NBA Perfect Ten: Week of January 16th

Teams are starting to line up possible trades as the buyers and sellers start to take shape. Less than a month from the all-star break and the contenders are starting to separate from the pretenders. Let’s take a deep dive into this week’s Perfect-Ten and the Top Five MVP Candidates.

Perfect Ten (Week of January 16th)

#10. Miami Heat (+1700/+4000) - The Heat have the pedigree of past successes to lean on. Butler is still a great closer and Oladipo’s emergence gives the team another finisher. Strengths: Experience and floor spacers around Butler. Weaknesses: Lack of depth and health. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#9. New Orleans Pelicans (+950/+2200) - The Pelicans are limping towards the all-star break as the team is showing the wear and tear of playing without their two-best scorers. Strengths: Team defense and pace. Weaknesses: Uneven rotation without Williamson and Ingram. Last Week’s Rank: 7

#8. Sacramento Kings (+2800/+9000) - The Kings are 7-3 in their last ten games and sport the NBA’s #1 scoring offense. Strengths: Offensive firepower. Weaknesses: Kings’ difficulty in slowing down the opposition. Last Week’s Rank: 9

#7. Cleveland Cavaliers (+950/+2200) - Cleveland has a dominant backcourt and more depth at that spot with Rubio back. They could utilize a three-guard lineup at times as well. Strengths: Ability to finish games and ball movement. Weaknesses: Front court depth. Last Week’s Rank: 8

#6. Brooklyn Nets (+300, +600) - Brooklyn’s win over Golden State on Sunday reminded the league that Irving can still carry the team at times also. The Nets have already shown how dangerous they can be when healthy and how vulnerable they are to injury. Strengths: Irving’s rise to a leadership spot after a troubling 2021-22 season. Weaknesses: Depth against quality teams. Last Week’s Rank: 4

#5. Milwaukee Bucks (+390/+800) - It is hard to put your finger on the Bucks. They are a bit banged up but also seem to be coasting through the season. Can they turn it on in the playoffs? Strengths: Team defense and interior dominance. Weaknesses: Fragility of team’s health and consistent scoring. Last Week’s Rank: 5

#4. Philadelphia 76ers (+750/+1500) - The Sixers have found their stride, 8-2 in the last ten and now second in the Eastern Conference. Strengths: Return to health and more depth than in the recent past. Weaknesses: Weak links on defense. Last Week’s Rank: 6

#3. Memphis Grizzlies (+380/+850) - Everyone keeps trying to poke holes in this team but the odds keep falling. Morant remains a viable MVP candidate. Strengths: Pace of play. Floor spacing. Weaknesses: Defensive rotations. Last Week’s Rank: 3

#2. Denver Nuggets (+350/+800) - I’ve been hyping up the Nuggets all season. They have added depth and defense this season surrounding the two-time MVP. Strengths: Late game shutdown defenders and continued improvement in health of Murray and Porter. Weaknesses: Protecting Jokic on the defensive end. Last Week’s Rank: 2

#1. Boston Celtics (+180/+350) - The Celtics have now won nine straight games, flexing their muscle against the Warriors and showing their depth in a bench-led win over Toronto to close out the week. Strengths: Assist-to-turnover ratio and adaptability. Weaknesses: Protecting the health of Robert Williams III down the stretch. Last Week’s Rank: 1

Top-Five MVP Candidates thus far:

  1. Nikola Jokic (-120) - And, there you have it, we have a clear-cut favorite yet again. I was pushing for the Joker when he was +1000 just weeks ago. He is now the head of the best team in the west and looking like a 3-peat MVP. Last Week’s Rank: 1

  1. Luka Doncic (+400) - Doncic’s odds are rising as Dallas looks less and less like a playoff threat and his numbers have dropped to just superstar levels instead of superhuman levels. Last Week’s Rank: 2

  1. Jayson Tatum (+600) - Boston keeps winning but Tatum’s odds have actually gone up. This might be a great time to take a flier on this future. Tatum could end up with a lot of votes down the stretch if Boston runs away with the Eastern Conference crown. Last Week’s Rank: 3

  1. Joel Embiid (+800) - Embiid and the Sixers have surpassed the Bucks in the standings and Embiid has surpassed Antetokounmpo in the MVP standings. He is leading the league in scoring and is 15th in rebounds. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

  1. Ja Morant (+2800) - Morant deserves this spot. His team keeps winning and he is undoubtedly the focal point. He likely won’t win but a top-five finish is not out of the question. Last week’s Rank: 5

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

By Mark Ruelle

Author Profile
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.