With the 2023-24 season quickly approaching, it is time to look at our favorite NBA futures bets for the upcoming year! Last season, there were a few unexpected winners, including Lauri Markkanen for Most Improved Player, Malcolm Brogdon for Sixth Man of the Year, and Jaren Jackson Jr for Defensive Player of the Year; however, we expect even more chaos this season. Check out a few of our favorite NBA futures bets for the 2023-24 season below (as of August 2023.)
2023-24 NBA Futures: Championship & Win Totals
We will start with team-based futures bets, including Win Totals and NBA Championship futures. A few bets will have much longer odds than others, so many of these futures bets are about relative value to their implied odds.
- New Orleans Pelicans Win Total: Over 44.5 (+105) & New Orleans Pelicans To Win Championship(+5000)
This must make me a Looney Tune, but there is a much better chance for the Pelicans to win the 2023-24 NBA Finals than the implied 1.96% odds given here. New Orleans’ most prominent issue is the long-term health of Zion Williamson and avoiding the injury bug, in general; however, when the Pels were healthy, they were nearly tied with the Denver Nuggets for the No. 1 seed heading into January of last season.
New Orleans arguably has one of the top ten trios in the NBA, with Zion, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum; it also has two of the peskiest perimeter defenders in Jose Alvarado and Herb Jones, as well as a true rising star in Trey Murphy, who could take this team over the top. The Western Conference is brutally challenging, but the Pels could be one of the top two or three defensive teams with enough firepower to keep up with even the best offenses.
“Big guard” Dyson Daniels, rookie movement shooter Jordan Hawkins, and talented big man Jonas Valanciunas complement these other players exceptionally well. Look out for New Orleans; if the Pels stay healthy, the sky is the limit!
- Memphis Grizzlies Win Total: Over 45.5 (-113) & Memphis Grizzlies To Win Championship (+3000)
Sure, the Grizzlies crashed and burned in the first round of the NBA Playoffs to the Los Angeles Lakers as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference; it is easy to feel bearish on this team after all of the disarray, immaturity, and overall lack of experience.
However, no one seems to be interested in wondering if this isn’t a buy-low opportunity on a team that has finished as the second-best team in the west in two consecutive seasons and has objectively gotten better with the replacement of Dillon Brooks in favor of former DPOY winner Marcus Smart.
Further, the Grizzlies entered the playoffs as one of the most injured teams in the league; their frontcourt was depleted without Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke, while Morant missed time of his own due to a wrist/hand injury that gave him trouble even when he was on the floor.
It is easy to look at Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension and think the Grizzlies will suffer. Try again. Memphis has boasted a 31-15 record without Ja Morant over the past two seasons, and that has included various other injuries to key players, too.
Removing Dillon Brooks’ shot-chucking, adding in a seasoned, experienced veteran that is used to winning in Marcus Smart, and not losing a step on the defensive end of the floor is the biggest win that Memphis could have asked for this off-season. This young team’s ceiling has not been hit yet, which is frightening for the rest of the league.
- Golden State Warriors Win Total: Under 49.5 (-135)
Perhaps, there is a bit of personal bias in this, but how in the world do the Warriors have the third-highest win total in the Western Conference? This team did not improve substantially this off-season, struggled mightily on the road last season (11-30), and has all of their superstars on the wrong side of their careers (Steph is 35, Klay is 33, Draymond is 33, and Chris Paul is 38.)
The addition of Paul and the subtraction of Jordan Poole could help a bit, but let’s face it: this team is getting old and has had several run-ins with the injury bug. An injury to any of the four players mentioned above and this team will be completely derailed, especially in a Western Conference that is leveling out in terms of talent.
How tight was the Western Conference last season? The Warriors finished as the No. 6 seed and were only two games ahead of the ninth-seeded, injury-riddled Pelicans. Further, here’s a list of teams that could be even better this season: Oklahoma City, Dallas, New Orleans, Minnesota, Phoenix, and Utah. Even Houston got more competitive this off-season; there will not be nearly as many “easy wins” this year.
