Best Bets For Every Team
Check out below for your favorite team’s best bet.
2023 Record: 41-41
Hawks Projected Starting Lineup:
- Trae Young
- Dejounte Murray
- De’Andre Hunter
- Jalen Johnson
- Clint Capela
Best Bet: Trae Young Over 26.1 Points Per Game (-115 DK)
Last season, Trae Young averaged 26.2 points despite shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from three. It would be difficult for Young to post lower efficiency numbers this year, and the fact that Dejounte Murray didn’t dramatically slash Young’s volume is extremely encouraging. As a savvy foul-drawer, he also possesses a consistent source of points because free throws inherently hold a massive expected points per possession. For example, a pair of free throws for an 88.6 FT% shooter (Young’s mark last year) is equal to a three-point attempt from a 59 3PT% shooter. Therefore, his scoring average is insulated by free throws.
2023 Record: 57-25
Celtics Projected Starting Lineup:
- Jrue Holiday
- Derrick White
- Jaylen Brown
- Jayson Tatum
- Kristaps Porzingis
Best Bet: Eastern Conference Champions (+175 FD)
Damian Lillard is the flashier acquisition, but Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis perfectly complement Boston’s elite roster. Holiday replaces Marcus Smart’s point of attack and then some, and he’s a superior playmaker and shot creator. Meanwhile, Porzingis ranked fifth in rim points saved per 75 possessions and seventeenth in overall shot making, which adjusts efficiency with shot quality (per Basketball Index). In other words, Porzingis is a defensive force and beacon of efficiency that adds another wrinkle to Boston’s offense.
Overall, Tatum, Brown, Porzingis, Holiday, White, Horford, Stevens, Hauser, Pritchard, Brissett and Walsh form the top team in the NBA. Taking East Champs instead of NBA champs is the wiser move because it removes Denver from the equation.
2023 Record: 45-37
Nets Projected Starting Lineup:
- Ben Simmons
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Mikal Bridges
- Cam Johnson
- Nic Claxton
Best Bet: To Win 35+ Regular Season Games (-175 FD)
Mikal Bridges flashed intriguing upside as a primary self-creator last season; he averaged 26.1 points on 47/37/89 shooting splits post trade. Cam Johnson remains a lethal spot up shooter, but he too has more off-the-dribble potential to his game. Meanwhile, Spencer Dinwiddie and Cam Thomas provide scoring juice and supplemental playmaking.
Brooklyn will be solid offensively, but their calling card is defense. Nic Claxton’s rim protection anchors the unit, and his versatility has him vying for an All-Defensive team. The Nets are also riddled with defensive wings: Bridges, Johnson, Finney-Smith, O’Neale, etc. Finally, Dennis Smith Jr excelled as a point of attack defender last year, and Ben Simmons is an intriguing piece should he rediscover his previous form.
Overall, the Nets are too formidable defensively and possess too much shooting for them to fall short of 35 wins. The line is juiced, but it’s worth it based on how often I expect the Nets to cash this bet.
2023 Record: 27-55
Hornets Projected Starting Lineup:
- LaMelo Ball
- Terry Rozier
- Brandon Miller
- PJ Washington
- Mark Williams
Best Bet: To Win 30+ Regular Season Games (-165 DK)
Although the Hornets remain far from contention, they are hardly a punching bag. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier both cleared twenty points per game last season, so the backcourt possesses plenty of firepower. Mark Williams adds a roll man dimension to the offense, but Charlotte’s strength is their wings. Gordon Hayward still produces as a creator and shooter, while PJ Washington adds offensive versatility and spacing. Meanwhile, third overall pick Brandon Miller immediately brings a massive scoring presence and much-needed defense. Plus, Miles Bridges will return after serving a thirty-game suspension; he averaged 20.2 points and 3.8 assists during the 2022 season.
Factor in quality depth pieces in backup center Nick Richards and forward Cody Martin, and this Hornets squad should surprise. Their poor defense will ultimately halt Charlotte from reaching the playoffs, but they can notch thirty wins.
2023 Record: 40-42
Bulls Projected Starting Lineup:
- Alex Caruso
- Zach LaVine
- DeMar DeRozan
- Patrick Williams
- Nikola Vucevic
Best Bet: Team Seeding Under 9.5 (-115 DK)
Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York are the only guarantees to top Chicago in the standings to me. Therefore, the Bulls must beat only two of Toronto, Brooklyn, Miami, Atlanta, and Orlando in order to be at least the ninth seed. Given their roster, the Bulls have a considerable chance of accomplishing this feat.
