NBA Perfect 10 (Feb. 28)

Back to our weekly top 10 this week as the league has settled back into the schedule and the Western Conference remains jumbled near the top. Here’s this week’s Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten (Week of February 28th)

#10. New Orleans Pelicans (35-24) (+2800/+7000) - The Pelicans now take the 10th spot in the rankings as three to four teams juggle for positioning in the Western Conference. Strengths: Ingram and Williamson give the Pels a unique one-two punch when they’re both healthy. Weaknesses: Relying on Ingram and Williamson can be a dangerous proposition. Last Week’s Rank: 10th

#9. New York Knicks (35-24) (+850/+2200) - The Knicks were trounced by the Celtics at home this weekend and barely survived the Pistons as they struggled through the injuries. Strengths: If Randle and Anunoby can return soon, the Knicks' depth will be invaluable in the playoffs. Weaknesses: The Knicks' injuries have come at a bad time with the team blowing a chance to move up the standings with a fairly reasonable schedule at this point. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#8. Phoenix Suns (34-24) (+900/+1600) - The Suns title odds have risen dramatically over the course of the season, mainly due to inconsistent health. Strengths: Booker looks like an MVP as he’s fully taken over as the alpha male of this team. Weaknesses: Beal’s balky back could be the difference between a deep playoff run and a quick exit. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#7. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-19) (+1000/+2800) - The Cavs pulled off a miracle win last night to slow what has been a tough stretch. Strengths: This Cavs team appears to have more depth and experience than last year’s team that was bounced in round 1. Weaknesses: Can the Cavs avoid another first-round meltdown this year to avoid what could then be a roster overhaul? Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#6. LA Clippers (37-19) (+250/+475) - The Clippers keep going quietly about their business as the march toward the playoffs continues. Strengths: The fact that the health of Leonard rarely is even mentioned is a great sign for LA. Weaknesses: Will the likes of Westbrook and Harden be able to produce in the playoffs in meaningful games? Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#5. Milwaukee Bucks (38-21) (+260/+650) - The Bucks are behind Cleveland but seeding between second and third isn’t that important. Strengths: The Bucks can score and score this season and aren’t nearly as reliant on the health of Khris Middleton this season. Weaknesses: Can the Bucks' defense figure it out before the playoffs? Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#4. OKC Thunder (41-17) (+800/+2000) - Make that six straight wins for the Thunder. Strengths: OKC keeps on beating whoever is put in front of them. Weaknesses: The Thunder are second in the Western Conference. Should they be worried about where they finish and who they would match up with in round one? Last Week’s Rank:6th

#3. Denver Nuggets (39-19) (+245/+475) - Denver keeps plugging along, looking like a team is just waiting for the playoffs. Strengths: The Nuggets will go into this year’s playoffs with the least amount of flaws among the contenders. Weaknesses: Will the Nuggets be able to just turn it on in April? Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#2. Minnesota Timberwolves (41-17) (+850/+2000) - Guess which team is still hanging around and at the top of the Western Conference? Strengths: The Wolves recently signed Conley to an extension, signaling the team’s confidence in the veteran point guard. Weaknesses: A non-contact leg injury to Edwards last night certainly stems the enthusiasm. Edwards’ status is critical to the team’s success. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#1. Boston Celtics (46-12) (+115/+255) - Boston keeps on winning and is seemingly playing against themselves at this point. Strengths: The Celtics have such a cushion at this point that they can play around with their rotation as they gear up for the postseason. Weaknesses: Is Boston comfortable with Hauser as the backup to Tatum and Brown? Last Week’s Rank: 1st

Top-Five MVP Candidates:

Here are my Top Five MVP candidates in the NBA at this point along with their current odds to take the award.

#1. Nikola Jokic (-150) - Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+250) - Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. Jayson Tatum (+3000) - Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#3. Luka Doncic (+640) - Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1400) - Last Week’s Rank: 5th

The award, at this point, is Jokic’s to lose. With just over a month to go in the regular season, the only true candidate for Jokic appears to be Tatum. Expect Tatum to end up finishing second in the final results even though his odds are currently higher than SGA, Doncic, and Antetokounmpo. Tatum has been more balanced, and consistent, and plays for the best team in the NBA.

Game of the Week, Season Record 6-10: Ok, back to the picks after a two-week absence.

Denver at LA Lakers on Saturday at 8:30 PM EST

The Champs seem to have LA’s number with the Lakers struggling to match up with Jokic and the Nuggets having the ability to shift other players onto Davis to free up The Joker. Take Denver in a comfortable win.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.