The NBA season tips off on Tuesday, October 24, and I'm excited for several reasons. From a sports gambling standpoint, I've ranked #1 at SportsWatchMonitor.com in NBA/College Basketball combined for each of the last 3 years. Number 1 in 2023, Number 1 in 2022, and Number 1 in 2021. I love handicapping basketball, and this season promises to be another great one.
I'm also excited because my favorite team -- the San Antonio Spurs -- will have Victor Wembanyama in Black and Silver. With Wemby in the fold, the Spurs have an opportunity to build something special in the coming years (though they'll be at the bottom of the pack this season).
The top of the pack looks cut-and-dried. In the West, Denver and Phoenix are the Top 2, while the Celtics and Bucks should reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Memphis, of course, will be hurt by Ja Morant's lengthy suspension. But I do think the Grizzlies and Timberwolves will have very good seasons, and could round out the Top 4 in the West. Out East, Cleveland and Miami should also reach the NBA Quarterfinals.
With apologies to Phoenix, Denver and Milwaukee, I think the Celtics are the league's best team, and will win it all this year. Boston's currently +400 at DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers.
I love what Milwaukee did to acquire Damian Lillard. And Bucks pick-and-rolls with Lillard and Antetokounmpo will be a nightmare for opponents to defend. But I didn't like the preseason drama with Terry Stotts and Adrian Griffin, which led to Stotts resigning as an Assistant Coach on the eve of the season. I thought his prior head coaching experience (and superb offensive mind) was going to greatly help Milwaukee, especially with defense-oriented Griffin being a rookie head coach. But now Stotts is gone, and there's a hole on the staff. That was enough to tip the scales to Boston for me.
The Celtics were an unintended beneficiary of the Jrue Holiday/Damian Lillard transaction. Holiday was re-routed to Boston, and the Celtics now have the perfect defensive anti-dote to Lillard. I never loved Kristaps Porzingis as a Top 2 option, but now he's #3. And he's going to get wide open looks in the Celtics offense. The Celtics, who often saw their offense bog down in the Playoffs, are much more versatile now, and shouldn't have that problem anymore, with big man Porzingis being able to step out and shoot from long distance, and Holiday being able to post-up defenders down low. Take Boston at +400 to win the 2024 NBA Championship.
Good luck as always,