- LeBron James is a slight favorite to win the NBA MVP over Joel Embiid.
- Hornets top pick, LaMelo Ball, is a heavy favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year.
- Pistons Jerami Grant in the running to win Most Improved Player.
Sans last fall’s cozy Orlando bubble environment, an abridged 2020-21 NBA season heads into a much-needed mid-season break this weekend highlighted by Saturday’s skills competition, three-point and dunk contests before Sunday night’s main event All-Star Game down in Atlanta. Four days later, March 11, will mark the one-year anniversary of when the NBA decided to suspend the 2019-20 regular season following Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test result in the early days of the pandemic outbreak.
While there have been more than a dozen NBA games postponed this season due to health and safety concerns, the coronavirus and pandemic worries have taken a back seat in NBA circles in favor of one of the hottest new collectibles on the market, NBA Top Shot packs and marketplace moments. In fact, the NFT’s, or non-fungible tokens, are so popular, bookmakers over at Bovada set odds as to what the highest sale price of a Top Shot moment will be this year after a LeBron James’ highlight recently sold for $200,000.
What Will The Biggest NBA Top Shot Sale Single Moment Sale In 2021?
|Under $250,000 (-190)||Over $250,000 (+145)|
With the momentum behind this product and active NBA players promoting it on Twitter, NBA Top Shot’s appeal will likely continue its rise throughout the rest of the 2021 regular season and on into the playoffs. What happens to the value of the $200K LeBron James’ moment over the next six months depends on the Lakers playoff run and whether or not the 36-year-old vet can snatch another league trophy away from two of the NBA’s young phenoms.
2020-21 NBA MVP Favorites
Through his first 36 games, the 36-year-old James is averaging nearly 26 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists per game, while shooting nearly 51% from the field. With this type of production at this point in his career, James definitely has a chance to share a court with his son a few years from now. His +125 odds to win the 2020-21 MVP could improve (see: get more expensive) should Anthony Davis miss more time with a calf injury that has sidelined him the past few weeks.
Speaking of injuries, Joel Embiid’s 3-to-1 odds to win NBA MVP are quite an accomplishment in itself being that the big man out of Kansas-turned-76er’s franchise player entered the league with a slew of health concerns including a stress fracture in his foot before the 2014 Draft. The 7-footer still plays through on-again, off-again back pain. Despite the ailments, Embiid, still only 26 years old, is averaging nearly 30 points and 11 rebounds per game. His effort to-date this season is a big reason why the 76ers are in a position to secure the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed should they hold off the Nets in the second half.
Nikola Jokic might be 6-feet-11-inches, but his inside-outside versatility is why odds to win MVP are +425 at the All-Star break. The Nuggets franchise player is averaging nearly a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists per game all while shooting nearly 57% from the field. The challenge for Jokic to win the league’s most valuable player award lies within the Western Conference playoffs. Even a 20-15 record has Denver pegged as the No. 7 of eight seeds, seven games behind the Jazz for the top spot in the West. If the Nuggets can work their way up the standings, Jokic’s odds to win MVP will improve, too.
2020-21 NBA Rookie of Year Favorites
Since being added to the Hornets starting lineup, a span of 14 games, check out LaMelo Ball’s stats:
- 20.8 points per game
- 6.1 rebounds per game
- 6.8 assists per game
Ball, -600 odds (85.6% implied probability) to win NBA ROY , is shooting 46% from the floor and 43% from beyond the arc. According to StatMuse, the only rookie to average 20/6/6 for an entire season was Oscar Robertson. So, yeah, the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year begs Larry Bird’s favorite question: who is playing for second?
2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player Favorites
Jerami Grant’s feel-good story is worthy of praise, but to be the only minus-money favorite to win Most Improved Player deserves to be placed under a microscope. Drafted out of Syracuse back in 2014 and son of Bulls legend Horace Grant, Jerami bounced around the league the past six years before landing with the Pistons. Detroit has nine wins and have benched Blake Griffin indefinitely until they can trade the veteran lottery pick. Grant is the team’s main offensive cog and has shot the lights out the first half of the season, but there’s a better option, on a better team.
Julius Randle, at 7-to-1 to win NBA Most Improved Player, is a value bet. The seventh-year vet out of Kentucky is a big reason why the New York Knicks are not only playing competitive basketball again, but are currently the No. 6 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Randle’s averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game on a roster that drafted RJ Barrett No. 2 overall last year to be the team’s top scorer. Again, Randle is a steal at +700 to win Most Improved Player.
2020-21 NBA 6th Man Favorites
After starting his career with the Lakers and enjoying a cup of coffee with the Cavs, Jordan Clarkson, -450 to win NBA 6th Man, has really embraced his first-man-off-the-bench role as of a member of the Utah Jazz. He’s chipping in 18 points in just 26 minutes per game off the bench. Lou Williams, +4500, made a name for himself as the Clippers 6th Man, but the torch is about to be passed down to Clarkson as the Jazz look primed to lockdown the No. 1 seed in the West.
2020-21 NBA Defensive Player of Year Favorites
|DPOY (OK, maybe Myles Turner)||+360|
As the one-year anniversary of Gobert smacking all those reporters microphones, it’s only fitting we end where the story somewhat started. Gobert remains one of the most consistent defensive stoppers in the league. While Shaquille O’Neil is quick to avoid praising the Jazz’s $205-million investment in their paint protector, Gobert’s 14 points, 13 rebounds and nearly three blocks per game are exactly what Utah needs as a compliment to offensive scorer Donovan Mitchell. The results speak for themselves as the Jazz possess a comfortable lead on the No. 1 seed heading into the All-Star break.