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Week 9 In Review – Embiid’s MVP Case, Clippers Clicking & Poor Pistons

The NBA’s MVP award is up for grabs and Joel Embiid is making a strong case to go back-to-back following a hot start. Meanwhile, the LA Clippers are clicking into gear but the Detroit Pistons can’t get out of reverse.

Embiid’s Improved MVP Case

Well, maybe Nikola Jokic isn’t the only consideration to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

The favourite to win only a week ago, Jokic is playing out a bit of a slump by his standards. Joel Embiid has put up historically good numbers in the meantime.

Pushing through an ankle injury to hang 31 points and ten rebounds on the Toronto Raptors, Embiid extended his 30/10 streak out to 13 games. His 14-game streak of scoring 30+ points is the most since James Harden did it in 32-straight games back in 2018-19.

A 51-point performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves – the best defensive team in the NBA right now – headlined another huge week for Embiid who sits on the first line of betting to win MVP at $2.63.

Averaging 35 points, 11.7 rebounds, six assists, 1.2 steals and two blocks per game, Embiid is averaging more points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks than he did while winning the MVP last season. When it comes to the advanced stats that fuel so much of the conversation, Embiid is behind only Jokic in VORP, Box Plus-Minus and Win Shares.

Embiid has the narrative of losing Harden only for the 76ers to improve and the numbers to back it up. It’s early days. A lot can happen in the next few months, and Jokic will play his way out of this slump. Still, there is some value in Embiid winning MVP nine weeks into the NBA season.

Bet Now Most Valuable Player Winner - Joel Embiid @ $2.63

Westbrook For 6th Man?

He’s at $91 and a long shot to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, but Russell Westbrook deserves some consideration.

His role is still a work in progress, but he’s putting up some nice enough numbers as he works things out.

Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, his 15 points and 13 rebounds made it 20 double-doubles off the bench throughout his career – the most by a guard in NBA history.

Westbrook’s numbers aren’t good enough to put him among the favourites to win the award just yet. But if he can up his current 9.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists and play a key part in the LA Clippers rise up the Western Conference standings, his $91 will shorten sooner rather than later.

Ja Morant Is Back

What a statement in his return…

Ja Morant stamped his 34-point season debut with a game-winner to formally announce his return to the NBA.

The arguments over punishment have gone around in circles for 25 games. Whether it was too long or too little of a punishment, the path forward is clear.

The Memphis Grizzlies need to make significant strides if they’re to recover from their 6-19 start to the NBA season. Morant’s return will help. It already has for three wins as Morant hung 30 points six rebounds and 11 assists on the Atlanta Hawks to extend the streak. But they will need to go 33-24 just to finish at .500 and remain as $6 outsiders to make the playoffs.

Clippers Still Clicking

The Los Angeles Clippers are looking more and more like contenders every week.

In the weeks after their trade for James Harden, it was easy to label the Clippers as pretenders. Harden himself started poorly, the partnership with Russell Westbrook in the starting lineup didn’t work, and the defence was close to non-existent.

However, they’re slowly coming good.

Despite the back-to-back losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics, the Clippers played out another promising week. They hung 144 points on the Knicks and 151 points on the Pacers. Luka Doncic finished with a triple-double but the Clippers still took the chocolates.

Among all of that, Harden put together one of the best individual performances of the NBA season to score 21 points in just over four minutes in the Pacers win.

There is still a lot to work out with rotations and cohesion. Westbrook improving further in his role off the bench will help, too. But to be in the Top 10 in both offensive rating (118.7 – 8th) and defensive rating (113.2 – 9th), the Clippers are on the right path. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in particular, know how important it is to spend time on the court together this season. If the core remains healthy and Tyrone Lue is able to carve out his playoff rotation, they’ll be able to give the Western Conference a shake.

Right now, they’re $7 to win the West and $9.50 to go on and lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Detroit, We Have A Problem

“We have a problem. We’ve lost way too many games. We’re not stuck in it, though. We’re nimble. We can bounce from this. We have a tremendous amount of cap space.” – Detroit Pistons owner, Tom Gores

As if the 26 losses in a row aren’t enough of a concern, the owner referencing “cap space” as a reason to assume improvement leaves little room for hope of it turning around any time soon.

Cap space isn’t scoring buckets or blocking shots.

The Pistons front office, who don’t have a great recent history of good decisions, still have to get things right for that cap space to one day be used effectively.

You need more than cap space to dig yourself out of a hole that is 26 consecutive losses deep – the longest in NBA history.

The Pistons are now out to $7.50 just to win 20 games this season…

Something To Keep An Eye On

The Golden State Warriors have quietly gone on a five-game winning streak…

NBA Trends & Odds

As we approach 2024 it’s a good time to check in on the trends from the NBA season so far.

Favourites have been the flavour of the first third of the season to cover at 51.3%. It hasn’t mattered too much whether those teams are at home or on the road. Home favourites have covered at 51.6% to 50.7% for those on the road.

Points continue to pile up in the NBA for the Over to hit in 52.5% of games so far this season.

Looking at the Championship Winner market, the Los Angeles Lakers have slipped out of the Top 6. They’ve been replaced by their roommates as the LA Clippers click into gear and start to look like genuine championship contenders. Little else has changed throughout the week as the top three teams in the league remain the same.

TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

TEAMCURRENT PRICELAST WEEK’S PRICE
Boston Celtics$4.50$4.50
Milwaukee Bucks$5$5
Denver Nuggets$5$5
LA Clippers$9.50$-
Phoenix Suns$11$7.50
Philadelphia 76ers$14$17
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Related

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