The bottom line: the best players on Golden State are at a stage in their careers where they only care about making the postseason and being healthy. They are not prioritizing winning every regular season game like they used to in the prior years, as age is catching up. Don’t bet the Dubs’ over.
2023-24 NBA Futures: Most Improved Player
Lauri Markkanen is the reigning Most Improved Player, excelling on the Utah Jazz as their primary scorer. Markkanen was not the frontrunner by any stretch of the imagination, but that makes individual awards so fun to bet on. Look at a few of our preseason NBA Most Improved Player favorites!
- Shaedon Sharpe (+3000)
With Sharpe, his chances of bringing this award home come strictly down to opportunity and volume. The talent and upside are already apparent.
If Damian Lillard is traded and Sharpe moves into the starting lineup, those chances rise substantially. If Portland also decides to move on from Anfernee Simons, he would instantly become the favorite. While the latter is less likely, it is still an outside possibility.
Sharpe’s rookie season started slow; his minutes were highly inconsistent, and, thus, so was his output. However, once Sharpe got a chance to showcase his offensive prowess in a more stable setting, he thrived. In Sharpe’s last ten games, he posted 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists on a 46/38/77 shooting split. Those are borderline All-Star numbers if maintained throughout a season at age 19.
If Sharpe takes a year-two leap and averages close to 20 points per game on solid efficiency and improved playmaking, he will be a frontrunner for the Most Improved Player award. And we already know that he is more than capable.
- Jalen Williams (+4000)
After a mesmerizing rookie campaign, Jalen Williams is well-positioned to take a substantial year two jump; he certainly looks the part, too, after off-season pictures have surfaced of him looking bigger and stronger. Yet, Williams’ odds of winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player are extraordinarily long. Why?
Williams finished his rookie season averaging roughly 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists, but his post-All-Star break performance made him look like a future All-Star. From February 24th to April 4th, Williams posted close to 20 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals per game on a 56/46/88 shooting split. Few words can describe how dominant he looked in that span, particularly for a rookie!
Now that Jalen has proved he is a force offensively, expect a more significant role to be carved out for him in year two. If he plays with even remotely similar efficiency, we could see him increase his averages by eight or nine points and a few assists and rebounds. Our team is bullish on Oklahoma City to take a huge step forward this upcoming season in the Western Conference, so the narrative could be in his favor, too!
— Clemente Almanza (@CAlmanza1007) July 10, 2023
- Trey Murphy III (+8000)
Trey Murphy will be an All-Star-caliber talent sooner versus later, and at these odds, we feel comfortable throwing a bit down on it being “sooner.” Murphy finished last season with 14.5 points per game on roughly 48% shooting from the field and 41% from behind the arc; he played 31 minutes per game, which should increase in his third NBA season, too.
Murphy also surged at the end of the season, averaging 22 points on a 52/46/90 (wow) shooting split in his final 15 games; he added three rebounds, two assists, and two steals, too. If he replicates that output for an entire season, he has more than a strong chance at winning the Most Improved Player award.
Still, relative weaknesses (playmaking for others and rebounding) in Murphy’s game will have to be addressed if he wants to take home the Most Improved Player award in 2023-24, but we will take our chances with 80-1 odds.
The sky is the limit for Trey Murphy III
Scaled his game up from a wing defending shooter to a high-end scorer. Both roles fit him well. Especially if Zion and BI keep missing games, we'll likely see him having a 25 PPG season in year three.
Most Improved Player award incoming? pic.twitter.com/yWdQmBMuN7
— Ersin Demir (@EDemirNBA) July 31, 2023
2023-24 NBA Futures: Sixth Man of the Year
Much like last season’s Most Improved Player, many did not expect a player not named Jordan Poole or Tyler Herro to come home with the award; however, Malcolm Brogdon’s consistency and shooting numbers were eye-popping enough to give him an edge over other unexpected frontrunners, Immanuel Quickley and Bobby Portis. Will we see another long-shot win this season?
