Cole Huff’s NBA notebook: Best teams against the spread, Philly depth, Siakam growth

Glass Onion Birdie Jay Kim Kardashian
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The NBA season is only two weeks old and already full of surprises. Here are a few words about what’s happening around the league that you should know, including which teams to bet on, which players are turning heads and why you shouldn’t give up on certain teams already.

Philadelphia depth

“Look, I’m all aboard the 76ers hype train. I said this was their best roster during the Joel Embiid era, which has more than enough potential to finish with the best record of The East. They should doze in 50+ wins, as they have in the past three 82-game seasons. Plus, getting a full year from James Harden should give them another boost in the regular season. .

Do any of you recognize those glowing words about the Philadelphia 76ers? They’ve been mine for a few weeks. And while the Sixers’ start was uneven, I stand by what I’ve said before – mostly because I still believe in Philly’s improved depth.

James Harden’s fantastic start to the season and Joel Embiid’s unexpected slowness grabbed headlines amid the Sixers’ 0-3 away record. But lost in the talk was how much Philadelphia’s new plays had struggled to make a positive impact on the games. But ever since the Philadelphia bench combined to score a dismal 34 points in the first three games of the season, it looks like the slow start and everyone’s favorite “it’s gonna take time” period is starting to wear off. blur. As a result, the Sixers are back on track.

De’Anthony Melton’s upside was the easiest difference to spot. Whether coming off the bench or as a part-time starter in Joel Embiid’s missed games through injury, he has been steady on both sides of the pitch. Georges Niang’s nighttime value mainly depends on whether or not he makes jumps, and he’s been valuable lately. And while Montrezl Harrell didn’t look like a former Sixth Man of the Year winner, he did enough in his minutes.

What’s encouraging about each player’s contributions is that it all feels sustainable. And if the Sixers can get that, health is on their side; Well, go ahead and read the quote above again.

If you look at Siakam’s yearly stats throughout his seven seasons as a professional, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the huge jump in production from Year 1 to Year 7. Then your review more Deep dive will reveal how his point, rebound and assist averages have steadily increased in all but one of his seven seasons. And that’s all before discovering Siakam’s statistics this year (26.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists) in what promises to be his best season. And if you’re like me, what immediately jumps out at you is the passage.

It’s hard for me to gloss over that 7.4 assists per game and treat it like it’s common to see even the modern NBA forward – it’s not. The only forwards in recent years to average that many assists per game over a full season are Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Draymond Green and Ben Simmons. Most would consider all of these players to be elite playmakers. Admittedly, just seven games into the season, Siakam has a ways to go to enter the ranks of these elite playmakers. But even this small sample of seven games of exceptional passing shows a lot of growth in how he approaches the game on the attacking side.

Just turn on the movie and see how diverse Siakam’s game has become.

The easiest for Siakam are the assists that come in transition, where he and his Toronto Raptors are the best in the league. The passes that really show his growth show up every night in the half-court offense. Whether on purpose or because he didn’t beat the defender on the rebound, Siakam frequently uses the post-up to get the defense’s attention before locating an open teammate. He also constantly touches the paint of the dribble player and sprays it to open up the shooters camped behind the line. And there’s even a bit of pick-and-roll passing featured that turned Pascal into a heady playmaker.

Pascal Siakam’s game is certainly something we’ve seen over the years, but now it seems to be more of a mainstay than a luxury.

Golden State overs

Here are some tips: If you’re looking for NBA bets to place, consider taking a look at what’s happening in the Bay Area, where all but one of the defending champions Golden State Warriors’ games take place. are finished. You’d be right to assume the Stephen Curry-led offense had a lot to do with the highest totals — Golden State’s 118.7 points per game tied with the Phoenix Suns for the most in the NBA. But the Dubs defense is equally responsible for all those overs. They’re not the league’s worst defense (statistically), but they’re allowing more points per game against opponents (122.0) than any other team this season. As Steve Kerr said recently, some of the Warriors’ outings are resembling pickup games.

Milwaukee Blankets

A season ago, the Milwaukee Bucks had a losing ATS record. This ultimately didn’t have much of an impact on their wins and losses, but they often found themselves in closer matches than they should have been. Now, two weeks into this season, the 2020-21 world champions are the only undefeated team in the NBA and are one of four teams with a 5-1 ATS record. Buoyed by another ridiculous season from Giannis Antetokounmpo and the NBA’s best defense, the Bucks are proving to be trustworthy amid today’s wildly unpredictable NBA environment. They arguably do without their second-best player, Khris Middleton.

Best NBA records against the spread

Entry November 1

Portland Blankets

Portland has also been bad against the spread in the 2021-22 season. In fact, they were the worst, and that was no doubt due to their numerous injuries, followed by the obvious decision to kick off the season with the all-star break. But the past is in the past. Currently, Portland has assembled a good roster that clicks at the start of the season. The Blazers’ 5-1 record matches their ATS record for several reasons: 1) Damian Lillard has an MVP-caliber start to the season, 2) Anfernee Simons proves his 2021-22 season wasn’t a hit luck and 3) Chauncey Billups was able to squeeze every last drop out of every player including some of the nightly rotation.

If the Blazers can keep rolling with Lillard on the sidelines with a tight right calf, they could be worth your money.

(Photo by Pascal Siakam: John E. Sokolowski/USA Today)

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