The NBA betting season is never over. There’s also no summer break for the league’s GMs and PBOs. They’ve got teams to build and needs to fill – and, as always, some teams are needier than others.
Once upon a time, there was this thing called “summer vacation.” It started back in the day when there was no air conditioning, and schoolchildren had to be let out of their ovens – I mean classrooms. Now, we have working A/C in most cities (outside of San Antonio), and more and more kids are being chained to their desks year-round. Take your Ritalin, and do your homework, Dick and Jane.
There used to be an offseason in basketball, too. But you can forget about that now, with all those multi-millions of (mostly advertising) dollars at stake. Players have to work throughout the summer to get/stay in shape, and improve their game. General managers and presidents of basketball operations have to work the phones more than ever before. And of course, people who bet on the NBA have to keep on their toes with all the changes afoot. That’s why we’re here. Speaking of feet…
Bleed for Embiid
Mere minutes after we went to press with our preview of the 2014 NBA Draft, presumptive No. 1 overall pick Joel Embiid (28.2 PER with the Kansas Jayhawks) came up with a fractured navicular bone in his right foot. Embiid had two screws put in, and is expected to spend the next 4-6 months recovering. Cleveland Cavaliers fans are bemoaning their bad luck – never mind that they had a 0.27-percent chance of landing back-to-back top picks this year and last.
It’s widely assumed that Embiid will slide down the draft board, much like injured center Nerlens Noel did last year. And that’s a shame, because it looked like each of the teams at the top of the draft was going to get the player it most needed. The Cavs covet a big man to pair with Kyrie Irving (20.1 PER). The Milwaukee Bucks like Duke swingman Jabari Parker (28.1 PER), who’s from nearby Chicago, and brings family values along with his NBA-ready offensive game. And the Philadelphia 76ers would love to land shooting guard Andrew Wiggins (21.4 PER with Kansas) as part of a dynamic young core with Noel, and promising point guard Michael Carter-Williams (15.5 PER).
It could still happen.
The Cavs might decide to pick Embiid anyway; perhaps they’ll trade down with the Sixers, who would take Wiggins No. 1. We’ll find out on Thursday (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN), but in the meantime, don’t forget how many blue-chippers are available this year, and why all those teams tanked the 2013-14 regular season to put themselves in this position. Betting on the NBA will be a completely different animal in 2014-15.
Amnesty in the USA
The draft isn’t the only thing on the mind of basketball betting enthusiasts. There’s free agency – or the threat of free agency, in the case of players like the Miami Heat’s LeBron James (29.3 PER), Dwyane Wade (22.0 PER) and Chris Bosh (19.0 PER), and Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Love (26.9 PER). The Big Three are probably staying put; if they agree to restructure their contracts, Miami will be able to afford another wing shooter or two, someone like the guy they amnestied and dearly missed in the Finals: Mike Miller (45.9 percent from long range for the Memphis Grizzlies).
Love is another matter. He wants out of town, and for a while, it looked like he might be heading to the Golden State Warriors in a package that would include Klay Thompson (14.3 PER) and David Lee (19.1 PER). But Golden State is reluctant to part with both Thompson and a first-rounder. New head coach Steve Kerr might be the reason why. Perhaps he sees something of himself in Thompson. Their loss; the Wolves can afford to wait, and with Minnesota being such a poor draw for free agents, they need the best deal they can get.