NBA Season Awards Best Bets
We take a look at 3 NBA Awards markets; Defensive Player, 6th Man, and Most Improved with our favorite bet in each one.
Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert +400
It’s not the sexiest pick and it's definitely very chalky but just look at his finishes from the past eight years: third, first, third, first, first, second, seventh, fourth. He also received first place votes in all but one of those years and has finished in the top three each of the last five seasons.
If Gobert gets one more DPOY he would be tied with Mutombo and Big Ben for most in NBA history. You may think that voters won't want to give him another one for that very reason but we firmly disagree with that logic. We are in the age of here and now, every sport is increasingly distancing itself from previous generations. We want to celebrate the greatness that is happening right now, even if that really isn't true greatness. Fans and voters alike can't wait to anoint the next hall of fame player and if it creates buzz in this day and age everyone loves it. It would be a huge talking point in the media, we definitely believe that voters can be a little self centered and want to be a part of 'history' whether they are always right or not so voting Rudy Gobert DPOY and tying him with those all time greats wouldn't be a surprise at all.
Now DPOY is definitely a team award and we expect Minnesota to be much improved this year, potentially winning their division and cracking a top 4 seeding for the playoffs. Gobert will also get some defensive help from Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels along with positive defenders like Naz Reid, Kyle Anderson, and Jordan McLaughlin coming off the bench
Only Mutombo has switched teams after winning DPOY and won another one, but we are in a different age today and there really aren't too many elite defensive players in today's NBA. We like Gobert's chances of joining that group this year with his track record, the increased success from an intriguing Timberwolves team, and voters scratching their itch to anoint him as an all time great.
Most Improved Player
Tyrese Haliburton +1400
Haliburton shined after his trade to the Pacers last year, in 26 games he averaged 17.5 pts 9.6 ast 4.8 reb and 1.8 stl. He should be the focal point of that offense and there really isn't much around him, they have some decent young pieces but Haliburton will have the ball in his hands a lot and will get a ton of usage. He could easily end up averaging 20 pts and 10 ast with some impressive auxiliary stats as well. He will play a lot for this team and beyond his high usage rate, he really is super talented and very fun to watch. He is going to stuff the stat sheet in multiple categories and will make some eye popping plays throughout the year. He is likely to be the Pacers star player and that is what you need to be to win most improved.
This award doesn't usually go to someone who come from an obscure bench role into a solid NBA starter, that isn't enough. This award seems to go to players who are already very good but take a big step towards superstardom ala Ja Morant last year. With Haliburton's high usage and ability to excel in multiple facets of the game we like his odds at 14/1. Also when you look at the other 3 players up there as favorites Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Maxey, and Zion Williamson they all have some things that are working against them. Edwards and Maxey really only contribute in terms of points, they really don't pop in any other statistical category and with superstars surrounding both of them it's hard to see them really improving on 20ish points a game. Then you have injury concerns with Zion as well as the fact that when he played he had really impressive stats. You would think the Pelicans will manage his time wisely to keep him healthy and with CJ Mcollum now on the team he won't get as many shots as he did when he first came into the league.
We like the way things break for Haliburton and have him in pocket top win NBA Most Improved Player for 2022-23.
6th Man of the Year
Norman Powell +900
Powell will no doubt appreciate the change of scenery moving to LA and playing for a contender in the Western Conference. He really hasn't been a true contender since the 2018-19 season when the Raptors won the title with Kawhi Leonard. And that year he only plyaed 18 minutes a game and really hadn't established himself as a legit NBA player yet. Since then however, with Toronto and then Portland over the last year and a half he has put up close to 20 points per game, averaged over a steal a game, and chipped in with around 3 rebounds and assists per game.
He is a really good player but not quite at that all star level that the Blazers were hoping for last year. He does better when he can come off the bench and not be the primary option with the game is on the line or when the pressure starts to mount. The Clippers will provide him with with exactly that as Paul George and Kawhi will handle the load and take all of the pressure of their shoulders. Powell will be able to come into the game and just worry about scoring, managing the second team, and playing as an 3rd or 4th option with the first team while getting wide open looks as Kawhi and George attract all the attention. He can score with the best of them when he gets it going, he can shoot the 3 well, and he will hustle all over the court.
You can also add in the fact that the Clippers will do everything in their power to keep Kawhi and Paul George healthy this year. That will mean plently of load management games for both of those players which will allow Powell to play increased minutes, get more scoring chances, and pad those stats even further this year. It will also help his case that he is playing for one of the top teams in the Western Conference. At 9/1 or better Powell provides a great option for a 6th man of the year bet and rounds out our favorite award market bets heading inot 2022-23.