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are go-to scorers that should hover around 25 points per game again, while Nikola Vucevic is a walking double-double. Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams provide excellent defense; they were the driving forces behind Chicago ranking fifth in Defensive Rating.
Meanwhile, they led the NBA in bench Net Rating last season and recently added Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig. Factor in potential breakouts from Patrick Williams and Coby White, and this Chicago roster is incredibly deep. The Bulls are insulated from injury as a result, which likely boosts their regular season win total.
2023 Record: 51-31
Cavaliers Projected Starting Lineup:
- Darius Garland
- Donovan Mitchell
- Max Strus
- Evan Mobley
- Jarrett Allen
Best Bet: Evan Mobley Defensive Player of the Year (+700 BMGM)
11 of the last 15 Defensive Player of the Year winners hailed from a team that ranked in the top two of Defensive Rating, and every team was top five. With Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen manning the paint, Cleveland possesses an excellent chance to repeat as Defensive Rating leaders. Mobley in particular is the engine of the defense, as he locks down every area of the court while being a disruptive help defender. He earned All-Defensive First Team honors last season, and Mobley will once again vye for every defensive award.
2023 Record: 38-44
Mavericks Projected Starting Lineup:
- Luka Doncic
- Kyrie Irving
- Josh Green
- Grant Williams
- Dereck Lively II
Best Bet: Dereck Lively II All-Rookie First Team (+1300 DK)
The path is there for Lively to make the First Team: a starter and defensive anchor on a playoff team with respectable scoring and rebound numbers. Lively is a terrific rim protector with the instincts and length to immediately produce. He could reduce Dallas’ defensive woes and noticeably improve the team’s outlook. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are perfect pick-and-roll partners that will spoon-feed him four to five layups or dunks every game. He’s certainly not favored to reach the First Team, but the fact that he owns a realistic avenue is worth the +1300 dart-throw.
2023 Record: 53-29
Nuggets Projected Starting Lineup:
- Jamal Murray
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Michael Porter Jr
- Aaron Gordon
- Nikola Jokic
Best Bet: Nikola Jokic Most Valuable Player (+450 BMGM)
Jokic nearly averaged a triple-double, guided his team to the one seed, and broke every advanced metric out there. However, voter fatigue and an indifference to individual awards blocked Jokic from notching three consecutive MVPs. After earning Finals MVP and becoming the first player to ever lead the playoffs in total points, rebounds, and assists, it’s abundantly clear that “Big Honey” is the best and most valuable player across the NBA. Jokic will once again threaten a triple-double average, and the Nuggets likely shoot up the standings again. His path towards MVP is crystal clear, and voters may feel guilty after robbing him of the award – thus pushing the narrative bonus to his side.
2023 Record: 17-65
Pistons Projected Starting Lineup:
- Cade Cunningham
- Jaden Ivey
- Ausar Thompson
- Bojan Bogdanovic
- Jalen Duren
Best Bet: Ausar Thompson All-Rookie First Team (+200 DK)
Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren, and Scoot Henderson appear to be locks for All-Rookie First Team, which leaves two spots open. Fifth overall pick Ausar Thompson has the talent and volume to join those names. He shined in Detroit’s first preseason game by notching 12 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and a block. The all-around wing and athletic freak can become a special defender too. Thompson enters the season as Detroit’s starting small forward or sixth man, so he will see enough minutes to stuff the box score. Given that he’s ready to contribute immediately, look for voters to reward his clear two-way impact.
Golden State Warriors
2023 Record: 44-38
Warriors Projected Starting Lineup:
- Stephen Curry
- Klay Thompson
- Andrew Wiggins
- Draymond Green (injured)
- Kevon Looney
Best Bet: Stephen Curry (-150 DK) & Klay Thompson (+1100 DK) Three-Pointers Made Per Game NBA Leader
The “Splash Brothers” still rule the three-point landscape nearly ten years after winning their first title. They ranked first and second, respectively, in three-pointers made per game last season, and that should continue this year. The Warriors are built on off-ball movement, three-pointers, and transition opportunities, so it’s a given that Curry and Thompson will each launch ten per game. Both cleared 40 percent from deep for the billionth time despite their difficult shot quality, and it’s highly unlikely that their shots significantly regress. Based on volume and efficiency, it’s wise to take both Warriors guards to lead the league in three-pointers made per game.
