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Marcus Smart’s Playmaking Role Has Made Boston A More Dynamic Team

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The Boston Celtics are the best team in the NBA right now with a 17-4 record, winning 13 of their last 14 games. As usual, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown lead the way offensively for the Celtics and offseason addition Malcolm Brogdon is the third highest scorer on the team. A part of Boston’s game that many didn’t see coming was the playmaking role that Marcus Smart has stepped into. 

Marcus Smart is letting the league know that he is a two-way player and that he shouldn’t just be known for his defense. He dishes out the eighth most assists of any player per game so far this season. His role as a playmaker has made the Celtics that much more of a dynamic team.

NBA betting sites have the Celtics at (+400) to win the Finals this season.

Marcus Smart developing into an elite playmaker in Boston

Smart already has five games this season where he’s had at least 10 assists in a game. On Monday, he recorded a career-high 15 assists vs the Hornets and was joking around about his “X-ray vision” during the game.

“You kind of zone out and it’s just you out there doing practice passes, finding guys in the right spot at the right time,” … “Once you’re locked into that, guys start reading that, guys start reading your body language and they start making plays for you to give them the ball and make it even easier for you. When you get in that kind of streak, that kind of zone, your teammates see it and they’re excited for you.” – Marcus Smart

He’s starting to become an invaluable player for the Celtics. We already know what he can do on the defensive end, as he won DPOY last season and was the first guard to win the award since Gary Payton. Smart is a key member of the Celtics success so far this season.





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Pistons granted $5.276 million DPE for Cade Cunningham’s injury

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The Detroit Pistons have been granted a $5.276 million disabled player exception for Cade Cunningham’s season-ending shin injury, according to sources. On Dec. 16, Cunningham was ruled out for the remainder of the 2022-23 season after suffering a stress fracture in his left shin.

Of course, the second-year guard sustained the injury in a 128-112 loss against the Boston Celtics on Nov. 9. In 12 starts this season, Cunningham averaged career highs of 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. Plus, he shot 41.5% from the floor and 83.7% at the foul line.

Referring to a few NBA betting sites, the Pistons have 31st-ranked odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are not anticipating a playoff appearance this season, needless to say.

On Oct. 28, in the Pistons’ 136-112 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the guard logged a career-high 35 points in 34 minutes of action. He finished 14-of-23 (60.9%) shooting from the field and 7-of-8 (87.5%) at the free throw line.

In August 2021, Cunningham signed a four-year, $45.59 million rookie scale contract with the Pistons. He’s earning $10,552,800 this season, and his $11,055,360 club option for the 2023-24 season was exercised last September.

His $13,940,809 team option deadline for the 2024-25 season is Oct. 31, 2023. Furthermore, the Oklahoma State product is the third highest-paid player with Detroit this season.

Detroit Pistons receive $5.276 million disabled player exception for Cade Cunningham’s season-ending shin injury, granted more cap flexibility

Cunningham ranks below Bojan Bogdanovic ($19.550 million) and Marvin Bagley III ($12.5 million). Bogdanovic’s salary consumes 15.89% of the Pistons’ total salary cap. Bagley’s salary uses 10.16% of the team’s cap. Lastly, Cunningham cap percentage is 8.58%.

Fortunately for the Pistons, a disabled player exception is an exception to the salary cap. It can only be used on one player per team. For an added bonus, exceptions cannot be traded. The amount a team can be granted for a disabled player exception is typically half of the injured player’s salary in a given season.

Over halfway through the 2022-23 season, the Pistons are 13-39 and rank dead last in the Eastern Conference standings. Not much has changed from last season. Detroit is 5-23 against its conference opponents and winless versus Central Division teams.

Moreover, the Pistons rank 22nd in scoring through 52 games, averaging 112.6 points per game. Their offensive efficiency rating (1.082) sits at the 26th spot as well.

Likewise, Detroit is even worse defensively. The team is allowing 120.1 points per contest, which now ranks 29th overall. Not to mention, the Pistons’ opponents are shooting 49.4% from the floor.

They have not made the playoffs since the 2018-19 season. Even then, Detroit was swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Nothing has gone right for the NBA franchise in years. Is it time for a new coach? Under Dwane Casey, the Pistons have gone 117-237 (.331) since the 2018-19 season.





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Now Jazz, Pacers, and Raptors also seem to be following Jalen McDaniels’ footsteps

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You’d think LaMelo Ball is the Hornet’s most sought-out player by other NBA teams as the trade deadline approaches, but it seems that lately the one who is gathering most attention is Jalen McDaniels. The player’s is a key member of Charlotte’s rotation and apparently teams are lining up for negotiations. 

McDaniels is in his fourth year for Charlotte, and as he readies for unrestricted free agency in the summer, it’s only natural that the team is recieving trade calls on him. Recently confirmed by Shams Charania of The Athletic, five teams have already been in contact about his availability, including the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, and Phoenix Suns.