- Luke Kennard (+5000)
Since the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign, Luke Kennard has logged the highest 3P% while shooting 5.4 per game. The fit for Kennard in Los Angeles was not terrific, as he would often get buried on the bench and given sporadic, inconsistent minutes when he was tapped on the shoulder.
Kennard is worth more than that. In 24 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, a team desperate to find consistent shooting outside of Desmond Bane, Kennard shot 54% from deep on just shy of six attempts per game. And that was with minimal time to gain chemistry with his new teammates.
If Kennard absorbs some of the minutes and shots attempts that are up for grabs from the departure of Dillon Brooks (14 FGA in 30 minutes per game), he could shoot up from just over 11 points per game to close to 15-16 points per game. If he combines that with an improvement in playmaking for the second unit and maintains his efficiency, he could have a similar season to Malcolm Brogdon, who won the Sixth Man award last year.
- Benn Mathurin (+2500)
If the Pacers were a decent team last season (they largely struggled when Haliburton was injured), Benn Mathurin would have had a legitimate case for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Despite struggling at times with efficiency (43/32/83 split is still not poor for a rookie), Mathurin posted close to 17 points and four rebounds per game. He even had an outside chance for a while due to all of the lineup chaos around the league.
It is possible that head coach Rick Carlisle decides to start Mathurin this season, and his 6MOTY dreams would then be dashed; however, if Carlisle decides that Mathurin is more effective coming off of the bench, and he remains eligible for the award, Mathurin would instantaneously become a frontrunner. That alone is worth 25-1 odds.
2023-24 NBA Futures: MVP
Nikola Jokic dominated the MVP award for two consecutive years; however, Joel Embiid’s herculean efforts were enough to dethrone Jokic last season. Can Embiid repeat? Will Jokic reclaim the throne and win a coveted third MVP? Will we see a first-time MVP winner in the 2023-24 season?
- Tyrese Haliburton (+16000) – (Also, Indiana Pacers Win Total: Over 37.5 (-127))
This future will raise the most eyebrows amongst readers, but there is tremendous value in the preseason Tyrese Haliburton MVP future. Last season, Haliburton became the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points and ten assists on 40% shooting from deep or better. What is arguably even more remarkable is that he did it with just a 23.8% usage rate. For example, Joel Embiid finished with a 36.8% usage rate during his MVP campaign last year.
At this point, Haliburton should be given the keys to the offense; he already got the $200+ million max extension, so an increased role only makes sense! The Pacers’ off-season was also quite strong, which will help their frontcourt depth issues and spread the floor more for him to facilitate and isolate.
Further, you can expect the Indiana Pacers to take a giant leap forward this season; they finished 11th in the Eastern Conference last year but could easily find themselves in the top six in 2023-24 after drafting Jarace Walker, trading for Obi Toppin, and signing Bruce Brown Jr. Now, Indiana has one of the deeper teams in the east, and Haliburton will capitalize on this added talent. Expect his usage to go up, thus propelling his point and assist averages. A substantial improvement on the glass gives this future some serious preseason value.
- Nikola Jokic (+450) & Jayson Tatum (+900)
Luka Doncic’s Mavs could continue to struggle in a hyper-competitive Western Conference. Joel Embiid could suffer from “voter regret” after Jokic’s dominant postseason run. Devin Booker could have too much offensive competition with Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal on the team.
Further, Giannis Antetokounmpo will struggle to perform at a higher level (which is an unfair expectation, by the way) than he did last season when he still didn’t even finish as a runner-up for the MVP award. This becomes even more of a concern now, considering that Jokic has the entire league mesmerized after his awe-inspiring 2023 postseason performance.
This leaves two of the strongest candidates to win the award: Nikola Jokic and Jayson Tatum. Tatum posted a strong line of 30 points, nine rebounds, and five assists per game while leading the Celtics to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Jokic averaged roughly a triple-double, with approximately 25 points, 12 rebounds, and ten assists per game on a staggering 63% shooting from the field and 38% from deep.