2023 Record: 22-60
Rockets Projected Starting Lineup:
- Fred VanVleet
- Jalen Green
- Dillon Brooks
- Jabari Smith Jr
- Alperen Sengun
Best Bet: Ime Udoka Coach of the Year (+4000 DK)
10 of the last 20 Coach of the Year winners were in their first season with the franchise, which is significant considering the small number of new hires every season. Ime Udoka already has a massive advantage due to this trend, and his situation only boosts his chances. The rebuilding Rockets went 22-60 last season, but they added Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Reggie Bullock, Jeff Green, Amen Thompson, and Cam Whitmore. Considering this talent and veteran leadership injection along with internal growth, the Rockets are positioned to win far more games this year. Ime Udoka’s no-nonsense approach and Finals experience is the perfect antidote to numerous accountability problems that plagued Houston last season too. At these odds, taking a flier on Udoka shifting the culture is worth the risk.
2023 Record: 35-47
Pacers Projected Starting Lineup:
- Tyrese Haliburton
- Bennedict Mathurin
- Bruce Brown
- Obi Toppin
- Myles Turner
Best Bet: Tyrese Haliburton Over 10.2 Assists Per Game (-120 DK)
Last season, Haliburton averaged 10.4 assists and a league leading 19.8 potential assists per game. His elite playmaking led to a desirable shot profile; the Pacers attempted the second most wide open field goal attempts and the seventh most shots within five feet of the basket. Haliburton remains the clear-cut orchestrator of this Pacers squad, and his teammates can help boost his assist numbers.
Myles Turner ranked 17th across the NBA in true shooting points added, while new acquisition Obi Toppin forms a perfect transition and lob partner with Haliburton. Meanwhile, Bruce Brown, Bennedict Mathurin, TJ McConnell, Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith, Jordan Nwora, and rookie Ben Sheppard are all at a minimum capable spot up shooters. Until Buddy Hield is traded, he’s another elite sniper to pair with Haliburton’s passing.
Overall, he has the playmaking talent, volume, and unselfish attitude about his own scoring to reach 10.3 assists per game.
Los Angeles Clippers
2023 Record: 44-38
Clippers Projected Starting Lineup:
- Russell Westbrook
- Paul George
- Kawhi Leonard
- Marcus Morris
- Ivica Zubac
Best Bet: Norman Powell Sixth Man of the Year (+1000 DK)
This award typically goes to veteran backup guards that efficiently score a ton of points on playoff teams. Powell is fresh off of a 17 PPG season on 47/39/81 shooting splits, and he projects to post a similar line this season. The Clippers are expected to be a contender this season barring catastrophic injuries (an unfortunate reality), which checks off all criteria for Powell. With Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the roster, it’s unlikely that Powell has enough starts to disqualify him for the award too.
Los Angeles Lakers
2023 Record: 43-39
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
- D’Angelo Russell
- Austin Reaves
- Rui Hachimura
- LeBron James
- Anthony Davis
Best Bet: LeBron James Under 27.2 Points Per Game (-130 DK)
James averaged 28.9 points on 22.2 field goal attempts per game last season, but there are a few reasons to believe in a scoring dip. First, he turns 39-years-old in December, so James is another year away from his athletic prime. His endurance and burst have both declined as Father Time inches closer, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that James simply doesn’t have the physical tools to post nearly thirty points per game.
Second, his three-point shot fell off of a cliff, as he shot 32.1 percent on 6.9 attempts per game last year. Given that he cannot drive every possession now, it’s concerning that his jump shot abandoned him.
Finally, the Lakers won’t require him to average a league leading 22.2 field goal attempts anymore. Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura are expected to take scoring leaps this year, and Los Angeles added Christian Wood (16.6 PPG), Gabe Vincent (9.4 PPG), Taurean Prince (9.1 PPG), Cam Reddish (9.7 PPG), and Jaxson Hayes (5 PPG) to the mix. Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell will claim a large portion of the shots too, so the Lakers are littered with players that can help alleviate LeBron James’ scoring burden. Overall, James can take a backseat during the regular season and ramp up volume during the playoffs.
2023 Record: 51-31
Grizzlies Projected Starting Lineup:
- Ja Morant (suspension)
- Desmond Bane
- Marcus Smart
- Jaren Jackson Jr
- Steven Adams
Best Bet: Jaren Jackson Jr Defensive Player of the Year (+600 DK)
Memphis is projected to be a top defensive unit with Jaren Jackson Jr, Marcus Smart, and Steven Adams on the roster, so write a big check mark next to team success. As for individual dominance, Jackson Jr is arguably the most disruptive defender in the NBA. He led the league in blocks and block percentage last season while pacing Basketball Index’s Rim Protection metric. Few players provide more help defense than Jackson Jr, and he will once again rack up blocks and steals – a must for voters. Voter fatigue isn’t a massive issue either, as players routinely win this award in consecutive seasons.
