NBA Perfect Ten (Week of November 14th)
The James Harden trade happened but the early returns are not impressive. The Sixers look to be the big winners of the trade, and will the Suns ever have their Big Three together on the floor this season? We have three new teams joining the Perfect Ten this week. Let’s dive into this week’s Perfect Ten.
Perfect Ten (Week of November 14th)
#10. Atlanta Hawks (5-4) (+2500/+7500) - The Hawks seem to be taking to Quinn Snyder’s style of play early on. Strengths: Young and Murray look like one of the best young backcourt duos in the league Weaknesses: The Hawks are not blessed with much depth inside. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked
#9. Golden State Warriors (6-5) (+550/+1100) - The Warriors' odds remain lower than most of the bottom half of our top ten. Championship pedigree will do that for you. Strengths: The Warriors have been much better on the road this season than last season with a 5-2 record already. Weaknesses: Steph Curry is banged up and missing a game with leg soreness. Last Week’s Rank: 5th
#8. LA Lakers (5-5) (+900/+1800) - The Lakers look like a team capable of winning in the playoffs, they just need to get there. Strengths: LeBron sat a game this week due to injury. On the court, he’s nearly as good as ever when healthy. Weaknesses: The Lakers are still trying to piece together a quality bench rotation. Last Week’s Rank: 10th
#7. Miami Heat (6-4) (+1500/+4000) - The Heat have bounced back to get over .500 following a slow start. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler give them as formidable a pair as most teams. Strengths: The Heat know how to win when it matters and have the best coach in the league. Weaknesses: Defensively, the Heat have looked less than formidable thus far and their bench is a work in progress. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked
#6. Milwaukee Bucks (6-4) (+200/+450) - Damian Lillard is battling minor injuries and the Bucks seem to be battling consistency thus far. Strengths: Giannis Antetkoumpo looks to be hitting his stride without Lillard in the lineup. Weaknesses: The Bucks fell short in the playoffs last season thanks to poor bench player and lack of athleticism. Can they overcome that this season? Last Week’s Rank: 6th
#5. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-2) (+1500/+3500) - The T-Wolves experiment with twin towers never took off last season with Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury. This season, the early returns are excellent. Strengths: The T-Wolves are arguably the best defensive team in the league thus far. Weaknesses: Can this team maintain this pace, particularly on the defensive end? Last Week’s Rank: Unranked
#4. Dallas Mavericks (8-2) (+1100/+2500) - The Mavs continue to roll on early but we have seen this story before when Doncic comes into the season in shape and healthy. Strengths: Luka Doncic looks like an MVP right now, but... Weaknesses: Can Doncic keep up with pace or will he fall off like he did last season when he started to get out of shape? Last Week’s Rank: 4th
#3. Denver Nuggets (8-2) (+210/+400) - The Nuggets decision to rest Jamal Murray for the rest of the month with a hamstring issue is a sound move for a team that could cruise to close to 60 wins this season regardless. Strengths: Nikola Jokic slid right into the role of primary ball distributor with Murray out and has two Triple-Doubles in his last three games. Weaknesses: Murray is the team’s second-most indispensable player so keep an eye on his injury. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd
#2. Boston Celtics (8-2) (+155/+370) - Back-to-back losses knocked the Celtics out of the ranks of the undefeated but they have bounced back with three straight wins. Strengths: The Celtics’ top six is the best in the NBA thus far. Weaknesses: Boston is still tinkering with off-the-bench scoring to help out the team’s top six. Last Week’s Rank: 1st
#1. Philadelphia 76ers (8-1) (+600/+1400) - The Sixers have certainly changed their approach this season and head coach Nick Nurse continues to tinker with his lineups while the team rolls to an 8-1 record. Strengths: The Sixers are playing much faster this season, ranked 3rd in fastbreak points with Maxey running the show. Weaknesses: Kelly Oubre’s unfortunate injury certainly robs the Sixers of a key piece of their rotation. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd
Top-Five MVP Candidates:
After a month of NBA play, I will begin to rank the Top Five MVP candidates on a weekly basis including their up-to-date odds to win the award. Last year, the odds and rankings shifted several times on the way to Joel Embiid claiming his first MVP award. There will likely be several shifts as well this year and I will be there to update you every step of the way while offering compelling arguments as to why you should jump in with a future bet if the odds are right.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
LA Clippers at Dallas on Saturday at 8:30 PM EST
Season Record 1-0: We liked the Sixers last week over the Suns at home and Philly pulled away with a 112-100 win.
The stars will be out in Dallas with the likes of Leonard, George, Westbrook, Harden, Irving, and Doncic. Unfortunately for the Clippers, only Doncic is truly at the height of his powers. I wouldn’t lean too heavily on the Clippers early on as they sort through a lineup that has too few basketballs and too many shooters. I like the Mavs to win and cover here.
In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of Draftkings.com.
By Mark Ruelle