LEBRON James is the man most people have ordained as the greatest basketballer on the planet.
But has he been usurped by the game’s most devastating offensive player, reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry?
The crew at CrownBet.com.au obviously think so and they have put their money where their mouth is by paying out on all MVP bets on the Golden State Warriors superstar – just 16 games into the season.
The Warriors have won each and every one of those games, hammering the Los Angeles Lakers by 34 points, 111-77, on Wednesday to set a record for the longest winning streak to begin a season.
Curry has been the key figure in the Warriors huge run, backing up his MVP and championship season by averaging 32.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
The payout applies to all single bets placed on Stephen Curry to win the 2015/16 Regular Season NBA MVP prior to 11:59pm on November 24, 2015.
“We believe Curry is playing like he’s from another planet at the moment, and given the astronomical numbers he is putting up the decision is warranted,“ the bookie’s Rob Cumbrae-Stewart said.
“Punters can reinvest on Curry if they wish, or can take their money.
“It’s completely up to them, the cash is in their accounts.”
He was the MVP last season, but this season, Curry has been other worldly.
He leads the league in points per game, three pointers made – a ridiculous 78 in 16 games – true shooting percentage (almost 70 per cent), win shares, field goals made, offensive plus/minus and three point attempts.
He is also on pace to record the greatest single season player efficiency rating in NBA history, currently at 33.8 – Wilt Chamberlain owns the record at 31.82 (he’s also second with 31.74). MJ is third at 31.71 and Lebron fourth at 31.67.
Curry and the Warriors certainly have destiny in their sights, with records like the Lakers 33 straight in 1971-72, the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 1995-96 season and hell, even 82-0.
“We were in that situation last year (a chance at 72-10), I think we had already eclipsed the 60-win mark by April and we were trying to balance staying sharp and building chemistry with rest,” Curry said.
“Coach Steve Kerr did a great job with managing that and pacing the whole year, keeping minutes down and we had a lot of games where some of the starters didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“I think I missed 17 fourth quarters last year – we will see how it goes, obviously with 60 games to go, a lot can happen.
“We want to make it as easy as possible on ourselves so we are not fighting for playoff seeding and having to go all out as we gear up for the playoffs.
“It’s really about making the most of this great start and being as sharp and rested as we can for the first round of the playoffs.“
Curry has tempered the dream of going 82-0.
“We’re probably not going to go 82-0, and we’re probably going to lose a couple games in the playoffs,” said Stephen Curry.
“There most likely will come a time when we take a loss and have to deal with the emotions of that.“
Nevertheless, Sportsbet.com.au has released a market on the Warriors making it through the entire season undefeated.
That is paying a tantalising $201.
But the punters aren’t biting.
“Punters with Sportsbet.com.au have shied away from Golden State after the online bookmaker released a number of special markets for the Warriors,” the bookie’s Richard Hummerston said.
“The Warriors are at long odds to beat the current record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls of 72 regular season wins at $4.50, while failing to trump the feat is paying $1.14.
“And their winning streak appears to be coming to an imminent end, with the Warriors failing to reach a 20-0 start heading the betting at $1.60 in ‘how long the streak will last markets’.
“Given they’ve made it to 16-0 pretty seamlessly, it’s surprising that the punters don’t think they’ll make it to 20-0, but in terms of matching the 1995-96 Bulls, they’ve got a long, long way to go.”
Interim coach Luke Walton – standing in while Kerr deals with complications arising from back surgery – thinks the 82-0 dream is pie in the sky.
“Eventually, we will lose,” he said.
The way the Warriors are going, whoever beats them is going to need everything to go perfect.
2015/16 regular Season NBA Most Valuable Player
Stephen Curry ($1.75)
Russell Westbrook ($5.50)
LeBron James ($6.50)
Kevin Durant ($9)
Blake Griffin ($11)
James Harden ($13)
Kawhi Leonard ($15)
Anthony Davis ($19)
Andre Drummond ($29)
*Odds provided by CrownBet.com.au
Golden State Warriors NBA specials markets
Golden State Warriors to break the wins record
Golden State Warriors to go undefeated
Golden State Warriors to start the season 20-0
Next Golden State Warriors Loss
Phoenix Suns ($6)
Sacramento Kings ($36)
Utah Jazz ($5)
Charlotte Horners ($9.50)
Toronto Raptors ($7)
Brooklyn Nets ($15)
Indiana Pacers ($21)
Boston Celtics ($23)
*Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Is Ben Simmons a lock to go number one in next year’s NBA draft?
While Curry is the man when it comes to basketball talk these days, the other guy creating buzz hasn’t even stepped foot on an NBA court yet.
Aussie Ben Simmons, son of Melbourne Tigers NBL legend Dave Simmons, has been killing it for Louisiana State University.
The 6-10 freshman from Melbourne has been lighting it up for LSU, in one clash with Marquette, plying his trade in front of no less than 51 NBA scouts and staff, watching from the stands.
In that game, the versatile, do it all forward-guard-centre-whatever put up a ridiculous college stat line of 21 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists.
He is the best player in college ball at the moment and many scouts believe he would be starting on most NBA teams right now.
WilliamHill.com.au has earmarked the 19 year old as a $1.40 shot to be selected number one overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.
“We only opened a market on the NBA Draft last week, but such was the weight of money and interest in backing Simmons that we had to trim him from $1.80 the $1.40 mark,” William Hill spokesman Tim Ashworth said.
“Australian basketball owes a lot to Andrew Bogut and what he’s done since 2005, but Ben Simmons is about to step it up a notch and become Australia’s next big sporting export.”
ESPN’s Michael Wilbon reckons Simmons is so good, that NBA teams should deliberately lose games this season in a bid to enhance their chances of securing the number one pick in the draft.
“This kid’s worth tanking for,” Wilbon said.
“Philadelphia: that’s all they know how to do anyway.
“I would hate to see this kid wind up in Philadelphia.”
“This kid: the things he could do with the basketball — on the move, in half-court, against defenders, in the open court — he’s just wondrous to watch, and anybody who gets him will be elevated.”
Forget the hype, Ben Simmons is the real deal.
We won’t be forgetting his name any time soon.
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