2023 Record: 44-38
Heat Projected Starting Lineup:
- Kyle Lowry
- Tyler Herro
- Jimmy Butler
- Caleb Martin
- Bam Adebayo
Best Bet: Team Seeding Over 5.5 (-105 DK)
Miami’s off-season can best be described by the scene in the movie Alien where the emergency destruct system is activated and the alarm sirens are blaring. They lost Gabe Vincent and Max Strus while failing to strike a deal for Damian Lillard. The Heat subsequently possess little guard depth, even less shooting, and mediocre backcourt defenders. Overall, it’s the worst roster of the Jimmy Butler era.
Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Philadelphia are extremely likely to produce more wins to me, which means Miami must defeat New York, Toronto, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Chicago, and Orlando for that final spot. The Knicks are the biggest hurdle, especially since Jimmy Butler and company don’t go all-out during the regular season anyways. Miami is content to roll into the playoffs as a lower seed, and they may take more rest than usual given their shortened off-season. While the Heat are always a dark horse in the playoffs, fighting for the highest seed possible isn’t their modus operandi. Factor in the weakened roster, and it would be surprising if Miami claimed at least the fifth seed.
2023 Record: 58-24
Bucks Projected Starting Lineup:
- Damian Lillard
- Pat Connaughton
- Khris Middleton
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Brook Lopez
Best Bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo All-NBA First Team (+140 DK)
It’s the last year before the All-NBA First Team becomes positionless for the first time since 1955. Therefore, Antetokounmpo will mainly be battling Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant for one of the two forward spots. The “Greek Freak” has reached the First Team in each of the past five seasons, and everything indicates that the streak will continue.
Whether it’s impossible counting stats (roughly 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists last year), stellar defense, immense team success, or reputation respect, Antetokounmpo has it all. Damian Lillard completely enhances Antetokounmpo’s game too, and he won’t cut much volume from the Bucks forward considering Jrue Holiday’s shots must be replaced. At this point, injury is the likely cause of his absence on the team.
2023 Record: 42-40
Timberwolves Projected Starting Lineup:
- Mike Conley
- Anthony Edwards
- Jaden McDaniels
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Rudy Gobert
Best Bet: Jaden McDaniels All-Defensive First Team (+1100 DK)
McDaniels is a defensive menace that can pick up guards full-court while protecting the rim against mammoth forwards. No defender is more versatile than McDaniels; he was the only player to rank top twenty in all of the following Basketball Index metrics: Matchup Difficulty, Perimeter Isolation Defense, Off-Ball Chaser Defense, and Rim Protection. McDaniels was snubbed last year by voters, but he’s finally starting to receive recognition across the league. The 6’10” forward will once again terrorize opponents, so his odds are excellent.
For a full breakdown of Jaden McDaniels’ potential, check out this article.
New Orleans Pelicans
2023 Record: 42-40
Pelicans Projected Starting Lineup:
- CJ McCollum
- Trey Murphy III (injury)
- Brandon Ingram
- Zion Williamson
- Jonas Valanciunas
Best Bet: Team Seeding Over 8.5 (+115 DK)
Although New Orleans’ roster is loaded with talent, there are a few concerns here. Trey Murphy III partially tore his meniscus in early September, and the Pelicans stated that he would miss 10 to 12 weeks at a minimum. That’s a target return of early December, and Murphy will need time to both trust his knee and shake off rust before he’s fully back. Therefore, let’s cautiously claim that he won’t be himself until around Christmas – that’s 28 games, or 34 percent of the season.
Meanwhile, Zion Williamson has played in 114 of 308 possible regular season games during his short career. He’s phenomenal when on the court, but his size and explosiveness are a terrible combination for his knees. It’s unwise to trust his health until he actually proves it. That’s two of New Orleans’ four best players projected to miss extensive time. Brandon Ingram hasn’t exactly been health itself either, as he’s missed 27.5 percent of regular season games since joining the Pelicans in the 2019 off-season.
New Orleans’ defensive woes are also troubling. They allowed the second highest expected points per possession on finishes at the rim per ShotQuality, along with the sixth most wide open three-point attempts.
