This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Last season: 29-24-1
If you're thinking to yourself that the NBA is lacking drama, storylines and narratives, this is the column for you.
Besides the unending sarcasm I will add to these pieces, mostly used as an outlet to yell at the audience about betting trends, this year (at the liberty of the editors and awesome people at RotoWire), we will be adding even more pointless...stuff.
A for Effort, F for Execution Missed Dunk of the Week:
— Bretthalamow (@bmf1314) October 22, 2017
John Collins is one of my heroes. In case you were wondering (you're not) the other two are D'Angelo Russell and Jamal Crawford.
The Hawks are going to be a team that I am almost entirely sure will screw the line on a weekly basis. Hold me to this: we avoid Hawks games.
Absurd Spurs Stat of the Century:
Fewest days with a losing record in the NBA in the last 20 years:Spurs - 48Mavericks - 759Rockets - 856Lakers - 865Jazz - 919— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 22, 2017
I'd let Popovich run the country and fill the cabinet with five Tiago Splitter's.
On to the madness:
Nuggets at Hornets (+1.5)
Completely subjective point to kick this off: Malik Monk and Kemba Walker will be the most fun backcourt in five years. Until then, the Hornets offensive efficiency with Kemba Walker off the court is neither efficient or resemble all that much "offense". Owner of the nastiest step back in Madison Square Garden's history (RIP Original Big East, RIP all of Pitt's ankles in that game), Walker has flown under the radar given how top heavy the point guard position has become.
Small sample size be damned, the Hornets' offensive rating with Walker on court (104.3), opposed to him off court (72.5), is a sign towards asking their leader to literally play 48 minutes a game. Currently, Dwight Howard has nearly the same (-31.5) net rating differential, which, is weird to type out given it being Dwight Howard and we all agreed to not like him since he left Orlando.
Charlotte's rebounding has been strong through the first three games of the season, technically good for third in the NBA. I am writing this at 3:00 p.m. PST on Tuesday afternoon, so things will change later, but YOU GET THE POINT.
All those words about the Hornets. Plot twist: back the Nuggets giving a point and a half. While the home underdog bet is juicy and enticing, it's just not enough points. The sample size is impossibly small to work with to make any guarantees (aside from Giannis being better than LeBron, Jordan, Kobe and Wilt combined), the Nuggets ball movement and top to bottom roster is a problem for Western Conference teams, let alone a mishap against the Wizards, the team should bounce back against a worse Hornets team.
Denver's T-11th in TS% and the Nuggets' offensive efficiency is hovering around 20th – this will all change. It's not like Jokic, Harris and Murray got worse, they are only getting better.
The Pick: Nuggets (-1.5)
Rockets at 76ers (+3.5)
If you can buy a point in this game for slightly worse odds, the 76ers at +4.5 is the line I would have hoped for. Either way, we have to trust the process on this one, given it is the 76ers' biggest game to date. Ben Simmons dropped a triple-double in the Sixers first win of the season over the Detroit Pistons, that last assist made it 30 points for Joel Embiid. While Fultz's shoulder is literally filled with goop, so much so that he can't raise his arms (in my professional doctoral opinion, that's not good), the Saric-Simmons combo with Embiid being a complete nightmare in the paint for opposing defenses, the Phillyballers have a shot at winning this game straight up.
This is not to undersell the Rockets. James Harden leading the team with Chris Paul sidelined at the moment will see tremendous returns on offense, but everybody knows his defense is not up to speed. This is where the loss of Patrick Beverley hurts, especially with super genius CP3 on the bench. Clint Capela is getting big boy rebounds and has come into his own in the PnR, however, Embiid and Simmons are just warming up.
The Pick: 76ers (+3.5)