The early 2017 NBA season has been a wild one, especially in the East. But one constant remains, even if a few early foibles threw some less savvy fans and betters off the scent; the Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA, and it isn’t EVEN CLOSE.
I know, they lost three of their first eight games. In past seasons, they went twenty or more games with just three or less losses. They’ve obviously taken a step back, right? Um. NO. Last night’s gas-pedal depressed blowout in San Antonio was a quick reminder of the dominance, casual at that, of this Warriors team when they choose to extend themselves. But if a win over the Kawhi-less Spurs doesn’t enthrall you, consider the following stats:
- The Warriors lead the NBA with an assist rate of 21.6. Milwaukee is second at 18.6. The difference between Golden State and Milwaukee is equal to the difference between Milwaukee and Chicago, who ranks 23rd.
- The Warriors lead the NBA in Offensive Efficiency with a staggering 117.9. Orlando is second at 109.9 (a nice feat itself for the Magic.) To equal that same standard deviation, we get all the way to the Sixers at 21st.
- The Warriors True Shooting Percentage is 63.7%, which isn’t easy to do in a gym unguarded. Second place is again Orlando at 59.6%.
In all things offense, Golden State is nearly a full standard of deviation better than the entire NBA. The basic point, in case I bored you with nerdery, is that the Warriors are simply in their own galaxy, and no one, even after a furious offseason of effort, is even close.
We are still riding a four-game winning streak after taking a day off with yesterday’s slim slate. Let’s make it an even five tonight.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons -2 (Total: 205)
The Pistons stunning win at Golden State might have distorted the picture a bit. They and Milwaukee look similar in terms of resume, with a slight edge going to Detroit. But the analytics tell us a much different story. Milwaukee is the better team, and I think they are an excellent value tonight, getting a point or two on the road.
Milwaukee currently ranks third in True Shooting Percentage to Detroit’s 24th. Both play at a slightly slower-than-league-average pace, so at the same speed, the dramatically superior shooting team has a BIG Edge. Detroit is the slightly better defensive team but neither is setting the league on fire. Both rank in the bottom half of the league in FG% allowed; Milwaukee especially bad at 25th.
Neither team has been playing great defense in their most recent performances, so tonight does have some shootout potential as well. I like the Bucks on the road, but they are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games, and have been especially cover-averse on the road. The OVER 205 is the even better play in tonight’s game. Both teams have been allowing a lot of points. The Bucks have allowed an average of 114 in their last three outings, and the Pistons have allowed triple-digits in four of their last five games.
Expect both teams to find some scoring opportunities tonight and for the total to eclipse the 205 mark with relative ease.
Today’s NBA Pick: POINT TOTAL OVER 205