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NBA Shootaround – The Frontrunners

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The NBA season is only three weeks old and little more than 10 percent of the schedule has been completed. However, there’s no time like the present to go around the league and cherry pick the best of the bunch so far. Without further ado, let’s go!

Eastern Conference Winners

Toronto Raptors – Despite winning 59 games and copping the No. 1 playoff seed in the East last year, Toronto took six games to dispatch the pedestrian-at-best Washington Wizards and were summarily swept out of the playoffs in the next round by the Cavaliers. Notwithstanding their talented roster, the team lacked grit and many believed their acquisition of the supremely gifted Kawhi Leonard was just a one-year rental for a player who wished to be elsewhere.

However, the Raps are making a case that this year is different and it’s hard to argue as they have the best record in the Eastern Conference in the early part of November. Maybe Toronto had a heart transplant in the offseason but Leonard has proven to be worthy of their pursuits, averaging over 26 points per game which is above his career best of 25.7 during the 2016-2017 season.

Milwaukee Bucks – The Greek Freak is back and he’s better than ever kids. If voting closed for the league’s MVP today, Giannis Antetokounmpo would have our vote and more than a few others. The Bucks’ young forward is averaging 26.1 PPG and nearly 14 boards per game. Milwaukee experienced their first loss of the season after winning their first seven when they fell to Boston 117-113. However, the news is nothing but good in Milwaukee as the Bucks are second in the league in points, third in assists, fifth in points allowed and tops in rebounds. Sounds like the makings of a juggernaut.

Boston Celtics – After finding their early season footing, the Celtics ripped off four straight wins until they had a WTF moment in Indiana and bowed 102-101 to the Pacers. But all systems are go for Boston and bench jockey Marcus Morris is proving to be reliable in his supporting role. The C’s are the top defensive team in the league but their point production has been lacking. Nevertheless, they are the team to beat in the East with all due respect to the Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers.

Indiana Pacers – Although the Pacers had a big victory over Boston it’s not their modus operandi to beat the big boys. Indiana has a flair for kicking the hell out of the weak sisters and thus looking more formidable than they actually are. However, we must include them because their record dictates we do but don’t get used to seeing the Pacers in such elite company.

Western Conference

Golden State Warriors – It’s no surprise the Warriors are here and it would only be shocking if we didn’t see Steph and the boys in the Finals come June. The Warriors are a machine and the only thing we didn’t see coming was the emergence of 26-year-old Alfonzo McKinnie who has come out of nowhere to contribute to the success of the franchise.

It also comes as no surprise that the oddsmakers are routinely favoring the Warriors by double digits and those who make money on such events understand that one of the most trusted online sportsbooks in the industry can be seen at SBR where you can read the Bovada review before placing some action. Yes, Bovada is commonly hailed as the most venerable online sportsbook in the world and if you’ve got an inclination to get in on the action or simply need another out, give Bovada a chance to earn your business.

Denver Nuggets – Say what?! Wow, who would have thought that the Nuggets would jump out of the gates and into contention in such a big way? Not only are they winning but this is a team showing more temerity than we ever thought possible as evidenced by their 35 point fourth-quarter explosion which led them well past the Jazz in a 103-88 victory. But defense, not offense, has been the hallmark of their success on the young season and a penchant for beating up teams on the glass. How long this lasts, who knows? But right now, the Nuggets are pure gold.

Portland Trail Blazers – It’s certainly not startling to see the Blazers here, however, there is a team of note that is missing. Hmm, wonder which team that could be? Oh well, apparently, we have a failure to launch but we’ll eventually figure it out.

Portland is playing a high-tempo offense complemented by a stout defense and is doing it all while punishing the glass. CJ McCollum is not quite up to his usual lofty standards but he’s getting close and Damian Lillard is nearly unconscious with a 28 plus point per game average and hitting everything that moves.

Well, that’s it until next time people, and if you want to put your money where your mouth is when betting the NBA, make sure to check out the best online sportsbooks over at SBR.

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Can LeBron and the LA Lakers Bring it Home in 2019/2020?

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LeBron James is smiling all the way to the bank with an estimated net worth of $480 million, and a salary of $100 million per year. standing 6’9″ tall this NBA superstar, TV producer, voice actor, and screenwriter has everything going for him. His $40 million per year salary from the NBA is supplemented by endorsements valued at $55 million a year, for a massive haul of $100 million per annum in income.

In his first 10 years as a professional player, he earned $452 million, and at last count his total career earnings exceeded $600 million before taxes. Among the many companies that have endorsed him include Coca-Cola, Baskin-Robbins, Nike, Microsoft, McDonald’s, State Farm, and Beats by Dre. He’s still a long way away from billionaire status like Michael Jordan ($1.9 billion), but given his huge talent, he’ll get there soon enough, maybe even with the LA Lakers!

March Madness Ahead for LA Lakers

In 2019/2020, James has already played in 51+ games for the LA Lakers, scoring 25 points on average, with 7.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. The current squad includes the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Anthony Davis, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Devontae Cacok, Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, LeBron James, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels, Kostas Antetokounmpo, and Dwight Howard. The team is coached by Frank Vogel, and owned by the Jerry Buss Family Trust.

The LA Lakers performed exceptionally well in the Western Conference, leading the pack as the #1 team. They’ve currently won 41 games, lost 12, with a win percent ratio of 0.774 (Friday, 21 February 2020). The Conference Performance reads 28-6, their home record 18-7, and their away record 23-5. Their closest competition at this point in time in the Western Conference comes from the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Clippers both of which are experiencing losses heading into the last weekend of the month. The LA Lakers face the following teams in March:

  • LA Lakers versus Pelicans – Sunday, 1 March at 8 PM
  • 76ers versus LA Lakers – Tuesday, 3 March at 10 PM
  • Bucks versus LA Lakers – Friday, 6 March at 10:30 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Clippers – Sunday, 8 March at 3:30 PM
  • Nets versus LA Lakers – Tuesday, 10 March at 10:30 PM
  • Rockets versus LA Lakers – Thursday, 12 March at 10:30 PM
  • Nuggets versus LA Lakers – Sunday, 15 March at 9 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Jazz – Monday, 16 March at 9 PM
  • Jazz versus LA Lakers – Wednesday 18 March at 10 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Hornets – Saturday, 21 March at 7 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Pistons – Sunday, 22 March at 6 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Raptors – Tuesday, 24 March at 7:30 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Cavaliers – Thursday, 26 March at 7 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Wizards – Saturday, 28 March at 8 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Timberwolves – Monday, 30 March at 8 PM

The current Los Angeles Lakers stats (courtesy of NBA advanced stats) indicate that the team is currently #7 in the PPG, #7 in the RPG, #4 in the APG, and #7 in the OPG, with a record of 41-12 (.774). The team is ranked #1 in the Western Conference and #1 in the Pacific Division. The top online bookmakers are pretty clear about how strong the LA Lakers are doing. For example, 888sport NJ NBA odds have the LA Lakers as near favorites to win the championship at +300.

Other leading bookmakers have the LA Lakers at odds of 9/4 to win the 2019/2020 NBA finals taking place on June 15, 2020. Next in line are the Milwaukee Bucks at odds of 11/4, and the Los Angeles Clippers and odds of 3/1. Clearly, LeBron James & company rank among the big guns to bring it home, in the top 5 teams to win the NBA finals. Either way, it’s going to be a tough road ahead for the Bucks, Lakers, and Clippers in futures betting.

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USA vs Europe – Top European players that have made an impact in the NBA

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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.

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Evaluating The Favorites For The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy

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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.

Dallas Mavericks

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?

 

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