Known previously as the "other" team in each of the nation's two largest markets, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers (stylized as 'LA Clippers') have made major personnel moves between this year and last in order to burst into contention. And they are there; in fact, they are among the favorites to capture the NBA title.
The Clippers are 22-9 straight-up and 18-13 against the number, and are tied with the Lakers for second place in the West, 2.5 games behind Utah. The Nets are 19-12 SU (15-16 ATS) and are a game and a half back of Philadelphia in the Eastern conference standings.
The Clippers fell short last season, and in disappointing fashion. They were seemingly gearing up for the big run in the bubble, and they blew a series lead against Denver, which cost Doc Rivers his job.
So what will make this season different? Honestly, we're not sure yet. They don't seem to have as much bench with the free agent departure of Montrezl Harrell (to the Lakers). But they looked, on paper, like a team that might be even better on defense, with Serge Ibaka added to a list of stoppers that included Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley.
Yet their numbers aren't imposing. Under Tyronn Lue, the Clippers are just 15th in the league in Defensive Rating, and they had a heck of a time with Donovan Mitchell the other night, even in the course of a win over Utah.
The Nets will not have Kevin Durant available as he continues to work out some hamstring issues. But the offense has been in good hands with James Harden, who leads the league in assists. And Kyrie Irving is still capable of explosions as well.
A lot of people wondered where the production from the bench was going to come from. But Brooklyn is getting some of that from the likes of former Clipper Landry Shamet and Timothe Luawau-Caborret, who nailed five triples in the 109-98 win over the Anthony Davis-less Lakers two nights ago.
And the guy who is threatening to make it a "Big Four" in Brooklyn is Joe Harris, always one of the better shooters in the league, who had six treys against the Lakers, is averaging 15 points a game, and leads the NBA in three-point marksmanship at 50.7%.
It's a good thing that the Nets are finding more guys who can score, because defensively they are not quite there, and may not get there at all, frankly. As for the Clippers, they do not lack for firepower, with Leonard and George averaging almost 51 points a game between them.
There is, in fact, an argument to be made that these are the two most capable offensive teams in the NBA. Consider these numbers:
Charles Jay is unlike most analysts associated with
handicapping and the gaming industry, in that he also has had extensive
experience in the so-called "mainstream" media as well.
He has been involved with professional sports industry for
almost two decades, working in all capacities, as a matchmaker, booking agent,
manager, and also as an editorial consultant on USA Network's "Tuesday Night
Fights," which, for a time, carried "Charles Jay's Line" on
upcoming fights. As a broadcaster, he has called world title fights around the
world for various outlets, and has served as a color commentator for Sunshine
Network and Prime Network.
His radio experience includes being the host of numerous
programs, including "Sportswatch with Charles Jay" on KDWN in Las
Vegas, "Total Action" on WAXY 790 in Miami, and "Charles Jay's
Winning Edge", syndicated into 55 markets by the American Radio Networks,
and he's done podcasts on all subjects related to sports, gaming and popular
Working within the casino industry, he has a special events
consultant for Casino Magic in Mississippi, as that venue established itself in
the early 1990s as a hotbed of boxing activity in particular. Prior to this, he
had been engaged as a casino gaming columnist for, among others, Casino Player,
Card Player and Sports Form (now known as Gaming Today), specializing in
blackjack. And later on, his investigative series on boxing, entitled
"Operation Cleanup," won him much critical acclaim, including the
2003 "Dignity" Award, in the category of "Best Sports
Writer," as bestowed by the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit
organization dedicated to rendering assistance to ex-fighters in need.
In 2006 he established a content services division of his
company, which has eventually evolved in JayWords, and he is arguably the
world's most prolific sports & gaming writer, with over 20,000 articles to
his credit, the vast majority of which have been sports handicapping pieces. So
you might say he has analyzed as many sporting events as anyone alive during
this period. He has also brought some interest with his so-called
"gimmick" odds on special events, including the Academy Awards, the
NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl, for which he posted dozens and dozens of
different odds propositions with various sportsbooks.
This renaissance man is a winner of the Retired Boxers Foundation's "Dignity Award" and a member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame; graduate of the University of
Miami (Florida) who currently resides in the South Florida area.