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Struggling NBA Contenders: Who Will Make a Run

Suns, Bulls Among Major Disappointments

The NBA trade deadline figures to be among the craziest in the league’s history. The standings are very jumbled in both conferences and as many as 26 teams can realistically target at least a play-in spot if they so desire. Some of these teams may choose to sell, but there is a handful we think could make a run. If and when they do, perhaps that will impact your online gambling.

Without further ado, here are five teams we see having a better stretch run (or not, in the case of one of them). Read on. Also, be sure to check out our NBA odds page, where you’ll find daily NBA lines and plenty of information from many NBA betting experts.

Struggling NBA Contenders: Who Will Make a Run
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers - Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

Let’s check the latest NBA news, stats, injury report, and NBA lines for NBA Games. We’ve got plenty of NBA picks for you to consider.

  • Suns

The Western Conference champs two seasons ago and the team with the best record in the NBA last season is currently toiling in the middle of the West pack. Their tumble coincided largely with the loss of superstar Devin Booker, as the Suns were 15-6 not long before losing their best player.

Booker is set to have his injured groin re-evaluated in a week as he makes steady progress toward a return. Meanwhile, the team he left behind has begun to find some stability, winning four in a row following a woeful 5-17 stretch.

Cam Johnson, who missed a ton of time early, is back and playing well. Dario Saric, who sat out all of last season, is beginning to bolster the bench. Booker will come back to a deeper team than the one he left, and the Suns will be contenders in the West.

Phoenix has +1800 odds to win it all. You can do a lot worse with a bet online than backing the Suns in a title run.

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns – Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP
  • Lakers

They’re 21-16 after the putrid 2-10 start and treaded water with Anthony Davis out. He’s back, LeBron James is playing some incredible ball and the Lakers made one of the first big splashes of the trade deadline with the acquisition of Rui Hachimura.

While Davis was out, Thomas Bryant rediscovered his form for the first time in a couple of years. Russell Westbrook is an adventure at times but also might win Sixth Man of the Year award. They’ll get Lonnie Walker and Austin Reaves back soon, and a team that has often taken the floor with a makeshift rotation could suddenly be loaded with almost too many options to find playing time for all of them.

Health of Davis is everything. Without him, this is a .500 team the rest of the way, at best. But excluding one game in which AD left early with an illness, the Lakers are 10-4 in their last 14 with him active. They could fly up the West standings in the next two months.

  • Bulls

It’s pretty remarkable how much Lonzo Ball meant to this team. The Bulls were the best team in the East last season before he was sidelined. They fell from that perch in dramatic fashion and haven’t been able to get going this season with Ball still on the sidelines.

The crew left behind has shown signs, however, of better play. They’re 11-7 over their last 18 games, putting together three three-game win streaks in that span. According to, the Bulls have among the easiest remaining schedules.

There’s still some great star power on this squad. If Ball comes back and contributes, Chicago will be a tough out in the playoffs, and perhaps even if he doesn’t.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP – Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls
  • Warriors

Well, obviously. It just feels like they’ll flip some switch at some point and steamroll into the playoffs before taking out a team like Memphis or Sacramento in the first round. Remember, this team went 7-16 down the stretch last season before winning it all.

Recent wins at Cleveland and at home over the Grizzlies could be the start of something. The latter came after Steph Curry was ejected, as Jordan Poole got the game-winner. Curry said, “The way we responded after [the ejection] shows just how much it matters to us.

There are a lot of holes here but it’s just so hard to go against a motivated Curry and Co. At the very least, you’d hate to draw them in the opening round.

  • Mavericks

We’re not so sluggish on these guys. Too often it’s Luka Doncic and maybe one other guy (Dinwiddie or Wood) doing something, but there’s not enough meat on the bone. Dallas gets crushed on the boards on a daily basis, can’t hit free throws, and just has no bite.

Doncic has reportedly expressed his desire for a roster move or two. They’re more than necessary if this team is going to come even close to last season’s trip to the Western Conference finals.

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks – Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP
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