It has become an all-too familiar story in the NBA – superstar players who have grown unhappy with their situation and demand a trade in the middle of the season. Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard – the list of all-stars that have held their teams ransom is long and impressive. These situations can get ugly, and they never seem to resolve themselves quickly and painlessly. That means that NBA handicappers need to think about the impact of the standoffs on the player and their teams, and what that means for gamblers in their hunt for value. In order to make winning NBA picks, consider these five factors if superstars are looking to be moved.
Is he really unhappy? – The media loves to cover situations like these. They don’t always show restraint or objectivity, either – sensationalism and speculation is more appealing to viewers and readers. Whenever a NBA superstar makes rumbles like he would like to move, then, the media will paint a picture that the player is extremely unhappy, and that that is having an impact on his play and on the team around him. That may or may not be the case. Often times the unhappy player is still a professional, competitive guy who is focused on playing as well as he can until he gets trade – in part because he is smart enough to know that he’s more attractive if he is playing well. Before you really overreact and start to try to assess what is likely to happen to a player and how that will affect your ability to make expert NBA picks, you need to get a sense of what a player’s mindset is actually like. Twitter has emerged as a very good source for this kind of information – either from the NBA athletes themselves or the from people who are well connected to the athletes. You can get a lot more honesty in 140 words than you can from popular media.
Has his productivity been affected? – By looking at the stat sheet for the player you can get a sense of whether the situation is having an impact on the player on the court – the only place that really matters for smart NBA sports bettors. It’s not hard to get a sense of what stats are the best measure for a player based on his style of play. If those numbers are down on the season, or he has been in a prolonged slump or a gradual decline through the season, then that could be an indication that the situation is becoming a distraction. If his production on the hardwood is sustained at levels we have come to suspect, though, then it’s really not a situation worth worrying about. If the media and the betting public seems to be worried about it then there could be an opportunity for value when wagering.
How crucial is he to his team? – Some NBA superstars are stars more for who they hang out with off the court and what they endorse than how they play on the court – or at least how they have been performing recently. Before you get too excited about the potential impact this distraction to the team will have on their hoop play, you need to get a good sense of how significant the player really is to his team.
Is a deal imminent? – The rumor mill isn’t always precise, but you can often get a pretty good sense of whether a deal is likely to happen soon, or if it seems to on a more distant timeline – or not even likely to happen at all despite what the players want. If a deal is about to happen, or if the media has intensified their coverage because they anticipate that the deal is imminent, then the pressure on the player could intensify, and the effects of the situation could be more significant.
How is the public reacting? – The public will always have some interest in each of these situations. There are some that will draw much more interest than others, though. A number of factors contribute. The productivity of the NBA star is a big factor. So is the market he plays in, his postseason success, the amount of promotional work he does in the offseason, where – and if – he played in college, how public his team is, where the team sits in the standings, teams that he is likely to be traded to, how often he makes highlight reels, and so on. The more interest the public has in a particular situation, the more you have to be aware of what the public is thinking, and what effect it has on how the lines are set, how they move, and where the value is when it comes to making the best NBA picks.