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NBA Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: Giannis, Jokic off to Great Starts; Simmons, Westbrook Not so Much

We’re nearly two weeks into the NBA season, and a handful of trends are beginning to materialize. With an eye toward NBA betting, let’s look at which players have burst out of the gate and which have sputtered to start the season.

Let’s check the latest NBA picks, stats, injury reports, and NBA predictions. We’ve plenty of NBA expert picks for you to consider.

Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen, player for OpTic Gaming
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 (L) of the Milwaukee Bucks and Ben Simmons #10 (R) of the Brooklyn Nets | Stacy revere/getty images/afp

Eastern Conference Who’s Hot

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – We start with the early scoring leader in the East, not just because he’s put up 36.0 points per game through his first three, but because he’s doing so with incredible efficiency. While second in scoring overall to Luka Doncic, he’s 49th in minutes played. Shooting 67.7% will allow something like that to happen.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic – Somebody’s been given the green light, it seems. In his first season in Detroit, Bogdanovic is shooting the lights out early on, making an East-leading 21 of 41 3-pointers through his first five games. He’s averaging 23.2 points per game and shooting 53.3% overall – both of which would be the highest figures in his nine-year career.
  • Tyrese Haliburton – There were many in Sacramento who wondered about the sagacity of shipping Haliburton – at the age of 21 and looking like the future face of the Kings franchise – to Indiana last season. Even more, may be lamenting the move after seeing the former lottery pick explode out of the gate for Indiana. He’s averaging 22.6 points and 10.0 assists through the Pacers’ first five games and leads the NBA with four double-doubles.

Western Conference Who’s Hot

  • Nikola Jokic – Only Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook have averaged a triple-double for an entire season, but perhaps Jokic will join that club one of these years. He needed just 1.7 more assists per game to do so two seasons ago and 2.1 in 2021-22, and now the big Serbian is at it again. He is averaging 22.4 points (on 66% shooting), 10.8 rebounds, and 9.4 assists.
  • Christian Wood – One of the Mavericks’ big offseason maneuvers, Wood is averaging 21.0 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 62% and posting a plus-minus rating of plus-41. Oh, and did we mention that Wood is a reserve? That he’s yet to even play 30 minutes in a game this season? That’s right, this undrafted big man who has played for seven teams in seven seasons in the NBA is stealing some thunder (okay, just a little) from Doncic in Dallas.
  • De’Aaron Fox – After suffering a dip in several statistical categories last season, Fox seems intent on reversing course in 2022-23. He entered Friday one of nine players in the NBA averaging at least 30 points per game (30.5) and is the No. 1 impact on Las Vegas odds as they pertain to Kings games.

Eastern Conference Who’s Not

  • Killian Hayes – While teammate Bogdanovic has been on the mark, Hayes has been anything but. A starter for most of his second season in 2021-22, the former lottery pick is coming off the bench and averaging just 2.8 points while shooting a woeful 5-for-30.
  • Ben Simmons – He’s getting his assists (tied for 10th in the league entering Friday in total assists) and shooting just a shade under 50 percent overall. Still, the reclamation project is constantly hampered by foul trouble as he tries to readjust to things after missing all of last season. Simmons has missed his only 3-point try, made 4 of 10 free throws, and has a minus-42 rating in Brooklyn’s 1-4 start.
  • Kyle Lowry – His last couple of efforts should probably exclude him from this list (17 pts at Portland, eight assists at Golden State), but rabid Heat fans seem to want more from a guy getting $85 million over three years. Lowry averaged 10.8 points on 28.2% shooting in Miami’s first four games. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NBA props available for the Clippers vs Warriors matchup.

Western Conference Who’s Not

  • Russell Westbrook – You’ve been under a rock if you haven’t heard about Westbrook’s struggles. If you’re a Lakers fan, you probably should just go under a rock anyway until the team figures some things out. Westbrook missed his last game due to a hamstring issue after back-to-back stinkers in which he went a combined 4-for-26 (0-for-9 from the arc) from the floor, including an ill-advised jumper up two with plenty on the shot clock late in Sunday’s loss to Portland.
  • Norman Powell – He might’ve righted the ship with a 21-point effort in Thursday’s loss at Oklahoma City, but we’ll put him on the list this time for what he did previously: 10-for-37 from the floor and 1-for-12 from 3-point range. Powell averaged 7.0 points in 26.2 minutes during that span, not enough for a team still waiting for Kawhi Leonard to be right.
  • Luguentz Dort – Like Powell, Dort had a 21-point game when his Thunder defeated Powell’s Clippers. Like Powell, it was a breakout after an off-target start for the fourth-year guard, who shot 25.5% over his first four games. He has been a streaky one in the past, and those betting online should consider the fact that he may be about to go on a hot stretch. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NBA props available for the Cleveland Cavaliers matchup.

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