While one might think the absurdity of the 2022-23 NBA season would start to settle and find calm, the opposite has been true so far.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, and Miami Heat have combined to win just nine of their 32 games played so far this season. The Nets and Lakers are each in second-to-last of each of their conferences.
Inversely, the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, and Washington Wizards have won 21 of their first 32 combined games with Portland, San Antonio and Utah sitting first, third and fourth in the Western Conference respectively. Yes, the Jazz, Spurs and Trail Blazers own three of the four home court playoff slots in the West.
On Tuesday night for the TNT double-header, things will begin with the Nets chance to get back to winning basketball games if they can somehow overcome the Chicago Bulls. That being said, the hard truth about Brooklyn is that very little is working for them without much hope for improvement on the horizon, but more on that later.
Following the Eastern Conference showdown between the Bulls and Nets is a Western Conference battle between the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves. Both squads are working through early-season issues as most teams are, but both are also enjoying their fair share of success as well.
Let’s dive into each matchup.
Brooklyn Nets vs Chicago Bulls
Tuesday, 10/25 at 5:30pm MST on TNT in Brooklyn
In a battle of one of the saddest teams in basketball and one of the most average, it may be the fans who are ultimately losing. That being said, despite the chaotic nature of it, people still buy tickets to see the circus when it comes to town and the Nets playing on TNT is no different.
Very little is going right for the Nets who are on a four-game losing streak and have just one single win on the season. Not only is the Kyrie Irving Clown Show a permanent act for the Nets on a night-to-night basis, but Ben Simmons has also been awful — having 26 fouls and 15 made shots through six games is truly horrendous. Not even Kevin Durant has been able to keep this team above water on or off the floor.
On the other hand the Bulls are exactly as advertised; a middling team without much more potential in their roster beyond what they showed last year. They are 21st in offensive rating, 13th in defensive rating and 16th in net rating so far among all teams. They are 3-4 overall after seven games and, while feisty every night, they lack the overall talent to compete with the best the league has to offer.
While many believed the Nets could have been one of those elite groups, at this point any faith in them would be undeserved.
- Somehow, DraftKings Sportsbook still has the Nets win total at 46.5 which feels incredibly high for a team that can barely put together a full day without an issue on or off the court.
- Chicago on the other hand has a win total of 40.5 according to DraftKings Sportsbook which feels just right.
- Hilariously, despite their horrid start and lack of hope, the Nets still have the fifth-best odds to win the NBA title according to DraftKings Sportsbook at +850 which is ahead of teams like the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies.
Phoenix Suns vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Tuesday, 10/25 at 8pm MST on TNT in Phoenix
The best game of the TNT double-header is unequivocally the Suns vs Timberwolves.
On one hand, there is a clear title contender in the Suns. They have the best net rating in the entire league at +12.3 and they sit at 5-1 which is good for second in the Western Conference. They have depth, top-end talent, one of the best coaches in basketball, and a chip on their shoulder after their unceremonious elimination from the postseason last year at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. If that is not enough evidence of their status as contenders, here is this tidbit: they are also top-five in both offensive rating and defensive rating right now on top of everything else. They have been flat-out fantastic to start the season despite their turbulent times off the court as a franchise.
Minnesota is still figuring things out, but their upside is undoubtedly immense if they can put their pieces together correctly. They are 4-3 and currently seventh in the Western Conference behind their surprisingly solid defense which ranks 5th with a 107.5 defensive rating. That being said, their offense has been a challenge. Their offensive rating is 110.1 which is 22nd-best in the league due to a sometimes clunky fit.
This should be a great matchup of conflicting styles of play; the Suns pick and roll attack against the Timberwolves supersized starters.
- The Suns are a regular season machine made to devour opponents and spit out wins which is why their win total this year is 52.5 according to DraftKings Sportsbook. In a Western Conference where so many good teams will eat away at each others wins, that is a tough bet to feel safe about.
- On the other hand, Minnesota feels primed to go on a tear once things settle which makes their win total of 45.5, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, feel like a good value bet.
- Despite having the resume of a true contender, the Suns have just the sixth-best odds according to DraftKings Sportsbook. They sit behind teams like the Nets, Clippers, and Celtics which could provide good value to bettors.
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