There have been plenty of surprises (Golden State is 3-6) as well as many expected results (we know you’re good, Luka) early in the NBA season. Regardless of what’s taking place, it’s a landscape filled with opportunities for sports bets.
To help you along, here is the latest edition of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not.
Eastern Conference Who’s Hot
- Donovan Mitchell – While the Utah Jazz is playing some solid basketball without him, Mitchell’s move to Cleveland has been transformative for the 6-1 Cavaliers. The NBA’s leader in minutes per game (39.7) is also sixth in scoring (31.1), 14th in assists (7.1), and tied for 18th in steals (1.7). In the three games since we last filed this piece, he’s averaging 34.7 points on 53% shooting, including a 38-point, 12-assist onslaught against the New York Knicks, the team he was rumored to play for much of the offseason.
- Tyrese Maxey – This third-year budding star has been carrying the Philadelphia 76ers of late. Beginning with his 44-point outburst in which he made 9 of 12 3-pointers at Toronto last Friday, he’s averaging 29.5 points on 57% from the floor over his last four games. With James Harden sidelined for a month due to a foot injury, those betting online can expect Maxey to remain a massive volume contributor for the Sixers.
- Kristaps Porzingis – Due to injuries and the fact that he played for three teams by the age of 27, we forget that Porzingis can be a force. It just seems like he has a monster season in him somewhere, and it could be this one. Consider what he just did to Philadelphia in back-to-back meetings: 62 points on 19-for-30 shooting (also 20-for-20 at the foul line), 18 rebounds, and one stinkin’ turnover in 69 dominant minutes.
Western Conference Who’s Hot
- Luka Doncic – When you get connected with Wilt Chamberlain in some sort of statistical way, it’s usually a good thing. And this is a great thing. Doncic joins Wilt and former Cincinnati Royals star Jack Twyman as the only players in NBA history with seven straight 30-point games to begin a season. It was last done by Chamberlain in 1962, and there’s been a lot of good scorers in the last 60 years.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Fourth in the NBA at 32.3 points per game, Gilgeous-Alexander has the Oklahoma City Thunder on the rise on NBA playoff odds sheets. He’s put up 36.3 points per game over his last three games – 0.3 points better than Doncic in the same time frame – while chipping in 18 assists and seven steals. A monster in the mid-range game, Gilgeous-Alexander ranks second only to Giannis in two-point baskets with 77.
- Kevin Huerter – A solid but not outstanding contributor for the Atlanta Hawks for the first four seasons of his career, Huerter has found his groove in Sacramento. He averaged 25.0 points in three games over the last week, helping the Kings to a 2-1 record after they opened 0-4. Entering Friday, he was tied with Maxey for fifth in the NBA in made 3’s with 29.
Eastern Conference Who’s Not
- Marcus Smart – He’s not always needed on the offensive end with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but Smart takes a lot of 3-pointers, and he’s not making many right now. He’s 4-for-19 from long range over the past week and 9-for-41 (22.0%) on the season.
- Julius Randle – Needing a bounce-back season after a tumultuous one with both fans and media alike, Randle is slow to get going. In the past week, he’s averaged 14.3 points in three games while shooting 34% from the floor (0-for-9 from 3-point range). He also had 11 turnovers in those three games – all losses for the Knicks.
- Killian Hayes – It’s his second straight week in this spot, and it won’t be his last until he starts making some shots. After going 1-for-9 in back-to-back losses at Milwaukee to begin the week, Hayes is shooting a woeful 17.3% (9-for-52) from the floor.
Western Conference Who’s Not
- Jabari Smith Jr. – After a solid start to his pro career, the No. 3 overall pick is getting a taste of the rigors of NBA life. In three games starting Sunday, he’s averaging 4.7 points while hitting only 5 of 26 shots (2 of 14 from long range).
- D’Angelo Russell – He lost crunch-time opportunities to Jordan McLaughlin late last season and in the playoffs, and the same scenario could continue to play out in Minnesota. Russell is last among rotation players on the team in plus/minus (-35), while McLaughlin is first (+55), with the former averaging 8.7 points and shooting 27.5% over the past week.
- Reggie Jackson – His 3-point percentage in 2020-21 was 43.3, 12th in the NBA among qualified shooters. His 3-point percentage in 2021-22 was 32.6, 129th in the NBA. His 3-point percentage in 2022-23 is 22.9, 159th out of 162 qualified shooters. Need we say more?