Finally, this Western Conference is deeper than the Mariana Trench. Denver, Phoenix, Memphis, Golden State, Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Dallas, and both Los Angeles teams are all playoff contenders. The Pelicans must beat three of those franchises in regular season wins for this bet to not hit, which seems mighty unlikely.
New York Knicks
2023 Record: 47-35
Knicks Projected Starting Lineup:
- Jalen Brunson
- Quentin Grimes
- RJ Barrett
- Julius Randle
- Mitchell Robinson
Best Bet: Team Seeding Under 6.5 (-120 DK)
Outside of Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, it’s difficult to envision another Eastern Conference team beating New York in regular season wins. Jalen Brunson proved his ability to operate as the lead guard and then some, while Julius Randle is a regular season stat-stuffer. When RJ Barrett is in rhythm, he can take over games for New York as a self-created scorer. The trio is complemented by an embarrassment of riches too.
Josh Hart, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Isaiah Hartenstein are all high-level role players that supplement the core on both ends of the court. This Knicks squad placed fourth in bench Net Rating last year, and they likely only improve that ranking. Plus, head coach Tom Thibodeau always gets his players to play hard and detests load management, which bodes well for their regular season win total.
Even if a surprise East team manages to catch New York, there is leeway in this line for that to happen.
Oklahoma City Thunder
2023 Record: 40-42
Thunder Projected Starting Lineup:
- Shai-Gilgeous Alexander
- Luguentz Dort
- Josh Giddey
- Jalen Williams
- Chet Holmgren
Best Bet: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Clutch Player of the Year (+1200 DK)
Based on the voting results of the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award last season, backing an efficient scorer for a team that constantly plays close games is the key. The Thunder project to be an above average squad, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fits the description perfectly. The Kentucky product earned All-NBA First Team honors by averaging 31.4 points on a hyper-efficient 62.6 true shooting percentage. I’ve lost count of how many go-ahead shots Gilgeous-Alexander has made throughout his career – there’s no doubt he owns the clutch gene. He’s nearly unstoppable at this point, so expect a heavy dose of clutch scoring from the ascending guard.
2023 Record: 34-48
Magic Projected Starting Lineup:
- Markelle Fultz
- Jalen Suggs
- Franz Wagner
- Paolo Banchero
- Wendell Carter Jr
Best Bet: Franz Wagner Most Improved Player (+3500 DK)
Recent winners usually have reached the All-Star game and scored 20 points per game for the first time in their careers during their breakout season. Franz Wagner has an excellent chance to reach both marks, as the 6’10” forward is one of the best all-around young talents in the NBA. His elite ability to create for both himself and others extends his ceiling to cavernous levels, and he’s around the perfect age range that is typical of the award. It’s far easier to make the All-Star game in the Eastern Conference, which elevates his chances above numerous contenders in the West.
For a full breakdown of Franz Wagner’s potential, check out this article.
2023 Record: 54-28
76ers Projected Starting Lineup:
- James Harden
- Tyrese Maxey
- Tobias Harris
- PJ Tucker
- Joel Embiid
Best Bet: Joel Embiid Points Per Game NBA Leader (+350 FD)
Embiid has led the league in scoring for the past two seasons, and he enters as the favorite to do so again. Most of his rivals are saddled with teammates that hurt each other’s scoring output (ex: Lillard/Antetokounmpo, Doncic/Irving, Booker/Durant, etc.), but Joel Embiid lacks that volume vampire. He remains a devastating interior scorer that draws an enormous amount of free throws, which heavily inflates scoring. Embiid owns the volume and efficiency to lead the league in scoring, so snagging these odds is alluring.
2023 Record: 45-37
Suns Projected Starting Lineup:
- Devin Booker
- Bradley Beal
- Keita Bates-Diop
- Kevin Durant
- Jusuf Nurkic
Best Bet: Devin Booker Over 6.6 Assists Per Game (-115 DK)
Booker averaged 5.5 assists last season, but that spiked to 6.8 in the eighteen games without Chris Paul on the court. Phoenix is trotting out Booker as the de facto point guard this year after swapping Paul for Bradley Beal, and the Kentucky product appears ready to thrive in this role. He’s elite at creating advantages off the dribble, but Booker can now channel this skill into playmaking. Assists won’t be scarce, as Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Jusuf Nurkic are all efficient scorers. Phoenix’s new crop of three-point shooters (Grayson Allen, Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe) can also inflate Booker’s numbers too. Based on his offensive role and environment, look for Booker to reach 6.7 assists per game.