Either player could regain an MVP-caliber narrative. Tatum could take over leadership duties after Marcus Smart’s departure and continue to improve his playmaking for a No.1-seeded Celtics team. At the same time, Jokic could go for yet another triple-double average for an unbeatable and league-best Nuggets squad. Either of these two future bets have solid preseason value.
2023-24 NBA Futures: DPOY
Even though he missed the Memphis Grizzlies’ first 14 games during the 2022-23 regular season, Jaren Jackson Jr ran away with the Defensive Player of the Year award; once he returned, he took no time to catapult himself into the conversation. Jackson remains our favorite to grab the 2023-24 DPOY award; however, there is a dark horse candidate that has an outside chance!
- Jaren Jackson Jr (+600)
Let’s not overcomplicate things with this award. While we firmly believe some massive long-shots will take home specific individual awards for the 2023-24 season, Defensive Player of the Year will likely not be one of them. There is no other way to put it: Jaren Jackson Jr is a generational defender and rim protector who has not reached his peak on that end of the floor yet. As a matter of fact, he is the youngest DPOY winner of all time, and that includes all of the greatest defenders in NBA history.
It is safe to say that Jackson has not even hit his peak, and this conclusion can be quickly drawn for several reasons. However, the most important reason is this: Jackson is fresh off a season where he averaged three blocks per game in just 28 minutes of play. That’s right; he didn’t even log 30 minutes per game and still swatted an average of three shots.
Much of this can be attributed to Jackson’s proneness to fouling, but with a DPOY award under his belt, he might see a more favorable whistle around the rim. If Jackson stays out of foul trouble in more games and plays a bit more on average, he could post 3.5 blocks per game, which will most likely give him a second consecutive DPOY award.
- Victor Wembanyama (+2500)
Bare with us here. Wemby might be a rookie, but if anyone can average three or more blocks per game and wreak havoc in the interior, it would be him. If Jackson were to fall short of playing in enough games to make him eligible for the DPOY award, then Wemby could have a shot.
At 7-foot-5 with an 8-foot wingspan, Wembanyama is considered one of the greatest prospects in American sports history; he combines that size and length with a unique nimbleness to his game. Even for being a lanky, long teenager, Wemby is not easy to “push around.”
Wemby has experience playing professionally, and last season he excelled on both ends of the floor, averaging close to 22 points, ten rebounds, and three blocks per game in 32 minutes of play. His PER 36 stats would have put him at 3.4 blocks per 36 minutes.
A year can make a massive difference when you are a younger player, so while he did play in an inferior professional league, he will also continue to improve drastically in every way. You can also expect many NBA players to try and “put him on a poster,” leaving him with more than enough opportunities to rack up blocks.
2023-24 NBA Futures: ROY
After Chet Holmgren went down before with a foot injury before the start of the 2022-23 campaign, Paolo Banchero had a reasonably straightforward path to winning Rookie of the Year; he was hardly challenged throughout the season, with an unexpected injury being his only threat. Will Victor Wembanyama do the same, or will someone else step up and steal the award away from him? Let’s get into it.
- Victor Wembanyama (-120)
Many of our candidates to win individual awards this upcoming season are not odds favorites; however, Wembayama is one of the few odds favorites, and for a good reason. Wembanyama stands at 7-foot-5, with an 8-foot wingspan, and will immediately log a substantial usage offensively.
Like Paolo Banchero last season, it is challenging to see any other player posting numbers remotely similar to what Wemby will put up. The San Antonio Spurs are a rebuilding franchise that just won the lottery (literally and figuratively); they will want to get Wemby as many on-ball reps as possible. Further, he should immediately impact the defensive end, which could also give him an advantage 0ver some other rookies like Scoot Henderson.
So, what can we expect from Wemby this season regarding averages? Assuming that head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs’ organization deploy Wembanyama a reasonable amount (at least 32-36 minutes per game in 65 or more games), he should post 20-22 points and close to double-digit rebounds per game. He could even reach two or three blocks per game, too.
Ultimately, the Spurs’ record at the end of the season does not matter. The progression of him and the rest of their young core does. Expect a big splash from Wemby.