Expert NBA Betting Advice: Teams With No Playoff Hope
We are only a quarter of the way into the NBA season, but for six teams in the league we might as well by 80 games in. These teams are going nowhere in a hurry and just have nothing left to play for other than balls in the draft lottery. It's a long season for the players, and a longer season for the fans, when it's not even December yet and there is nothing left to play for. Here's a look at each team and where they are at.
Chicago Bulls (3-17): Lauri Markkanen is playing very well for a rookie and shows a lot of promise. Justin Holiday is blossoming in a more significant role. And that is the end of things that are going well for the team with the worst record in the league. It's not just that they are as bad as they are. It's that they are exactly as bad as you would have expected them to be heading into the season. It's hard to see what the path from here to respectability is, but at least they own their own first-round pick, so they are going to be able to add a very nice player in what appears to be a solid draft. Beyond that there isn't too much to say. Despite this dismal record they are close to being a break-even betting team at 9-11 ATS. You have to be really bad when you can lose 85 percent of your games and come close to even for bettors - those bettors really don't expect much from you.
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Atlanta Hawks (4-17): Dennis Schroder is a nice enough player, but he should not be the best player on any team. On this team, though, he is the best player by a very wide margin. That's a real problem. And who is second best? Well, that is a very tough question - and that's entirely the problem with this team. It's not because so many guys are playing great. This was a team built to be a disaster heading into the season, and they are doing just as expected. What is amazing when you watch this team is that the team allowed themselves to get to where they are. It wasn't too long ago that this was a viable contender - or even a favorite - to have home-court advantage in at least one playoff round.
Dallas Mavericks (5-17): The Mavericks are a mystery. Their owner seems like a smart enough guy who is willing to spend money. But they have dealt with the inevitable aging of their core superstar by well… just letting him get old. They aren't regrouping or rebuilding. They are just declining. It's not all bleak - Dennis Smith Jr. Is showing a fair bit early in his career. But the team right now is built so that Harrison Barnes is the inevitable statistical leader. That's just not a good thing. As a supporting piece he's very adequate. But if he's your No. 1 then the only No. 1 you are contending for is the top pick in the draft.
Sacramento Kings (6-15): Zach Randolph has just 12.9 points per game. The only time he has had an average that low since 2003 was in 2011 when he couldn't stay healthy. The decline is no surprise - he's a big guy and he's 36. What is striking, though, is that those 12.9 points lead the Kings. How is that even possible? And how is it possible for a team to be consistently run as poorly as the Kings are? They have a shiny new building, an owner with very deep pockets, and the ability to operate outside of the glare of an irrational media system, yet here they are. Pathetic.
Memphis Grizzlies (7-13): This is the team with the best chance to get off this list. After all, they have a new head coach, and that can spark things. And they have two core players who are talented and effective. But this is a team that has refused to make the moves to maintain their position as a consistent Western contender. As the top end of the conference has moved forward the Grizzlies haven't even stayed stable - they are moving backwards.
Phoenix Suns (8-15): The Suns have allowed 115.8 points per game. That pathetic display is 4.9 points worse than second-worst Orlando and 6.9 points less than any current playoff team. There has been no shortage of drama around this team already this year between a coach firing and a trade demand. And while Devin Booker is again playing well - at least on the offensive end of the court - the rest of the young players aren't consistently doing their parts. The team has as many as three first-round picks this year at this point, so they'll have more chances to try to improve, But with each passing year I find it harder and harder to believe that they will ever get it all together.
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