The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Week 4

The first month of the season has passed and I wanted to make a monthly special of this edition and add some thoughts to it.

 
The Good
 
Memphis Grizzlies
 
No matter how you slice it and I couldn’t care less about their ATS record. Memphis is known to be a mediocre regular season team, that rises in the playoff, since their style of play is playoff oriented.
I read dozens, if not hundreds reviews before the season started and made one myself and I can’t remember even one person, that stated that after 1/5, Memphis will have the best record in the league.
They were on the verge of getting to the weekly editions, but each time, some team was hotter.
Well, this is the monthly summary and this is the time to point out that without a doubt, Memphis is the team of the month and by far.
Furthermore, speaking of The Good – Memphis represents all that is good with basketball. They don’t play a great basketball or to be more accurate, they weren’t up till the last few games, but they play the right basketball.
They play great defense, they pass the ball, they have a very specific role for every player and they know what to do and how to do it.
They don’t get scared when they fall back behind, they know how to hold the lead.
Gasol is MVP material without a doubt. 20.2 points that come together with 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.19 steals and 1.56 blocks. He is first on his team scoring and blocking and second in rebounding, stealing and assists.
There is a reason, why he is mentioned as the one that can replace Duncan, once he retires.
He always was the minister of defense on this team, but this year, he is the best player on both sides of the floor.
Besides him, I must mention Courtney Lee. Memphis, since Gay got injured (and traded soon after that), was a team of Conley, Gasol and Randolph and not much after that. 
They were waiting for that fourth player, that can elevate their offense, that was always in the lower part of the standings as far as offense go.
Lee had great season last year in Boston and Memphis and he continues from the same place he finished last year. It’s not only the winning basket against the Kings, but 13.5 points per game and no less than 17.3 PER rating.
He (together with Gasol), the main reasons, why Memphis ranked 8th in offensive effeciency. 
Also worth mentioning, Leuer and Koufos. 13.8 and 15 PER rating and just a general feeling that unlike previous seasons, bench can actually hold their ground and not blow the lead that the starters created. 
 
Milwaukee Bucks
 
The bookies gave them total wins 24 Over/ Under. After 18 games (1/5 of the season), they already have 10 wins and only 8 losses. This is a rate that if Bucks will continue in, they will double their total by the end of the season.
There isn’t even one team, that we can say the same about them. 
But it’s not only about the wins. They are 12 – 6 ATS, leading the league in number of games where they covered.
They play fun and positive basketball and it’s maybe the only team in the league, where all the players took a step forward (I think we can say the same thing about Sacramento – but that’s it).
Knight suddenly looks like a franchise player. Giannis took the expected step forward. Parker is the main candidate to be the “Rookie of the Year” (but so far, this draft class is very mediocre).
But above everything else, it’s their defense. Without changing the team too much in the summer, they actually went from 29th place in defensive effeciency to the 6th. That’s not a leap, you need a new word to describe the movement that Bucks made in that department and obviously, huge credit goes to Kidd. 
Let’s not forget, last year, his first and only season of coaching, he was named the coach of the month twice and in the second half of the season, his team, without any trades (almost) and no, Thornton didn’t improve team’s defense anyway, made a huge step forward on defense as well, so that’s not a fluke. 
They are one of the youngest teams in the league, full of potential and still, they already are a force in the East and can get to the playoffs. 
Fifth place in the East and one of the teams that are the most fun to watch, without a doubt.
Portland, Sacramento, Toronto and Golden State – all made big steps forward and all could be in this spot instead, but if we combine SU record, ATS record, projected wins number and style of play, no doubt that Bucks, at least in my eyes, deserve this place.
 
The Bad
 
Many teams were really bad during this or that week during this season. Both LA teams started the season playing simply horrendous, but improved a lot after that.
Cleveland were sure candidates for this spot, but three wins in a row, playing great basketball and just trashing their rivals, made them an “ok team”, especially for a team that made the most changes during the summer.
That leaves us with three main candidates.
New York, Charlotte and Detroit.
All three deserve this place, but Knicks have slightly better record than them and they have the excuse of losing Carmelo for three games and still having 3 – 5 home record, so I will stick with the other two, though it was a very very very close call.
 
Charlotte Hornets
 
I wanted to put them in “The Ugly”, but decided to keep it for the Sixers as exclusive team there.
They are 4W – 14L for the season (22% success) and carry 9 losses in a row. They started not bad, but fell off a cliff after that.
Charlotte made very big signing in the summer, by adding Lance Stephenson and expected to take a step forward, but instead, took giant steps back.
Last year, they had 43 – 39 record (52%), so they are more than twice worse than last season so far. Bookies gave them 44.5 wins as projection for this season, so you can understand for yourselves, how dissapointing the Hornets so far.
They finally got their name back (Hornets) and with new signings, they hoped not only to repeat what they did, but to improve from last season.
They went from being 6th from the top in defensive effeciency, to 6th from the bottom, giving up 5 more points!
They were 7th from the bottom on offense and that what they were hoping to improve, but they dropped even further, to 4th place from the bottom and score almost 4 points less.
That’s 9 points reverse against them from last season!
Al Jefferson, Lance Stephenson and Kemba Walker – three best players on the team, all are not as good as last season. You can see the drop in every category and if you add the injuries to Kidd-Gilchrist (fourth best player on the team and best defender) and Gary Neal (three point specialist), it’s just sad, bad and yes, ugly as hell as well.
Last night, Atlanta lead 75 – 38 at some point!
I have huge respect for Clifford and I think they are good guys that should get their issues fixed and I believe in them, since they are better than the record indicates, but still…
Worst team of the month in my eyes.
 
Detroit Pistons
 
Very close to that title for many reasons. They had worse record than Charlotte last year and no one expected them to do as well as Charlotte this season, so they are getting a break here, but nontheless…
Stan Van Gundy came to Detroit, to start a healing and improving process and it’s no where in sight.
He promised that he will forfeit the idea of playing Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andrew Drummond together in the starting line up, but changed his mind after one game.
Pistons biggest problem, losing fourth quarters at home (and games because of it) and being the worst team in the league in them, not only wasn’t solved, but it appears it got worse.
0 – 8 SU and ATS in fourth quarters at home this season and if they played the fourth quarter at home right, they would have had at least 50% record.
When you declare that you bring new GM, new head coach (that is also the director of basketball operations) and in the end, everything is the same, but worse, it’s really really bad.
 
The Ugly 
 
Philadelphia 76ers
 
I don’t know whart is more ugly. The fact that Sixers are 0 – 16 or the fact that despite losing 10 out of those 16 games by 10+ points, they still have 7 – 9 ATS record. They played 9 games at home and weren’t favorites even once.
The ugly truth is that everyone given up on the Sixers. The Sixers themselves, the bookies, the public – this is a team that is going to break all records of every bad in the NBA by the looks of it and even those rare players that do manage to give a good game in their uniform, no one cares and no one paying attention, because it’s the Sixers.
 
Very bad and very sad and very ugly and the league should do something about it. Not for this season of course, but for the future.
 
For those that are interested in my picks this week, can read the details here:

http://betonbasket.com/subscription/nba-picks
 

For questions, replies, thoughts and suggestions regarding the weekly article, please write to:
bmanidv@gmail.com

Best of luck everybody!!!

 

Want to get more Euroleague picks & previews delivered daily to your email?
Become a paid member and get predictions with 19% ROI in last 4 seasons! Check the stats!


Earn more profit with highest odds on handicaps and totals at Pinnacle!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *