We are finally back in action and NBA is in full swing. Already with only being a week in there are some teams who you can tell are looking to take a major step forward, some taking the big step back, and some just in no man’s land. The best part about NBA is the amount of overreacting that occurs for the first two months because everyone knows the season doesn’t begin until Christmas. Some teams you just know are going to be an auto fade until the season kicks into high gear and some you will want to ride the wave before they get figured out and exposed.
One team that is looking to take a big step forward is the Charlotte Hornets. This is a team that looked like they could’ve contended for at least a play-in-game spot before the Lamelo Ball injury. This is a team that if they can stay healthy they can definitely win on any given night. They have enough shooters and are athletic enough to push the pace, especially however they want against the lower teams in the league. One aspect of this team that will be overlooked is their defense. Lamelo is going to be a legitimate star in this league and can make everyone around him much better and to be able to see that in a kid who can’t even legally buy a drink at the bar yet speaks volumes. On the other side, the Magic are the youngest team in the league. Most of their players are 23 or younger and they are basically working guys out to see who can be a piece in years to come and who are just going to be pieces to trade. They do have players that are going to excel especially as the year goes on but overall this is a team that is just going to be a punching bag for seven months straight.
The Pick: Hornets -5.5 -110
The next game is the Heat vs Nets and honestly should be the most entertaining game of the night. Obviously, you have the star power of the Nets but it doesn’t get talked about enough how much they looked to improve defensively since the All-Star break last season. The Heat had a disappointing season last year and looking to come out swinging. Surprisingly I actually expect them to be the team to push the pace tonight because they know they will have to make their shots in order to beat the Nets. Brooklyn has shown they can win a game however they need on any given night but the Heat is the team here who needs to try and make a statement.
The pick: Heat vs Nets over 217.5 -110
Going into this season I get the same feel of what the Heat were going into last year after a finals run for the Atlanta Hawks. I think this was a team that got hot at the right time and although they overachieved showed they can compete with the best of the best. The thing that separates them from last year’s Heat team is the depth. The Hawks can play defense, spread the ball, and use their entire bench to try and keep their stars fresh. With Cam Reddish looking to take a monster step forward after a struggle to his young career this can definitely be a team that can continue the hot wave from last year into this one. The Pelicans almost don’t even deserve anything to be said because of how bad they have screwed up the start to Zion’s career as well as making Brandon Ingram the least exciting star, to no fault of his own, in the league.
The Pick Hawks -5.5 -110
If you have read anything I have ever written before, heard me speak, or quite frankly have a brain at all you know my feelings about the dead sports city of Boston. I personally have already made the mistake of picking them once this year and have already declared to never do it again for the entire season. This team looked like it had such promise just a few years ago and now just do everything in their power to just stay somewhat relevant. I am not sure what this team looks like come to the end of the season but one thing I can tell you is they will not be a contender in the East. The Wizards are one of the most confusing teams in the league. They have Bradley Beal and acquired some nice pieces from the Lakers in the Westbrook deal. I do think this team can contend for one of the last playoff spots and they can score with the best on any night.
The Pick: Celtics vs Wizards over 224.5 -110
With all the talk about Ben Simmons, it has been completely forgotten about how Damien Lillard does want out in Portland. The team kind of has no identity and with the new head coach, I do expect if the team continues to struggle out of the gate they may blow the entire team up. The Grizzlies have done it right in my eyes. Built young talent let them play and come into their own early while still playing meaningful games. This offseason they acquired Steven Adams who is the perfect veteran to be the leader this team needs outside of Ja Morant. They have three-point shooting and the athleticism to me to be the Atlanta Hawks of the 2021-2022 season.
The Pick: Grizzlies ML +120