For the last eight years, LeBron has guided his Eastern Conference team to the NBA Finals, winning the championship on three occasions. Now that he’s moved to the Los Angeles Lakers to add to his Hall of Fame resume, the Boston Celtics have emerged as the favorites to make it to the finals, per Forbes. But, there’s a sense of optimism among many teams in the east, particularly those in the Atlantic Division, that they can now have a shot at the championship, most likely taking on the eternally powerful Golden State Warriors to do so.
As a show of how optimistic all of the top eastern teams are, the Philadelphia 76ers traded for All-Star forward Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves, joining the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to form their new big three. The trade cost the 76ers a 2022 second-round pick, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and Robert Covington while they also received Justin Patton, as reported by ESPN.
But, do the 76ers, adding another All-Star to their line-up, enhance their odds of coming out of the Eastern Conference as NBA finalists, or is there simply too much competition to contend with right now?
Toronto Raptors going all-out
After taking the Toronto Raptors to the peak of the Eastern Conference with a 59-23 record, Dwane Casey’s team inevitably fell to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason. Following this, the Raptors opted for a change at head coach after Casey’s seven-seasons of building which culminated in this franchise-record season. Casey’s firing came just two days before he would be named the league’s coach of the year, according to the New York Times. So, with the job handed to Nick Nurse, people expected the team to drop off, somewhat, this season.
But, something that has seemingly helped the Raptors to take that extra step forward and look to capitalize on the James-less conference is the high-risk trade for Kawhi Leonard with the San Antonio Spurs, sending fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan the other way. It was the story of the summer, with many analyzing its long-term implications but, for this season at least, the Raptors have a player who has greatly benefitted from a change of scenery, per The Sportster. At the 15-game mark, Leonard averaged 24.2 points, 1.7 steals, 6.5 defensive rebounds, and 2.4 turnovers per game through 11 starts.
Boston star unfazed by Butler move
From the start of the season, the Boston Celtics have been the favorites from the Eastern Conference to go on to the NBA Finals. When healthy, they are one of, if not the deepest team in the NBA, making them the conference’s most formidable foe for the Warriors. With an 8-6 start, they’re off of the pace set by the Toronto Raptors, but in the NBA, as long as a team makes it to the playoffs, they can overcome their regular season record to come out on top.
Star point guard of the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving, was posed the question as to how the Jimmy Butler trade impacts the battle in the Atlantic Division. With the Philadelphia 76ers on 9-7 at the time, it could be seen that one new star player might take them past the Celtics. But, at this stage in the season, Irving simply responded: “Who cares, honestly? It’s still so early,” as reported by Celtics Wire.
Did the Butler trade influence the Atlantic Division?
The Boston Celtics boast a remarkably talented and deep team, and the Toronto Raptors are tearing away from the rest of the Atlantic Division, so it would be understandable for neither team to be overly fazed by the Philadelphia 76ers trading for another star player. As deliberated by the NBA Blogtable, experts see the deal as tightening the group, but not enough to push Philly into being true contenders just yet.
The Philadelphia 76ers were a dark horse to make it to the NBA Finals from the start of the season, lining up just ahead of or alongside the Milwaukee Bucks. As of November 15th, with the trade done and dusted, Betway has the 76ers at +400 to win the conference, with the Celtics at +187.50 and the Raptors at +150. While it was, without a doubt, a huge trade in the NBA, in the eyes of the experts, it’s still not enough to push the 76ers ahead of the Celtics or the Raptors as leading contenders for the Eastern Conference.
It may, however, set the wheels in motion for the 76ers to become a super-team next summer, potentially paving the way for them to lead the conference over the next couple of seasons. As explained by Fadeaway World, the Sixers could make a move for pending 2019 free agent Kyrie Irving, should they play their cards right.
If this were to happen, it would be difficult to see any other team coming close in their star power. Only time will tell if the Butler trade has been as influential as it has been suggested, and it may be that it takes until the next year or so before the full effects are seen.
