There hasn't been any stopping the Golden State Warriors. The defending champs are the most profitable NBA pick in the West despite winning their first 20 games.
Jason's 2015-16 record as of Dec. 3: 8-8 ATS, 1-0 Total
We're through the looking-glass, people. The Golden State Warriors (20-0 SU, 14-6 ATS) have already accomplished what no other NBA team has done before, winning the first 20 games of the regular season – and doing it under interim head coach Luke Walton. Well done, sir. The league's reigning MVP, Stephen Curry (35.1 PER, +13.4 BPM), has actually improved since last year. The Warriors have essentially broken the game; Curry is jacking up 11.7 trey attempts a night, and he's hitting 45.9 percent of them.
All those extra points have allowed the Warriors to remain the most profitable NBA pick in the Western Conference, even as they're winning all those games and piling on the chalk. So much for regression. We can't promise the Dubs will stay healthy all year, or that other teams won't find ways to adjust. All we can do is watch and appreciate what Golden State is doing right now.
Paint It Black
Same goes for the San Antonio Spurs (15-4 SU, 12-7 ATS). Way back in ancient times, before the Warriors went on this insane winning streak, the Spurs were the talk of the town. They'd just signed LaMarcus Aldridge (17.5 PER, –1.7 BPM) to play alongside Tim Duncan (19.7 PER, +5.5 BPM), and presumably take over for Duncan once he finally hangs up his sneakers. But it's been Kawhi Leonard (26.6 PER, +8.0 BPM) driving this bus. If it weren't for Curry and Golden State, we'd be hearing a lot more about how Leonard is playing like an MVP.
Speaking of MVPs, the Oklahoma City Thunder (11-7 SU, 7-11 ATS) have two of them. Okay, Kevin Durant (31.5 PER, +6.8 BPM) is the one with the Maurice Podoloff Trophy in his case, but Russell Westbrook (31.9 PER, +12.1 BPM) is outplaying Durant this year. If only they could play better on defense. As a team, the Thunder rank No. 14 overall in defensive efficiency at 100.6 points allowed per 100 possessions, which isn't helping them beat the NBA odds.
Going into the new season, we figured the Portland Trail Blazers (7-12 SU, 9-10 ATS) and the Dallas Mavericks (11-8 SU, 12-7 ATS) would exceed market expectations after Portland lost Aldridge to the Spurs and Dallas failed to sign DeAndre Jordan in free agency. Things have worked out better for the Mavs thus far; sadly, Noah Vonleh (3.8 PER, –6.7 BPM) does not look at all NBA-ready at this point, but giving him minutes is more important than winning basketball games right now.
We can't leave the West without mentioning the Los Angeles Lakers (3-15 SU, 6-12 ATS). Their special brand of awfulness has been taken to another level with Kobe Bryant (10.7 PER, –5.2 BPM) announcing he'll retire at the end of the year. Apparently the plan is for Bryant to keep hoisting as many threes (12.3 per game) as possible from here on in. Too bad he's only hitting 22.2 percent of them. Again, filling the stat sheet during Bryant's retirement tour is apparently more important than winning basketball games. We don't mind here at the ranch. Keep firing away, and we'll keep fading.