NBA Perfect Ten (Week of October 30th)
No tricks here only treats for us all as the NBA season is back! The Denver Nuggets are on top of the mountain but there are hungry teams all around them hoping to build toward that Championship Trophy by season’s end. Here is the very first NBA Perfect Ten for the 2023-24 season:
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Perfect Ten (Week of October 30th)
#10. Dallas Mavericks (+1200/+2500) - Of all the undefeated teams left in the NBA, the Mavs may be the most intriguing. They have the league’s most talented player, not the best but most talented, in Doncic and one of the league’s most dynamic players in Irving. God knows that Mavs’ management has never been afraid to make a big trade. Could they pull something off to give this team a jolt come playoff season? Strengths: Two superior offensive players that can take over any game at any time. Weaknesses: The Mavs’ depth chart takes a major, major dropoff after Doncic and Irving.
#9. LA Lakers (+900/+1200) - LeBron is still LeBron, which is incredible given that he is 39. His minutes are being reduced, however, which means AD needs to be a more consistent presence this season. Strengths: The Lakers certainly improved their bench in the offseason which is important given the team’s need to rest LeBron more. Weaknesses: Can Anthony Davis play up to his MVP talent night in and night out? If so, this is a championship-driven team. If not, it’ll be an early exit for the Lakers.
#8. LA Clippers (+900/+1700) - The Clippers and their fans hope that they no longer have to use the term ‘load management’ in regard to their star players. So far, so good, three games in and three games played each by Leonard and George. Strengths: The health of the dynamic duo of Leonard and George is all that matters to this team now. Weaknesses: The team’s continued flirtation with James Harden. Has the rest of the NBA learned anything from any of his last three exits from his previous three teams?
#7. Golden State Warriors (+600/+1100) - The Warriors Championship-Three of Curry, Green, and Thompson are still in place. Chris Paul’s adjustment to coming off the bench and strengthening the second unit could keep Curry and Thompson fresher for the playoffs this season. Strengths: Curry is still the league’s most dangerous offensive weapon and the hope is Paul can do for the likes of Looney and Wiggins what he did for Ayton in Phoenix. Weaknesses: Like many veteran teams, the Warriors have to hope that their aging core holds up.
#6. Philadelphia 76ers (+700/+1700) - Nick Nurse brings a new philosophy and a fresh voice to a team that needs it. Embiid is still the focal point but the improvement of Maxey has made this team more dynamic. Strengths: The Sixers have the ability to play fast or slow things down and pound it into the paint with Embiid. Weaknesses: The Harden situation remains unresolved and the team won’t be whole until they move on from him.
#5. Phoenix Suns (+380/+700) - The Suns added Beal to give them three dynamic offensive weapons but he brings with him his own baggage, his recent inability to stay on the floor. Suns fans will watch closely all season the health of Beal and teammate Kevin Durant. Strengths: Few teams have three players that can create their own shot at any time like the Suns have with Beal, Durant, and Booker. Weaknesses: Like last year, the Suns will live and die by the health of Durant.
#4. Milwaukee Bucks (+190/+400) - It will take some time for Giannis’ game to mesh with Lillard’s game. That was evident in a blowout loss to Atlanta in which the Bucks’ offense looked stagnant. Strengths: Lillard gives the Bucks one of the game’s best closers and will eventually be a perfect inside-out complement to Giannis. Weaknesses: While Giannis stated this is Lillard’s team now, it is very much Giannis’ team. They will need to sort out their offense to complement two of the league’s premier talents.
#3. New Orleans Pelicans (+1300/+1500) - I know. I know. When is the other shoe going to drop with Zion ending up on the injured list? He’s healthy now and this team has a great blend of inside strength with long-range shooting. Strengths: Excellent offensive tempo and a nice blend of youth with some veterans. Weaknesses: Pelicans’ fans are turning blue at the moment, holding their in the hopes that you know who stays healthy.
#2. Boston Celtics (+185/+400) - Kristap Porzingas looks very comfortable surrounded by four high-level players in the starting five. Jayson Tatum looks like he’s improved his post game and the Celtics starting backcourt of White and Holiday look to be interchangeable defensive forces. Strengths: Boston’s length can look startling at times and that has shown through in the team’s ability to defend the interior. Weaknesses: The Celtics are still working through their bench rotation after Al Horford.
#1. Denver Nuggets (+250/+400) - The Nuggets have come out of the gates with the appropriate championship swagger. They have won each of their first three games and the duo of Jokic and Murray looks unstoppable. Strengths: Team confidence and incredible ball movement in the offensive end. Weaknesses: Not too many weaknesses yet for the champs. They will eventually need a defensive-oriented wing off the bench.
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:
Phoenix at Philadelphia Saturday 1:00 PM EST
The Sixers will likely be a small favorite heading into this inter-conference matchup of two title contenders. The Suns got a little more rugged this offseason as part of the deal to acquire Beal. Center Jusuf Nurkic gives the team rebounding and solid post defense which is critical against a Sixers team that features Embiid. Will Beal be back in the lineup? Will Harden be traded or back in the lineup? Early thoughts in this one have me leaning toward Philly with the Suns in the first game of a back-to-back that finds a far more winnable game in Detroit on Sunday.
In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of Draftkings.com.
By Mark Ruelle