USA vs Europe – Top European players that have made an impact in the NBA
There are very few sports where the dominance of one nation is so remarkable as the American dominance in basketball. Even if you take nations who are very good at basketball and have a long-standing tradition, they are still no match for the USA, especially when the Americans decide to take their best players on the court, which to be fair, doesn’t happen all that often.
Even if only half of the best NBA players are part of the American national team, that team is still strong enough to beat all the other teams in the competition, regardless of whether we’re talking about the Olympics or the World Cup. Although it is fair to say that the US took the Olympic Games a lot more seriously than the World Cups. The Americans have won 15 gold medals out of 18 Olympic Games on which they participated.
The sheer thought of having another team win the Olympics when the Americans are playing with their top crop of players is quite unbelievable. In fact, for many players, it is more conceivable to win a jackpot at one of the most popular new online slots than for the Serbs or the Spaniards to win against a full US squad.
Differences in terms of rules and quality
The difference between the American national team and the other national teams is tremendous as we mentioned, but the difference between the NBA and the other national leagues is even more impressive. And it’s not just in terms of rules. Yes, to fans of other sports it may seem quite weird that there are different rules in USA and in Europe. And when we say different rules, we don’t mean small details and finesses – quarters in the NBA last longer by 2 minutes, which makes the whole game longer by 8 minutes in total. Also, the 3-point line in NBA is behind the European 3-point line which also has a major impact on the game.
But what we really want to talk about is the difference in quality between the teams of the NBA and their European counterparts. If you are a fan of other sports, you have surely noticed that the national leagues that are considered to be among the best are more or less evenly matched and clashes between the top-performing teams of each league can be quite intense and unpredictable. Whereas, the worst NBA team could beat most if not all European teams on any given day.
The great Nowitzki
Here we’re not going to discuss the NBA teams and their performance against European teams, as there isn’t a lot of data, there haven’t been a lot of competitive matches between NBA and European teams, instead, we will have a look at the most successful Europeans to have played in the NBA.
We are starting top to bottom, but this list is in no way conclusive, and we are not implying that a player that’s placed higher in the rank is definitely and undoubtedly better than the ones who come below. It is more of an approximation than a definitive list.
Obviously, Dirk Nowitzki is the first and most obvious choice here. Not only is he the European player who has made the most tremendous impact on the game, but generally speaking, Nowitzki is a player who marked an era and led his Mavs to a title in 2011. A list of his achievements and the impact he made on the game, so we’re going to stop here and conclude that he is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, not just the best European to play in the NBA.
Jordan’s fierce rival in the early 1990s – Drazen Petrovic
Some of the best Europeans in the NBA have come from the countries that used to be part of Yugoslavia, most notably Serbia and Croatia. Drazen Petrovic, who died in a tragic traffic accident in 1993, sure is one of the most notable European players, although everybody agrees that if his life hadn’t ended at the age of 28, he would’ve had at least several more remarkable seasons. Petrovic played 5 seasons in the NBA, two in the Trailblazers and three in the then-New Jersey Nets.
The remarkable Frenchman – Parker
Tony Parker is undoubtedly the best Frenchman to ever play in the NBA. A six-time all-star, Parker has won four NBA rings with the San Antonio Spurs, a team where he almost spent his entire career, bar the last season in Charlotte.
The best brother-duo
The Gasol brothers brought a unique style of play to the game, although we have to say that Pau’s impact and contribution are significantly greater.
The quirky Serb who could defend against Shaquille
The current manager of Sacramento Kings, Vlade Divac was drafted in 1989 and played a total of 16 years in the NBA, mostly for the Kings and the Lakers. Divac is also known for his work off the court with his Divac’s Children Foundation.
Other players who deserve a mention
Other players that definitely deserve a mention are: Peja Stojakovic, Arvydas Sabonis, Toni Kukoč, Detlef Schrempf, and Dino Radja.
