Perfect Ten (Week of November 6th)
The NBA season is back and the in-season tournament has begun! 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 another NBA Perfect Ten for the 2023-24 season:
Perfect Ten (Week of November 6th)
#10. LA Lakers (+700/+1400) - It might be best to temper expectations for the Lakers’ regular season record. This team just needs to get into the playoffs and then, like last year, they can be a problem when healthy. Strengths: LeBron’s 4th quarter dominance, at his age, is remarkable. Weaknesses: At nearly 40 years of age, it is a bit disconcerting that LeBron is far more reliable late in games than Anthony Davis. Last Week’s Rank: 9th
#9. LA Clippers (+650/+1300) - The Clippers finally got what they wanted in a deal for Harden this week. Now to see how the well-traveled Harden fits in. Strengths: There is no shortage of veterans on this team now, all with the capability of creating their own shot. Weaknesses: The move for Harden certainly would sew up the 2017 NBA Title for this team. Now, not so much. Last Week’s Rank: 8th
#8. Phoenix Suns (3-4) (+380/+700) - The Suns’ two straight losses to the Spurs at home was certainly concerning. More concerning is seeing Beal and Booker in street clothes. Strengths: Durant was dominant in a win over Detroit on the road to end their losing streak and looked to be in midseason form. Weaknesses: The Suns aren’t deep enough to maintain a winning record without any of their big three of Beal, Booker, and Durant. Last Week’s Rank: 5th
#7. New Orleans Pelicans (4-2) (+2500/+5000) - The Pelicans are surprisingly just 2-2 at home thus far and have just a -2.8 point differential despite their winning record. Strengths: When this team is right, they have a very good combo of floor spacers and rim rattlers. But, how often can they be right this season? Weaknesses: The Pelicans are certainly doing their best to stay ahead of Williamson’s injury issues. Why does that worry me? Last Week’s Rank: 3rd
#6. Milwaukee Bucks (3-2) (+190/+425) - It hasn’t been a perfect union to start for Lillard and Giannis. They will sort that out. The Bucks will continue to rise back up this list. Strengths: The Bucks can beat you inside or outside now with Lillard in the lineup. Weaknesses: The Bucks’ defense has certainly taken a hit in replacing Holiday with Lillard. Last Week’s Rank: 4th
#5. Golden State Warriors (5-2) (+600/+1200) - The Warriors’ regular season will likely be spent protecting the health of their Big Three of Curry, Thompson and Green. If they are healthy come playoff time, this team has a puncher’s chance. Strengths: Curry hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down at 35 and that isn’t good for the rest of the NBA. Weaknesses: The inconsistency from Andrew Wiggins thus far has to be concerning. Last Week’s Rank: 7th
#4. Dallas Mavericks (5-1) (+1200/+2500) - Dallas started out similarly last year only to fade hard late. Doncic may be the most complete talent in the NBA but, while Zion Williamson gets a ton of grief for his conditioning, Doncic has not done himself any favors either during the season. He often comes into a season in peak shape but cracks form late. If he can maintain his conditioning and the Mavs can get a few more pieces, they’ll be a tough out. Strengths: Doncic at the height of his powers is nearly unstoppable. Weaknesses: Irving has already missed games this season and that tune has been played out in recent years. Last Week’s Rank: 10th
#3. Philadelphia 76ers (4-1) (+800/+2000) - The Sixers moved on from Harden and have actually given Nick Nurse more options off the bench. Strengths: Harden’s departure lifts a dark cloud off the organization. Weaknesses: Nurse will need to sort out the new parts and work them around Embiid. Last Week’s Rank: 6th
#2. Denver Nuggets (6-1) (+240/+475) - Denver dropped its first game of the season but came right back with two straight wins. Strengths: The Nuggets have the perfect complement of players to work around Jokic and his considerable talents. Weaknesses: Complacency might be this team’s only enemy at this point. Last Week’s Rank: 1st
#1. Boston Celtics (5-0) (+160/+360) - Boston moves into the top spot as they remain undefeated and possess the NBA’s largest average margin of victory thus far. Strengths: Jayson Tatum’s improved low post moves should frighten the rest of the NBA. Weaknesses: The chemistry between Tatum and Jaylen Brown is always something worth examining. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd
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