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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic expected to be back and stable for Saturday’s game vs. 76ers – Basketball Insiders



This weekend’s big divisional encounter will witness the 76ers hosting the title-contending Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center in Pennsylvania. However, the big question that both Denver and Philadelphia fans are wondering – will Nikola Jokic be fit for this clash of titans?

It’s been an up and down month of January for “The Joker”, as he’s been slowly recovering from a hamstring injury and the Serbian is yet to find comfort or stability. I’ll remind you that these types of injuries are common to linger, and sometimes even, ruin seasons for players.

The Denver giant returned this past Tuesday against New Orleans, and played like the MVP player he is. Watch as the Nuggets star bounced back as he scored 25 points, won eleven rebounds, and handed ten assists in 36 minutes of play in his team’s triumph over the Pelicans (99-98).

But then again, he missed last night’s game against the Bucks, denying the fans the hugely expected encounter between Giannis Antetokoumpo and Jokic, two of the most fiery contenders for the league’s MVP in the past years. This means the Nugget’s 27-year-old has been absent during four out of the last eight games. Should we consider him injury prone? 

Well, turns out no. He seems to be fit for the weekend, but simply hasn’t been able to handle consecutive matches lately, as he isn’t completely recovered from his hamstring issue. For a basketball player to endure an 82-regular season campaign over six months without missing a game is almost impossible, especially if you are playing three to four matches a week.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr has been more insistent than ever lately about the importance of having lesser games per season, as he assures shorter campaigns will bring balance to the calendar, improve the players health and bring more quality to the court.

“I feel terrible for fans who bought a ticket expecting to see someone play. It’s a brutal part of the business,” he said. “It’s why I continue to advocate for 72-game seasons”, Kerr finalized after last weekend’s Warriors game in Cleveland, where he had to rest Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

So that’s the thing, Denver are nowhere near the potential they show when the Serbian is on the court. Not only the Nuggets are 20.8 points per 100 possessions better when he’s playing, he’s pretty much been unstoppable reaching a 20-4 record since December.

As he is continually racking up the triple-doubles, he is breaking records. Last week he became the player with most assists in Nugget’s history, passing the franchise legend Alex English being only 27 years of age!

Do not miss this MVP battle in Philly!

Current two-time MVP league winner Nikola Jokic will face the award-contender Joel Embiid, who’s never won the trophy, but is third place climbing the ladder for this year’s prize.

Nuggets' Nikola Jokic expected to be back and stable for Saturday's game vs. 76ers

According to JazzSports, the six-foot-eleven Serbian still has the highest chances (-150) to earn the MVP award for the third consecutive time, as for Embiid, he possesses the 4th best odds (+750).

Also, a few of our recommended sport betting sites rank Denver to the second best odds in the league, much higher possibilites than Philadelphia (who possess the 8th best chances) to win this year’s NBA title.

Denver is currently leading the Western Conference with an outstanding 34-15 record, as the Sixers trail second in the East (31-16), just behind Boston, the title favorites.

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N.C. Lawmakers Move Closer To Approving Online State Betting




Legalized sports betting in North Carolina cleared another major obstacle Tuesday. 

The N.C. House of Representatives approved verbiage, by a 66-45 vote, to allow online wagering for professional and college athletics. 

A year ago, a similar bill was torpedoed at this stage. 

The House will stage a final vote on  House Bill 347 Wednesday. 

Will it be a formality?

HB 347 Could Add Millions in Taxes To North Carolina

It could be and there appears to be bipartisan support. 

Among eight proposed amendments to HB 347, one of the main sticking points – betting on college sports – was defeated. Wagering on Olympic-style games also remained on the bill. The legislation would license 10-12 mobile sportsbooks and be taxed 14 percent of their adjusted gross revenue, according to WRAL News. 

Legalized sports wagering would generate $13.2 million during its first year and could increase to $57.7 million by 2029, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. 

HB 347, in its edited form, precludes horse and dog racing and adds funds to 10 UNC System universities that do not field Football Bowl Subdivision teams. 

Fifty co-sponsors are lining up behind the legislation, which would expand its current program. N.C. allows in-person sports wagering, but only at three tribal casinos. 

Legalized Sports Betting Coming to N.C.?

If HB 237 passes a final House vote Wednesday, flies through the state Senate and is eventually signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, N.C. is slated to launch the state-wide program by Jan. 8, 2024.

The legislation has momentum. It was approved by four House committees over the past week, but the bill is not favored by all lawmakers.

N.C. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) spoke out against the legislation.

“The amount of money given for the gambling addiction problems that ensue from online, it is like 0.3 percent of the need — less than one percent of the need,” Harrison said, as reported by The Daily Tar Heel.

