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NBA Futures Bets

   by ASA - 10/22/2009

Who are the bargain future bets in the NBA this year?

I'm one of those very rare basketball junkies who loves the NBA which is probably why I've had such good success handicapping it the past 20 years. I've broken down all of the statistics, players and team schedules to give you two future investments to make prior to the start of the season on Tuesday, October 27th. Keep reading.

OVER 35.5 WINS: INDIANA PACERS - To most basketball enthusiasts the Indiana Pacers were a non-entity in the NBA last year but upon closer examination this was a team that made a second half surge and nearly snuck into the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Indiana finished the season with a 36-46 overall record and were a respectable 25-16 at home. The Pacers would have been a playoff team a year ago with a healthy Mike Dunleavy who only played 18 games a year ago. Dunleavy is ahead of schedule with his knee rehab and wasn't expected to return to the Pacers lineup until January but now may play in late November. Indiana relied heavily on first time All-Star forward Danny Granger, who had a breakout campaign, averaging 28.5 points per game, 10 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game last season. Troy Murphy was also a solid contributor averaging 11.8 rebounds per game and 14.3 ppg. For Indiana to take that next step though they'll have to get solid contributions from their bench and role players such as Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster, Dahntay Jones, Luther Head and Earl Watson. Indiana finished the season off with a 17-15 record (8-4 last 12) and I expect that positive momentum to carry over to the 2009-10 season. The Pacers play in a weak Central Division in the East as the Pistons and Bucks have gotten worse instead of better in the offseason and I'm not entirely sold on the Bulls. Of course the Cavs are the cream of the crop in the East but the Pacers only play them four times. Last season the Pacers won 36 games and lost 46 but half of those losses (23) came by 6-points (two possessions) or less. With a health Dunleavy we expect a 40+ win season.

OVER 42.5 WINS: PHOENIX SUNS - WOW! What else can be said about the Phoenix Suns and what GM Steve Kerr did with that franchise last year. When Kerr took over the basketball operations he quickly changed the Suns identity and tried to rebuild the team in the mold of the San Antonio Spurs. The problem was he didn't have a coach or players adept at that style of play so he brought in defensive minded Terry Porter to replace run-n-gun Mike D'Antoni. The Suns had Shaq to be their 'grind it to a halt, go to center' which obviously didn't work with the players around him. Then in mid-stream, Kerr, realized his mistake and fired Porter and brought in D'Antoni disciple Alvin Gentry to right the ship. With Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa and Jason Richardson the Phoenix offense exploded in their final 31 games of the season averaging 8 more points per game than they did in the first half of the season. Phoenix finished with an 18-13 record over that 31-game span and they did it without All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire who played in just two of those games because of an eye injury. Stoudemire is expect to back to start the season and the Suns still have a solid nucleus of players around him. The biggest advantage the Suns have on their side as they look to break .500 mark is the weak Division they play in. Excluding the Lakers of course, and the other three teams in the Pacific had a combined record of 65-181 last year. The Suns won 46 a year ago and I think they'll get to that number again in 2010.

Best of luck with these two NBA future bets...Lee

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