Best Value NBA Pick on Offer for Tonight's Suns vs. Nets

Jason Lake

Friday, March 6, 2015 12:18 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 6, 2015 12:18 PM GMT

Are the Brooklyn Nets better than the Phoenix Suns? That’s what the basketball odds are trying to tell us. The Nets opened as 3-point home faves for Friday night’s matchup against the setting Suns.

Jason’s record as of Mar. 4: 43-38-4 ATS, 3-7 Totals

This would have been unthinkable not too long ago. The Phoenix Suns were in the thick of another playoff race in the ultra-tough Western Conference. The Brooklyn Nets looked like they were finally going to blow everything up and start over. Instead, it was Phoenix that brought out the dynamite and traded away two of its best players. Brooklyn actually improved at the trade deadline, and now it’s the Nets who look like they might make the playoffs.

The NBA odds reflect this new reality. Brooklyn is favored by three points at press time for Friday night’s matchup (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the Big Waffle Iron; if we go with the new normal of 2.25-to-2.5 points for home-court advantage, that means the Nets (25-34 SU, 29-30 ATS) are now considered better than the Suns (32-30 SU, 31-29-2 ATS). Great googly-moogly.

 

Forever Knight
If you look at the surface of things, Phoenix didn’t necessarily do a bad job at the trade deadline swapping out Goran Dragic (16.6 PER) for Brandon Knight (17.7 PER). The Suns like to use two point guards in the backcourt, and they already had Eric Bledsoe (19.6 PER), so it makes sense to pair him with someone like Knight, who’s more of a combo guard. Dragic obviously didn’t like that role. Besides, he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, looking for a max deal.

The thing is, the Suns already had Isaiah Thomas (19.7 PER). At least they did, until they traded him to the Boston Celtics, in a 3-way deal that landed Marcus Thornton (15.4 PER) and a first-round pick in 2016. That’s not the kind of move a team makes at the trade deadline when it’s trying to reach the postseason. And maybe that’s the point. Phoenix also got two first-rounders from the Miami Heat for Dragic in another 3-team trade.

As for that Knight deal, also a complicated 3-way, the Suns did give up a first-rounder, as well as rookie Tyler Ennis (12.0 PER in 58 minutes) and slumping center Miles Plumlee (13.0 PER). Again, perfectly understandable as a stand-alone trade. But when you throw all these deals into the blender, you end up with a less talented Suns team in the short term. And Knight has yet to find his form in Phoenix; he’s at 11.6 PER with a minus-4.9 BPM for his new employers.

 

Youngian Archetypes
The Nets, meanwhile, got instantly better when they traded Kevin Garnett (14.9 PER) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Thaddeus Young (15.7 PER). We don’t mean this as a slight to Garnett; he’s still got plenty of defensive value at plus-2.7 DBPM. But he obviously has more value to the Timberwolves, who were willing to pay a premium to bring the Big Ticket back home.

Young never did quite fit in with Minnesota’s plans. He just happened to be part of the mix when the Wolves engineered yet another 3-team trade, the one that sent Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Young is playing like gangbusters for Brooklyn, posting a 23.4 PER in seven games. Unlike Garnett, Young’s value is primarily on the offensive end, which suits the Nets just fine – they’ve already got Mason Plumlee (19.1 PER, plus-1.5 DBPM) as their lone big man in a very interesting small-ball lineup.

The Nets are also enjoying an unusually good run of health for a change. Aside from Mirza Teletovic (10.8 PER) and his blood clots – get well soon – Brooklyn is at full strength, and there’s still a ton of talent on this team, however ancient much of that talent may be. We’re more than happy to ride with Brooklyn as our NBA pick for Friday. It’s not like we’re the ones paying the luxury tax.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Nets at 5Dimes

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