggets$5$5
Phoenix Suns$7.50$7.50
Philadelphia 76ers$15$15
Los Angeles Lakers$17$-
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