This column is sponsored by SimBull, a Stock Market for sports. If you click on this link and sign up, you will get a free share to test the market once you sign up!
Invest In What You Know, Invest In Sports.
This Week on Air-Ball:
- GAMBLING AGAINST GREATNESS: CAN THE SUNS AND BLAZERS OVERCOME INJURIES??
- BAM ADEBAYO CONTINUES TO DEFY THE ODDS ON A PATH TO NBA SUPERSTARDOM
- NBA ROOKIE REPORT: HALIBURTON, WILLIAMS AND BANE ALL WINNING PLAYERS FROM DAY ONE
- DON’T LOOK NOW BUT THE UTAH JAZZ ARE REALLY DAMN GOOD
Short Term: San Antonio Spurs
Next String of Games: vs DEN, vs MEM, vs MEM, vs MIN, vs HOU, vs GSW, vs GSW, at ATL, at CHA, at DET
Very quietly, the San Antonio Spurs are having a bounce-back season. The team is currently in sixth in the west with a 10-8 record and, has a top ten defence for the first time since 2017-18. Among the catalysts for the Spurs’ good season so far is the always steady scoring of DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan has been able to lead one of the deepest wing groups in the league which also features meaningful contributions from second-year Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, Rudy Gay and rookie Devin Vassell. My personal favourite part of San Antonio’s resurgence this year though has been the unbelievable play of Patty Mills off the bench. Combining with Jakob Poeltl to form one of the best benches’ in basketball, Mills is averaging a career-high in points with 14 and shooting a scorching 41 per cent from deep on 6.5 attempts a game. If Mills can maintain this level of play, the Spurs’ sheer depth will continue to make them a tough out every night and, help them push through one of the easiest schedules in the NBA in February.
Long Term: Boston Celtics
Although last night was a disappointment against my surging Spurs, it did mark the first time all of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown has started in a game together this season. After Walker missed the start of the season from knee surgery and Tatum missed the middle part of the first month from a positive COVID-19 test, the two are finally together in the lineup. Now, they join one of the league’s emerging young stars. Few players have been as impressive so far as Brown and now with a full 17 game sample size, I’m comfortable in saying the elite shot-creating Brown is here to stay. It may surprise you to hear Brown is pacing the Celtics with 27.1 points a game right now over Tatum’s 26.5. What makes the Celtics a really good long-term buy though is they should only get better towards the playoffs. The team still has the Gordon Hayward trade exception to add to their roster and Tristan Thompson has been a welcome addition down low. Boston is a darkhorse conference finals contender right now and definitely worth the long term buy at the off chance they make a move or two and go even further than that.
Shorter Term: Detroit Pistons
Next String of Games: at GSW, at DEN, at UTA, at PHX, at LAL, vs BKN, vs IND, at BOS
Someone has to say it, this Detroit Pistons team is awful and if you own stock in them I’d be confused as to why. Sure, Jerami Grant has been way better than we all expected and yet, this team is 4-14 with a couple of the strangest wins in the league this year. One of them of course being last night against the Lakers in the literal first game Blake Griffin has actually played basketball this season. How bad has it been for Griffin this year you ask? Griffin is fourth on the team in points per game right now, just behind Wayne-Freaking-Ellington. This team is really bad in just about every way you can look at them. They have both a bottom eight offence and defence and their net rating is 24th. The best part about this team is the continued resurrection of Josh Jackson’s career and the fact Derrick Rose should probably get them a first-round pick via trade. Otherwise, if you have any stock in a team that legitimately runs its offence through a Plumlee, I feel genuinely sorry for you and your bank account.
Long Term: Washington Wizards
Let’s check in on the Capital’s basketball team. Looking at the good news, Bradley Beal is leading the NBA in scoring. I am now out of good news. A couple of nights ago, Beal set one of the worst random records possible in basketball. He became the first player to ever lose ten straight games in which he scored 40 or more points. If that doesn’t tell you how it’s going in DC right now I don’t know what else could. Beal’s supposed running mate, my guy Russell Westbrook, is having the worst season of his career. He’s shooting 30 per cent from 3 and 37.4 per cent overall. It’s clear that the quad injury he had in the bubble is still a nagging issue and at this point is effectively ruining him and the Wizard’s season. To be quite honest with you, I don’t know how this gets better which is why they’re a long-term sell. They’re 28th in defence and unlikely to change with this current roster and until Westbrook returns to form I don’t know how they have any chance. Of course, he’d need time to get healthy which is the one thing the Wizards don’t have after their 3-11 start, time. It’s getting ugly fast in Washington and I don’t see a rope to pull them out of this 9,000-foot ravine they’re in right now.