Portland Trail Blazers
2023 Record: 33-49
Trailblazers Projected Starting Lineup:
- Scoot Henderson
- Anfernee Simons
- Shaedon Sharpe
- Jerami Grant
- Deandre Ayton
Best Bet: Scoot Henderson Rookie of the Year (+300 BMGM)
While Victor Wembanyama is the rightful favorite to win Rookie of the Year, don’t count out Scoot Henderson. The Blazers point guard is a devastating pick-and-roll scorer, but Henderson also possesses tantalizing playmaking chops. With Damian Lillard in Milwaukee and Portland initiating a rebuild, Henderson will have the opportunity to truly orchestrate the offense. As a result, Henderson may surpass Wembanyama in traditional counting stats and sway voters, especially those that see him symbolically grabbing the torch from Lillard.
2023 Record: 48-34
Kings Projected Starting Lineup:
- De’Aaron Fox
- Kevin Huerter
- Harrison Barnes
- Keegan Murray
- Domantas Sabonis
Best Bet: Domantas Sabonis Rebounds Per Game NBA Leader (+320 FD)
Sabonis led the league at 12.3 rebounds and 21.6 rebound chances per game last season. He’s a physical center that understands where to position himself, and few players fight harder for the basketball than Sabonis. Sacramento’s fast pace (12th in NBA) allowed him to rack up rebound chances, while forwards Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray are decent but not great rebounders. Thus, Sabonis doesn’t face much competition from teammates, which inflates his totals. The Kings are trotting out essentially the same roster, and they will once again ramp up the pace. Sabonis subsequently has an excellent chance of repeating as rebounds per game champion.
San Antonio Spurs
2023 Record: 22-60
Spurs Projected Starting Lineup:
- Tre Jones
- Devin Vassell
- Keldon Johnson
- Victor Wembanyama
- Zach Collins
Best Bet: Victor Wembanyama Rookie of the Year (+130 FD)
Wembanyama was one of the greatest prospects in NBA history. At 7’4” tall with an 8’0” wingspan, he can dribble, shoot, pass, and provide generational rim protection. He possesses few flaws in his game, and Wembanyama can transform a Spurs team that had the worst Defensive Rating in history last season. Meanwhile, he won’t be starved for offensive usage, as the Spurs don’t possess ball-dominant guards or tremendous depth. Finally, Wembanyama’s novelty can give him a push over the finish line. Voters have never seen anything like him, and people love shiny objects.
2023 Record: 41-41
Raptors Projected Starting Lineup:
- Gary Trent Jr
- OG Anunoby
- Scottie Barnes
- Pascal Siakam
- Jakob Poeltl
Best Bet: Scottie Barnes Most Improved Player (+2100 FD)
Like Franz Wagner, Barnes also has a promising chance to reach 20 points per game and make the All-Star game. He’s the best playmaker on Toronto’s roster with Fred VanVleet gone, so the young Raptors forward will see a decent boost in usage percentage and subsequently counting stats. He took a step back in efficiency last year, but the former Rookie of the Year should bounce back with another off-season under his belt.
2023 Record: 37-45
Jazz Projected Starting Lineup:
- Jordan Clarkson
- Ochai Agbaji
- Lauri Markkanen
- John Collins
- Walker Kessler
Best Bet: Walker Kessler Blocks Per Game Leader (+340 FD)
Once Kessler entrenched himself as the starter on January 10th, he averaged 2.9 blocks for the remainder of the season (Jaren Jackson Jr led the NBA at three per game). Kessler’s rim protection metrics via Basketball Index are superb. He ranked fourth in rim contests per 75 possessions, second in blocks per 75 possessions, and fifth in block rate on contests…as a rookie. Kessler now has the entire season to inflate his numbers, and Utah’s guards remain defensive liabilities, which will create plenty of rim contests for Kessler on drivers.
2023 Record: 35-47
Warriors Projected Starting Lineup:
- Jordan Poole
- Corey Kispert
- Deni Avdija
- Kyle Kuzma
- Daniel Gafford
Best Bet: Jordan Poole Over 3.1 3PM per game (-110 DK)
Jordan Poole desired individual numbers and offensive freedom while on the Warriors. The rebuilding Washington Wizards can fulfill this wish because Poole is now the offensive engine of this franchise. He’s a perimeter shooter at heart, as 53.1 percent of his career field goal attempts have been three-point attempts. Last season, Poole made 2.6 threes per game, attempted 7.8 per game, and shot a poor 33.6 3PT%. It’s likely that he hovers around ten attempts this season, which would mean he needs to shoot only 32 percent from deep. Given his volume and shooting ability, Poole should clear this line.