Current crop led by the amazing European Jordan
Most of the players listed above are players who are no longer active, or their careers are slowly coming to an end, but some of the current Europeans who are active in the NBA are very likely to make a great impact and surpass some of the players who are currently on this list. Most notably, we have to mention Luka Dončić who has already been nicknamed Euro Jordan. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Kristaps Porziņģis should also be mentioned.
Evaluating The Favorites For The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy
Many deadlines have now passed with NBA meaning that contenders cannot move in order to boost their team’s chances of success. Nevertheless, while the opportunity was there, many teams made the most of it. Marcus Morris has been acquired by the LA Clippers, and Robert Covington has now gone over to the Houston Rockets. Playoffs are only drawing closer and closer, with the likes of Anthony Davis and Lebron James battling it out. If you’re thinking of placing a bet this year, take a look at the odds below then take a look at the best NJ online sportsbook bonuses (list) before placing your bet.
Los Angeles Lakers: +275
Although previously seen as the underdogs to the Clippers, which was confirmed when they lost to them on two occasions, they still remain a firm favorite at the moment for winning the championship. Hopefully, they’ll have the home-court advantage once the Western Conference playoffs kick-off. If ever they needed a Darren Collinson influence, it would be now.
Milwaukee Bucks: +300
Betters remain skeptical this year due to last year’s terrible playoff against the Toronto Raptors. Although they did play particularly well this season, people aren’t putting their money where their mouths are before they show signs they can win this season.
Los Angeles Clippers: +333
The deadline introduction of Marcus Morris has definitely put this team to an advantage, keeping him from joining rivals as well. There’s also the benefit he’s been able to defend Kawhi Leonard on potential playoffs. Its no surprise betters are placing their trust in the Lakes, but with Morrises fantastic recent performance, who’s to say this can’t change?
Philadelphia 76ers: +1400
This season has been a bit of a struggle for them, despite entering as one of the favorites. Although Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson will somewhat boost the bench’s chances of success, there are other more pressing issues amongst the wider team. The performance of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has been less than satisfactory, throwing their long-term future with the team in an uncertain light.
Houston Rockets: +1600
Even though there is skepticism about how this team is better than the big boys such as the Lakers or Rockets, they still remain a dynamic group, switching things up recently especially with defense and starting center/wing.
Boston Celtics: +2000
Denver Nuggets: +2000
Miami Heat: +2000
Utah Jazz: +2000
All these teams are at a good advantage this time around. Particularly the Heats who now have Andre Iguodala, plus multiple changes to Denver’s bench. Nevertheless, the teams will remain with much of the same core they’ve had during the season.
Toronto Raptors: +2500
Although they haven’t yet received appreciation expected for multi-season success, they are slowly improving than other comparable teams, despite having low odds of 25-1. They’ve managed to improve their record this season to 37-14. It appears this team won’t go down without a fight.
This team has been blighted with injuries recently, affecting their performance. Just some examples include Luka Doncic spraining his ankle, Dwight Powell rupturing his Achilles tendon. This hasn’t been helped wither by Kristaps Porzingis lackluster performance so far. As can be expected, the Mavericks are now looking at next year to contend properly.
Indiana Pacers: +6600
They are doing surprisingly well but still have a fair way to go before they can truly work towards achieving the title. We were expecting a somewhat better performance on the return of Victor Oladipo. Indiana is in a similar sphere, only shooting 24.5% from the field.
Brooklyn Nets: +10000
Portland Trail Blazers: +100000
Again, another two teams that have been unfortunate with injured players. Despite this, however, they’re doing well with a strong team such as Damian Lillard and Kyle Irving who have both recently displayed impressive performances on stage. Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away the threats that could occur postseason due to the mediocre record of Star Guests.
Oklahoma City Thunder: +15000
San Antonia Spurs: +15000
The odds of both teams are somewhat unusual, particularly Oklahoma City which looks particularly out of place compared to teams above them. San Antonio remains closer to the likes of Portland and Brooklyn in the standings, but this time around are with Oklahoma City 150-1.
Memphis Grizzlies: +20000
They have a more enviable record than some, however, only have odds of 200-1 this time around. Nevertheless, their odds remain better than the Nets and Blazers. Another concern is the loss of two crucial players, Jae Crowther and Solomon Hill when the Andre Iguodala trade comes around.
Minnesota Timberwolves: +25000
New Orleans Pelicans: +25000
Orlando Magic: +25000
Phoenix Suns: +25000
Sacramento Kings: +25000
Washington Wizards: +25000
There are a couple of exciting things going on with these teams. There is one playoff left to go which is with Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference at number eight seed. D’Angelo Russell has been joined with Karl-Anthony Towns. However, this isn’t expected to make much difference this year.
Atlanta Hawks: +50000
Chicago Bulls: +50000
Detroit Pistons: +50000
Golden State Warriors: +50000
It has been difficult for these teams this year with the loss of key players like Andre Drummond and D’Angelo Russell. We think it’s highly unlikely the teams have any chance of success in this year’s championships. But who knows what could happen next time around?
Taking a Look at the Best March Madness Betting Tips and Strategies
With March Madness fast approaching, it is time to start delving into the best tips and strategies, to give you the best chance of winning. This tournament has been hyped up for a while now and it is finally time to take a look at the March Madness 2020 schedule and betting odds statistics.
According to a study which was reported by the American Gaming Association, also known as AGA:
- 1 in 5 basketball fans, who are adults, will place bets on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
- Around $10 Billion is being wagered on March Madness (inclusive of all the legal and illegal tournament pools).
- In 2019, March Madness reported a total bet of $495 million from the Nevada region only.
The first round of March Madness will kick off from 17th March and will have the championship game on 6th April. This gives you plenty of time to get your research done on the teams and become more knowledgeable for when the games take place. Now, let’s explore three of the most successful strategies that can be acknowledged to win the bets:
For this strategy to work, the match must have a clear favorite team with odds above 1.35, which loses at the end of the first two quarters. Although a team is a favorite and the chances of it winning are high, there are chances (less) of it getting reversed.
The task for you is to bet during the break between the second and the third quarter of the match. This time is referred to as the positive handicap of the original favorite. Usually, at this moment, the odds for the outcome are highest. Optimally, you can choose the odds ranging from 1.82 to 1.85.
In most cases of this betting strategy, the losing team begins to catch up, reducing the gap to the minimum. Accordingly, the stake on a positive handicap of the team holds an excellent chance to be a success.
Victorious with a strong will
For this basketball betting strategy, you’ll have to place a bet on a live match (just as in most of the other strategies). You’ll have to choose a match that’s almost over or is somewhere in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The gap in the points of both teams should be as minimal as possible. That means the competition is neck to neck and fierce. The odd for winning one of them is must be 3-3.5. And now, as you must have already guessed! You’ll bet on the victory of a team.
The success of this strategy is mostly dependent on the fact that at the end of such close matches, a reliable outcome is rarely predictable. Additionally, with a minimum gap of points, the possibilities of winning are nearly equal for both teams.
However, it must be noted that this basketball betting system can bring tangible benefits only over the long run.
Be an underdog
Statistics can be a stubborn thing to go for, mostly in the games the favorites are denoted by odds 1.5-1.8, and not all quarters end with the victory of these favorites.
So, next time when you take up the challenge in winning the basketball betting system, choose a match and then bet on the victory of an underdog quarter wise. This means you’ll be beginning with your strategy from the first quarter, and if the team loses, bet in the second quarter, etc. In such cases, the odds on the outsider victory would be above 2.0 or even 2.2.
If you want to make it big, then you switch matches. For example, if your stake on one of the quarters wins, then you can change the game and similarly begin from scratch.
Use a mix of the above strategies in this March Madness and let us know if it worked for you!
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