Last night was a really solid one in the NBA, filled with bad beats, comebacks and upsets. For the second straight day I must extend condolences, this time to those of you who took the points with San Antonio. But, where I want to begin today is a little less gambling centric.
On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks made the decision to fire Lloyd Pierce after a 14-20 start to the season. Why? What was the front office of Atlanta really expecting with this flawed roster they put together?
The Hawks projected to be one of the worst defensive teams in the league before the season started, and they currently rank 22nd in defensive efficiency. Their big offseason acquisition, Bogdan Bogdanovic, has played in nine games due to a knee injury. Rajon Rondo has been terrible, much like he was for Los Angeles last season before the bubble started. Trae Young, who finished dead-last in Defensive Real Plus-Minus among all NBA players, is 477th of 478 players in that category this year. What was he supposed to do about this?
I currently hold a ticket on under 36.5 wins for Atlanta because they were a team I projected to win about 30 games due to the inherent flaws with this roster. However, the Hawks’ front office, much like the betting public, overvalued the nature of this team and Pierce had to suffer because of that.
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds on every game can be found here.
*Indicates team on second leg of a back-to-back
The Main Event
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (-1.5, 216.5)
The most underrated aspect of Los Angeles’ struggles over that 1-5 SU and ATS slide they were in last week was the absence of Dennis Schroder along with Anthony Davis. Without Schroder there was no other shot-creator on the floor for the Lakers other than LeBron James, and it caused their offensive rating to tank to 105.1 points every 100 possessions. It is no surprise that in the two games with Schroder back Los Angeles’ offense has improved, averaging 1.097 points per possession against Portland before ripping the seventh-best defense in the league in Golden State for 1.192 per possession in a win on Sunday. This offense still has its short-comings, especially from beyond the arc -- where Schroder really does nothing to help them as a 30.4% 3-point shooter -- but with Schroder on the floor the Lakers have more fluidity on offense.