As Summer League gets underway, NBA fanatics are already looking towards the season to make some favorable prop bets. Via PrizePicks, Victor Wembanyama, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic props are already up and running.
While it is a bit too foolish to make a Wemby bet before we hear how Pop will use him, Scoot Henderson is just one player from the rookie class that you have to bet in favor of due to Lillard’s eventual absence.
While more player prop bets will flood in by the start of August, here’s just a few early bets to lock in for the 2023-24 season.
Aged 35, the head of the Warriors dynasty has already accomplished more than the next best point guard in NBA history. Labeled the best shooter of all time, Curry will run it back with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in ‘23-24.
By no means is Golden State the deepest team in the Western Conference, as the Lakers had a wonderful free agency period and Denver is still atop that mountain with the best PG/C duo in the game.
However, based on chemistry, star power, and confidence within the front office and coaching staff that seems to always trickle down to the players every season, the Warriors and Curry are due for another groundbreaking season.
After an inefficient 2021-22 campaign (for his standards), Steph dropped 29.4 PPG, 6.3 APG, and shot 4.7% better from beyond the arc last season. Fellow splash brother Klay Thompson had a lackluster postseason, which ultimately led to their collapse against the Los Angeles Lakers in Round 2.
Watching Steph navigate into an all-around scorer is why this bet is enticing. Although 35 years old, there’s a great chance he can hit that 30 PPG mark again in his career due to the advanced 3-level-scoring he’s displayed the past couple seasons. His 3-point-attempt-rate, or percentage of a player’s field goals from deep, matched his 2015-16 numbers when Steph won MVP and dropped 30 PPG for Steve Kerr and Golden State.
With the loss of Jordan Poole (20.4 PPG) and the addition of Chris Paul (13.9 PPG, 8.9 APG), Steve Kerr might adapt to Curry playing more of an off-ball role at times, freeing him up for more shot attempts per 100 possessions which is a recipe for success if taking the Curry point total on PrizePicks.
With the departure of a primary scoring guard in Poole and the addition of Paul, who couldn’t seem to find the basket in the later stages of the season with Phoenix, Curry’s opportunity might blossom similar to when Thompson was out a few seasons ago with that ACL injury.
Walking into the NBA Summer League’s first day of action last Friday, I obviously wanted to witness the Wembanyama hype. However, I was eager to witness Scoot’s athleticism, playmaking, and competitiveness for the first time as well.
Playing just 21 minutes, Henderson dropped 15 PTS and dished 6 AST while displaying solid defensive skills and an elite snatch back to pull up shot. The near-prodigy spent two seasons in the G-League Ignite program before declaring for the draft.
This means Scoot spent his senior year of High School and freshman year of college training and playing against NBA caliber players fighting for a roster spot. His competitiveness on the floor should easily push this bet over.
The Blazers are stuck this summer. It’s about three weeks after Damian Lillard requested a trade from his longtime home in Portland, and there’s been no movement from the Miami side.
While there is a real possibility Dame starts the season in Portland, this could mirror a KD/Brooklyn situation where he gets moved a few months into the season. Regardless, Chauncey Billups and the new Blazers front office group want to build around Henderson starting this season.
He is just too talented to wait around. The front office also mentioned their distaste in receiving Tyler Herro back in the Lillard deal, moving this to a potential 3 or 4 team trade.
Scoot will have the keys to the offense early on and should receive one-on-one isolation opportunities with Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, and Jerami Grant also on the floor.
Sorry to sour the mood here, but I just haven’t seen eye-to-eye with the Brandon Miller hype throughout the draft process. Miller is a solidified lottery talent, but by no means is he an all-star caliber player some teams believed he was.
The Alabama one and done had a historically bad March Madness, which is a red flag coming into his rookie season. 8/41 from the field, a handful of turnovers, and an early Sweet 16 exit for the #1 seeded Crimson Tide.
Fast forward to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. 30 MPG, 13 PPG on 27% shooting, and nearly 5 fouls per game. Also, don’t say that he’s averaging a solid 9 rebounds as rebounds do not correlate nor matter in Summer League.
Expect a similar rookie season to Jabari Smith’s in 2022 of 12.8 PPG on 41% shooting for the Houston Rockets as the #3 overall pick.
Miller is an inconsistent shooter who isn’t really good at one particular skill on the floor, just nearly above average at a bunch of different ones. That’s a recipe for disaster for a top five selection in today’s NBA.
All aboard the Haliburton and Pacer train as it is about to depart in a few months. The Pacers play a fast-paced style with an abundance of 3-point shooting. The team ranked top 10 in both 3PM and 3PA led by sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
With the additions of Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard through the 2023 Draft, Rick Carlisle, the best coach in the Association, obviously wants to have a top 5 team in pace and 3-point shooting which should allow Haliburton to craft his way to his second 10 APG season.
Throughout last season until his injury, Haliburton was bound to become the NBA assist leader for the season. Although he wasn’t crowned, his absurd 10.4 A: 2.5 TO ratio is Steve-Nash-like and needs to be talked about more among the NBA community.
The Pacers added more options to help Hali’s playmaking jump to the next level as Bruce Brown, Walker, and Sheppard are all high-IQ offensive players.
As for other free agents and returning talent, Obi Toppin and Ben Mathurin offer elite cutting and athleticism in both the half-court and transition as backup PG Andrew Nembhard and potential backup wing Buddy Hield should both shoot 38% from deep or better.
With so many options to pick from and an offense curated by the top mind in basketball, give me the Pacers to finish top 5 in the East and Haliburton to lead the league in assists.
The Joker is coming off one of the most impressive single seasons of all-time. Averaging 24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 9.8 APG, Nikola’s quest to averaging a triple double could come in the ‘23-24 season.
Analyzing Denver’s offseason moves opting not to re-sign Bruce Brown and drafting pure shooters in Julian Strawther and Hunter Tyson, there isn’t a secondary playmaker behind Jamaal Murray to take away playmaking stats from the Joker now.
Nikola’s 46.6 AST% was the highest of his career thus far, due to Michael Malone’s scheme to allow his big man to control the pace of the offense. The best playmaker, outlet passer, and screener in the league, it’s inevitable that the future MVP reaches the 10 APG mark.
Looking around the Denver roster, it’s tough to believe that Jamaal Murray, Aaron Gordon, Christian Braun, or Michael Porter Jr. will suddenly evolve into a much better playmaker and average Bruce Brown assist numbers (15.7 AST%, 4.2 APG per 36 minutes).
Those numbers will primarily land in Jokic’s corner which should easily bring him over 9.2 dimes per game in his potential MVP-winning season.