If HB 347 becomes law, North Carolina would become the 25th state to legalize mobile sports betting.

Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) said the time is now to act.

“Sports betting is a form of entertainment, something that consenting adults with their own money should have the right to do,” Saine told WRAL News. “It is already happening, and ignoring the issue only makes it worse as other states around us continue to legalize it. The immoral thing is to let the illegal market continue.”

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Terquavion Smith To Enter 2023 NBA Draft




North Carolina State basketball star Terquavion Smith announced that he will be forgoing the rest of his college eligibility and entering the 2023 NBA Draft.

A projected first-round pick, Smith is the No. 30-ranked prospect on ESPN’s Top-100 list.

“I’m forgoing my college eligibility and going all the way in,” Smith said. “I’m thankful for everything the NC State coaching staff and fans have done for me. This is the right decision for me to take care of my family.”

Smith entered the 2022 NBA Draft and likely would have been selected but elected to return to NC State for his sophomore season. He averaged 17.9 points and 4.1 assists per game and finished his career eighth all-time in school history in career points per game (17.1).

Projecting Where Terquavion Smith Will Be Drafted

Smith is projected to go towards the bottom of the first-round but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the NC State guard fall in the draft.

The 20-year-old faces stiff competition at the guard position from a handful of one-and-done prospects but isn’t as polished as one might expect despite having an extra year of college experience.

While the NC State product is expected to have his name called on draft night, NBA scouts do have some concerns regarding his game.

First off, Smith is a smaller guard, who could have some difficulties defending at the NBA level. He has elite quickness and athleticism but has a tendency to play erratic at times.

Smith needs to improve his decision-making with the basketball and his shot selection needs some work, but overall, he’s a gifted scorer and a player that has the potential to make an impact on both ends of the floor. The sophomore guard averaged 2.2 turnovers per game and finished with an assist-to-turnover ratio of fewer than 2-to-1.

Smith also struggled at times with his shot this season, shooting just 38 percent from the floor and 33.6 percent from 3-point range.

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Isaiah Collier is recruiting Bronny James




Bronny James’ recruitment is still open for business, according to USC Trojans commit Isaiah Collier.

Collier, the No. 3 player in ESPN’s top-100 rankings, used his time at the McDonald’s All-American Game to recruit James to join him in the Trojans’ backcourt.

James is one of the nation’s top remaining unsigned recruits. gives Ohio State a 95 percent chance of landing James but Collier has a better pitch than landing at his father’s former top school.

“He’s a great shooter,” Collier said to 247Sports. “I feel like he’s one of the best all-around players in the country. So, he’s a great player and knows how to play the game, and he’s not going to overdo anything. … I’m looking forward to [playing with him], and I’m definitely trying to recruit him. I’m just telling him he can stay home, that’s all I’ve got say.”

Collier Expected To Step Into Starting PG Role At USC

USC will be in need of a point guard in 2023 and Collier is expected to step into the starting role right away.

The Trojans will be losing two seniors, Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson, who accounted for 100 percent of the team’s minutes at the point guard spot, according to

Collier is a natural lead guard, but at 6-foot-4, has the ability to play both the point guard and shooting guard spots at the college level.

That could open up the possibility for James to slide in alongside Collier in the Trojans’ backcourt for head coach Andy Enfield.

USC finished 22-11 with a 14-6 record in PAC-12 play. However, the Trojans suffered a disappointing end to their season, losing in the first round of the PAC-12 Tournament and the opening round of March Madness.

Will Bronny James Join Isaiah Collier In The Trojans’ Backcourt?

It’s interesting that Collier, a highly-touted prospect in his own right, would recruit Bronny to USC even though both play the point guard position.

Collier, the Gatorade Georgia High School Basketball Player of the Year, averaged 20.2 points, 6.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 steals. He led Wheeler High School to a 26-6 record and defeated region rival Cherokee for the fourth time to win the Class 7A State Championship.

Paul Biancardi, National Recruiting Director for ESPN, had this to say about Collier’s game:

“Collier is the ultimate playmaker who shines when playing out of pick-and-rolls. He reads the floor and has excellent passing vision. A willing and accurate passer who now is dependable from deep, he’s special because he creates endless scoring opportunities for his teammates and, at the same time, can score big on his own when needed.”

To Collier’s credit, he’s welcomed the challenge of co-existing with James, who will be one of the most highly scrutinized players in college basketball next season.

The Wheeler guard believes that Bronny’s shooting and basketball IQ would ultimately make for a good fit alongside his natural play-making abilities.

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