So, the regular season ends in a short few weeks and we’re here to give you a little update on how things are shaking up in the East. Who’s looking like the team to beat? Who’s disappointed the most? And which individual players are standing out above the rest? Let’s get to it.
- Chicago Bulls
- Miami Heat
- Orlando Magic
- Boston Celtics
- Indiana Pacers
Back in February I picked the Miami Heat, but I have to go with the Chicago Bulls as they continue to pile up victories despite a constant injury bug in the Windy City.
Ahead of Monday’s game against Houston, Derrick Rose has missed ten straight NBA matchups, yet in those games the Bulls have gone 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS. Rip Hamilton has been out for a lengthy period of time too, but Chicago has adjusted and excelled regardless.
They’re doing it by playing true team basketball and it helps that they’re suffocating opponents with their stingy defense. The Bulls rank second in the NBA in points allowed (88.6) and also continue to get solid production out of their deep bench.
Even so, sportsbooks have Chicago behind Miami in the basketball futures odds to win the trophy at the end of the day. I guess we’ll have to see what happens.
Considering the Boston Celtics have looked a completely different team since the All-Star break, I’ll take them out of this spot and instead go with the worst squad in the whole league: the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats not only have the worst record (7-43 SU), but they’ve also been a killer team to fade in NBA betting throughout the season. They’re 19-31 against the number, also good for the worst mark in the entire NBA.
The only thing Charlotte can look forward to is having the best chance of landing Anthony Davis in the draft.
And my (identical) individual awards…
Most valuable player
I’ll stick with LeBron despite a lingering injury and Miami’s less-than-stellar play over the last week or so.
James is still averaging 26.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 6.5 APG on the year and is close to three points clear of every other player in PER at 30.49. Kevin Durant may be picking up steam in the race for the MVP award, but the King is more deserving in my book. Those numbers speak for themselves.
Most improved player
Again I’m staying with my previous pick and going with Greg Monroe, who’s just shy of averaging a double-double (15.8 PPG and 9.8 RPG) for the season.
His team may not be performing at a high level, but Monroe isn’t the reason why. He’s averaging over six more points per contest from his rookie year and has also bettered his numbers in rebounds, assists and steals too.
Cleveland has to be extremely excited about the future. Why? Because of Kyrie Irving.
Irving leads the Cavaliers in scoring and assists and is putting up awesome shooting numbers as well. He’s hitting 47.1 percent overall and 41.9 percent from three, while connecting on an amazing 87.2 percent from the charity stripe. Not bad for a rookie.
Seeing LeBron leave town was a huge punch in the gut, but Irving provides Cleveland with a lot of hope going forward.