NBA Round-Up; Player Props for Your ConsiderationBy Marc U.
I’ve looked at possible MVP candidates and I’ve looked at possible scoring champion candidates in recent pieces here at bettingsports.com, but these are some of the ones I really enjoy looking at simply because there are so many factors and variables. The following is a list of guys and their expected averages for the 2012-2013 National Basketball Association season. In today’s article, I’m paying close attention to guys in the Eastern Conference who I think are sure bets to play the ‘over’ on.
Rajon Rondo, BOS (13 1/2) – No Ray Allen means more shots to be taken and Rondo is playing at an exceptionally high level right now and although he is more of a classic point guard in that he doesn’t shoot much, I see that changing. Players like Rondo mature with each passing year and understand their roles better. Will he be taking a ton of threes in place of Ray Allen? No, but he will be able to drive more and take more pull-up jumpers. With a career scoring average of 11.9, I like him raise that bar a little bit this season.
Brook Lopez, BKLN (19) – I struggled with this one simply due to Lopez’s injury issues last season and the fact he isn’t a great rebounder despite his size. The reason I think he stays right at his career average of 19 or goes over is that he isn’t going to stray very far from the lane and he will consistently be taking high-percentage shots. I like the new depth of the Nets which should allow him to harder and get decent breaks which could keep his play-level high. It’s a tough call, but I like him to go over especially with Deron Williams dishing him the ball on the drive.
J.R. Smith, NYK (12 1/2) – As tough as Lopez was to go with, I really like Smith to go over 12 1/2 this season for a couple of reasons. Chief among them is injuries. With two other guards already banged up and the never-ending potential scare of injuries to Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, I see an opportunity here for Smith. The exception with Smith is of course the fact that he can go from very hot to very cold in the blink of an eye, but I believe with more playing time this season he will eclipse that number in 2012-2013.
Joakim Noah, CHI (10 1/2) – Noah is a guy with a career average just above 10 points per game and now will be called on for a little more offensively with Derrick Rose out until at least the All-Star break. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer will get plenty of touches, but I can see Noah upping the average with his normally high field goal percentage and ability to rebound the basketball. Throw in the fact that he worked with Kareem Abdul-Jabaar during the off-season and that’s gotta be good for at least an extra point or two a game right? I really like Noah to surpass his number this season.
LeBron James, MIA (27) – In my piece on scoring title hopefuls, I suggested that LeBron wouldn’t win that award because of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and now, Ray Allen. What I didn’t mention was that I can see him eclipsing his career average of 27.1 points per game for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, he is now in the prime of his career. Entering his ninth season at the age of 27, James has now cemented himself as the most complete player in the game having won a title and an Olympic Gold Medal. This year, I look for him to take on the bulk of the action and save on the wear and tear of Allen and Wade as much as possible. I can easily see an argument for him to drop below his career average, but I’m not buying it right now. James is playing at to great of a level for me to think he takes a step back.