The 24-year-old foward has played every single Hornets game this season (51 in total), averaging 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. One of his best performances of the campaign so far was his 26-point game two weeks ago against the Boston Celtics.

Watch McDaniel’s highlights as he scored 5 three-pointers against the league leaders:

As these four teams are closely monitoring player Jalen McDaniels, the Hornets maintain their value for the 6-foot-9 forward whom they have developed over a long time already. Some of the suitors may prefer to wait until free agency to court McDaniels, who will be unrestricted, instead of trading an asset to acquire him now while having to compensate him in July.

The first team reported to show interest was San Antonio, as head coach Greg Popovich doesn’t have the same rosters like his championship teams years ago, but has been doing all he can to try and keep the Spurs as a competitive team. The Spurs are in the need for a young power foward to invest in and hopefully unlock his potential.

It’s been on the trading speculation news that the Phoenix Suns have been on the lookout for an upgrade to their frontcourt ever since the start of the campaign, and McDaniels would be a precise replacement for Jae Crowder, as they keep looking to find a team for the veteran who hasn’t played a second all season.

As for the Raptors, it seems the six-foot-nine player would be a perfect fit for coach Nick Nurse’s strategy. Nevertheless, it would come off as a huge surprise if they are able to cash-in for McDaniels, considering Toronto has been reported to having some money problems.

A petition for the Hornets to keep McDaniels

Even after winning two games in a row, the Hornets have struggled a great deal this tournament, as they currently own one of the worst records in the league at 15-36. Although sometimes it seems logical to pursue trades for improvement, lots of Charlotte fans are opposed to trading a player like McDaniels, especially after having invested in his development for so long.

Sport’s journalist Nicholas Mullick starts his petition with “In a season full of losses, Jalen McDaniel’s emergence has been a win for the Hornets”, as you can read below:

With their eyes set on Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Draft, the team will likely be open for business to sell a foward ahead of the trade deadline. However, veterans such as Mason Plumlee and Kelly Oubre Jr. are on expiring contracts and are two potential assets for negotiations.

Most of our favorite sport betting sites consider Charlotte to possess the third worst odds in the entire league to actually qualify for Playoffs, as the team ranas 14th in the Eastern Conference.





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Brooklyn Nets fans boo jumbotron when Ben Simmons speaks

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Brooklyn Nets fans booed the jumbotron at Barclays Center when Ben Simmons announced himself for “Meet the Nets,” prior to Monday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Simmons missed his second straight game due to left knee soreness. The Lakers were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Brooklyn fans were more focused on the three-time All-Star’s absence.

A few NBA betting sites are giving the Nets fourth-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets.

Simmons has missed 13 games this season. While 10-plus games missed is normal for an NBA player, Nets fans were expecting a more admirable effort from the fifth-year guard. Of course, the LSU product missed all of last season due to a contract holdout, back injury, and mental health issues.

Through 37 appearances, Simmons is averaging career lows of 7.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 27.3 minutes per game this season. He’s also shooting 56.6% from the floor. Also, the 26-year-old is logging a career-high turnover percentage of 26.5%.

To add insult to injury, the Nets guard is averaging a career-low true shooting percentage of 56% and career-worst 14 player efficiency rating. Not to mention, his 14.7% usage percentage is a career low as well. Nothing has gone right for Simmons.

Brooklyn fans at Barclays Center booed the jumbotron when Ben Simmons announced himself for “Meet the Nets” on Monday night, missed second straight game

Additionally, Simmons has disappointed Nets fans to the point that many are rallying behind Kyrie Irving, who made only 111 appearances with Brooklyn and missed 128 games with the team at the time it was first reported last November.

In the Nets’ 121-104 win over Los Angeles, Irving led Brooklyn in scoring with 26 points in 39 minutes of action. The Nets guard also ended his night with seven boards, six assists, two steals, and one block.

Brooklyn’s second unit combined for 66 points against the Lakers. Patty Mills and Cam Thomas led the bench in scoring with 21 points apiece. The Nets outscored L.A. 29-16 in the opening quarter and 36-22 in the fourth.

“It’s nothing but joy in my eyes when I see them get rewarded for the hard work they’ve put in,” Irving said. “It makes my job a lot easier.”

Irving logged 30 or more points in a career-best six consecutive games. While Kevin Durant remains out with a right MCL sprain, Irving has stepped up to help carry his team. On countless occasions, Simmons has disappeared in the clutch for the Nets.

Excluding the Nov. 28 matchup versus the Orlando Magic because of an injury, Simmons has been held scoreless two times this season. Now, there’s a lot more to basketball than scoring.

However, there are times the former Sixer searches for reasons not to play. That’s what it seems. Considering Simmons is earning $35,448,672 this season and $37,893,408 in 2023-24, Nets fans have every right to boo the two-time All-Defensive member. He’s nearing rock bottom.





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