There is a long way to go before we have a full picture of the MVP race, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both Ja Morant and Nikola Jokic are in that top tier. The two already lead the top two teams in the Western Conference, with Morant’s Grizzlies currently the first seed and Jokic’s Nuggets close behind. And per DraftKings, both are in the top 8 in expected odds, with Jokic currently sitting at +700 and Morant at an enticing +2,500. The early game is not quite as intriguing as the scuffling Golden State Warriors, who have dropped five of their past seven face a resurgent New York Knicks. The team has firmly committed to defense. First by putting Quentin Grimes in the starting lineup and having Miles McBride as a key reserve. Next by moving Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier mostly or completely out of the rotation. The Knicks are currently riding a seven-game win streak and sport the league’s best defensive rating in that span and the second-best net rating behind only the Grizz.
Golden State Warriors vs. New York Knicks
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Odds: Warriors +5
Golden State Warriors (15-16)
Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Johnathan Kuminga, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
New York Knicks (17-13)
Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Nuggets
When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
Odds: Nuggets +2
Memphis Grizzlies (19-10)
Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, John Konchar, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
Denver Nuggets (18-11)
Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic
I’m going to continue betting against the Golden State Warriors, who are giving off slightly less ominous Going to Work-era Pistons vibes via 2008 or so. Steph is out, the franchise is torn between the past and the future. The past is getting older and a bit creakier. The future isn’t quite as bright as the franchise was hoping. It could all come crashing down pretty quick. Right now, the Warriors are five-point dogs, per DraftKings, and I can see the Knicks really putting on a show on a national TV in front of the Garden faithful riding that winning streak even longer.
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