Gary | Fri 09/12/2016 - 13:59 EST

NBA Fool's Gold Picks

NBA Futures To Avoid

By Dan Favale

5. New York Knicks (+5000)

New York Knicks

In many ways, the New York Knicks are better than expected. They are currently tied for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, despite playing through one of the league's seven toughest schedules. Sophomore Kristaps Porzingis is a bona fide superstar, and the Knicks check in at 12th in points scored per 100 possessions.

These are all good things. But they aren't all great things. More than that, the Knicks have a ton of flaws. They have one of the NBA's five worst defenses, and while they're treading water above .500, they have the same net rating as the Minnesota Timberwolves last season (minus-2.8)—and that Timberwolves team won all of 29 games.

This isn't to say the Knicks will definitely miss the playoffs. But they most certainly could. And if you're investing championship money into a team that could, theoretically, fall outside the Eastern Conference's postseason circle, you need at least a +15000. The Knicks mark of +5000 just isn't anywhere near enough.

 

4. Chicago Bulls (+3000)

Chicago Bulls

Though the Chicago Bulls have some quality victories this season, including one over the reigning championship Cleveland Cavaliers, their odds are ridiculous. Their +3000 is the fifth-best in the NBA, behind only the Golden State Warriors (-140), Los Angeles Clippers (+600), San Antonio Spurs (+700) and Cavaliers (+275).

The Bulls are not in that same class of team. They hover around the top 10 of offensive efficiency, but that standing is not sustainable. They don't make enough of their jump shots to prop-up a borderline top-10 attack for an entire season. Chicago's net rating, meanwhile, is tied for the ninth-best in the league, pinning it alongside the Milwaukee Bucks.

Does that sound like a squad worth of top-five championship odds to you?

Absolutely, positively not.

 

3. Memphis Grizzlies (+6000)

Memphis Grizzlies

Sportsbooks everywhere need to adjust this number. They all offer something similar, which is just absurd.

At full strength, the Memphis Grizzlies don't even project as a legitimate title contender. They still wouldn't space the floor enough, and the bench is lined with mostly question marks and aging veterans.

And yet, the Grizzlies aren't healthy. Starting point guard Mike Conley is dealing with a fracture in his back, Vince Carter is banged up and Chandler Parsons, Memphis' $94 million offseason investment, has appeared in just six games while he recovers from a knee inury.

It is only matter of time before the Western Conference chews the Grizzlies up and spits them right back out. They may be seven games over .500, with a top-five conference record, but they have the net rating of a lottery squad—which is never a good sign.

 

2. Indiana Pacers (+6000)

Indiana Pacers

This +6000 for the Indiana Pacers is borderline hysterical. They are worse than the New York Knicks. They have no offensive or defensive identity. They play like a postseason squad whenever Paul George is on the floor, but the second unit is among the worst in the NBA.

As an added peril, team president Larry Bird could decide to blow this team up around the trade deadline. The Pacers are stuck in the middle, going nowhere fast, and George will have the option of leaving as a free agent in 2018. 

The last thing you want to do is bet on an NBA squad that's liable to enter rebuilding mode and entirely remove itself from the championship running—especially when said squad isn't even a championship contender to begin with.

 

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (+5000)

Oklahoma City Thunder

With Kevin Durant on the Golden State Warriors, you need more than a +5000 to bet on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yes, Russell Westbrook is making noise with his triple-doubles. And sure, the Thunder are six games over .500. But their schedule has been mostly cake, and the offense doesn't even rank inside the top 15 of points scored per 100 possessions. Oklahoma City doesn't have enough three-point shooters at its disposal, and even the defense has slipped off in recent weeks.

More likely than not, the Thunder will make the playoffs. But the half-guarantees stop there.

To be quite honest, they have "first-round exit" written all over their uniforms.

Category : Sports Betting News

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