Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 13 inclusive:
Is Phil Jackson really going to the New York Knicks? It’s been widely reported that the Knicks will hand over the keys to their front office later this week, but it hasn’t happened yet, and that means there’s still a chance that the Los Angeles Lakers will stop the madness and make Jackson an offer he can’t refuse. Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson have both called on the Lakers brass – led by Jim Buss and his sister Jeannie, who is also Jackson’s fiancée – to fix this mess.
We shall see. In the meantime, we’ve got some NBA betting to do. Let’s start with the Charlotte Bobcats, where, as Henry Abbott rightly pointed out on Thursday, Michael Jordan has been smart enough to expand his circle to include people like GM Rich Cho. Smart is good.
Take a look at the top NBA Futures Betting Odds
Minnesota at Charlotte (7:00 p.m. ET)
The Bobcats (31-34 SU, 36-26-3 ATS) have enjoyed exactly one trip to the playoffs since joining the NBA in 2004. It looks like they’ll make it two this year; the ‘Cats are in seventh place in the East, 5.5 games ahead of the 10th-place Knicks with under 20 games left in the regular season. Cho has made some brilliant moves since taking over as GM in 2011, but none bigger than signing “Big” Al Jefferson (22.8 PER) to a three-year, $40.5-million deal this offseason. Jefferson has the third-highest PER among NBA centers this year – even better than Dwight Howard (21.6 PER), who cost the Houston Rockets twice as much.
Eventually, the Wolves (32-31 SU and ATS) will have dug themselves out of the giant hole created by former PBOs Kevin McHale (architect of the failed Joe Smith deal) and David Kahn (architect of misery). For now, Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in its last five games, while Charlotte is 4-1 ATS.
NBA Pick: Take the Bobcats +1.5 (–120) at BetOnline
Memphis at Toronto (7:00 p.m. ET, TSN)
If you’re going to talk front office, you have to talk about Masai Ujiri. His remodelling of the Raptors (36-27 SU, 38-24-1 ATS) has been nothing short of masterful, from the dumping of Andrea Bargnani’s contract on the Knicks to the Rudy Gay trade and all the little moves in between. This version of the Raptors is balanced and deep at every position on the floor, and like the Bobcats, they’re 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games.
There was a time when the Grizzlies (38-26 SU, 30-32-2 ATS) were the laughingstock of the league. Their turnaround started in 2002 when Jerry West was hired as GM, and has continued under Chris Wallace, who engineered the trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers in a salary dump that also happened to bring Pau’s little brother Marc Gasol (17.5 PER) to Memphis. The Grizz will be tough to beat at 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in their past seven games, but Toronto has tons of NBA betting value as a pick ‘em at home.
NBA Pick: Take the Raptors PK at SportsBetting
Dysfunction, thy name is Clippers (46-20 SU, 38-28 ATS). Or at least it used to be, when owner Donald Sterling was keeping his purse strings notoriously tight. He started opening up in 2003, and the team’s reputation has slowly been repaired over the past decade, especially with Chris Paul (25.9 PER) joining former No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin (23.9 PER). Now the Clippers are chasing down the top seed in the West. They probably won’t encounter much resistance from the Jazz (22-43 SU, 29-33-3 ATS), who are chasing down a high draft pick this summer and are 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
NBA Pick: Take the Clippers –9 at 5Dimes