Setting The Pick – Post-Anunoby betting implications
Any time uncertainty is created in the sports world, betting opportunities emerge for those who can identify an edge.
Whether it’s the start of the NBA season, an injured star, or a trade, these circumstances allow for more variance as everyone, including oddsmakers, attempt to sort out the projections.
Last week in this article, I wrote about three teams rumoured to be in the trade market.
A day later, the Knicks and Raptors came out of nowhere with a shocking five-player trade.
Now that both are 2-0 since the transaction, we have a decent sample size to evaluate respective rotations, usage, and pecking orders.
Here are some betting considerations for both teams in the long term and for tonight’s slate.
Raptors post-trade long term
With each passing game on this West Coast road trip, expect Immanuel Quickley to see his usage and minutes rise.
While RJ Barrett is the one with the $107 million contract, Quickley might quietly emerge as the true prize of this transaction.
IQ was runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year last season, averaging 14.9 point per game as New York’s microwave scorer.
Even though he was a fan favourite, unfortunately he was trapped behind Jalen Brunson on the depth chart and would never realize his full potential had he remained a Knick.
In Toronto, they’re demanding more assertiveness from their new starting point guard and Quickley has historically not been shy to shoot.
On a per 36-minute basis, Quickley is averaging 22.6 ppg for the season. With the Knicks, he was only playing 24 minutes a night.
Expect his minutes to sit in the low 30s moving forward. With that playing time, he should be a low 20-point scorer on average.
He might also be asked to shoot more threes than he was in any season with New York. At 40.6 per cent for the season, he’s Toronto’s deadliest threat from deep and should have more plays drawn up to maximum his strengths.
The Play: Quickley over points (up to 21.5)
Raptors vs. Kings
It might feel like an overreaction through two games, but Pascal Siakam having just two assists is something to monitor.
Prior to the trade, Siakam was averaging 5.1 assists over 32 games. With his two new teammates, his role is seemingly shifting.
Prior to the trade, many lineup combinations had Siakam and Scottie Barnes as the only two capable playmakers.
Going from OG Anunoby to Barrett and Quickley, the Raptors gain two extra ball handlers who can facilitate the offence.
Head coach Darko Rajakovic has been quoted in press conferences asking Quickley to be less timid with the ball.
In the short term, I anticipate the team will try to have Barrett and Quickley get more touches to build chemistry.
Siakam’s passing data since the trade is also telling – his potential assists have dropped from 8.4 to 5.0.
The Play: Siakam under 4.5 assists (-140)
Knicks post-trade long term
When the regular season wraps up, there’s a good chance this trade is graded as a win-win for both teams, and much of that has to do with redundancy.
This transaction was a classic example of defence for offence – New York was in desperate need of a lockdown defender and Barrett was not that guy. He’s a solid offensive wing who’s capable of creating his own shot in the mid-range and at the rim.
The problem is, the Knicks have Julius Randle and Brunson who dominate the ball.
I anticipate Anunoby having less of an offensive role in New York, saving his energy for the defensive end.
With one less shot creator on the floor, the New York offence becomes very compartmentalized.
Isaiah Hartenstein is such a traditional big man in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s offence, he never initiates any offence.
Donte DiVincenzo, their newest starting shooting guard, is almost exclusively a three-point threat, taking 71.6 per cent of his shots from deep.
If the first two Knicks games have taught us anything, Randle seems to be the one to absorb all of Barrett’s leftover usage.
Randle has seen his usage rate jump from 28.2 to 36.5 per cent.
While both Brunson and Randle should see upticks in production, Randle’s offensive game was most redundant to Barrett’s.
Given that Anunoby is more capable as a three-point threat, Randle should have even more space to operate in the paint.
The Play: Randle over points (up to 27.5)
Knicks vs. 76ers
Now that Quickley and Barrett have departed, a larger proportion of the playmaking responsibility will fall on Brunson.
Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn will rarely have the ball in their hands and New York’s rotation doesn’t have a true point guard outside of the Villanova-alum.
Having Anunoby on the team also gives Brunson a more capable finisher from deep than Barrett.
Anunoby is 37.5 per cent from three over his career while Barrett is 34.2.
Using the first two games as a litmus test, Brunson is clearly playing up his leadership role in getting his teammates involved.
He’s dropped 13 and 14 dimes respectively over their first two games: his only two double-doubles on the season.
If you’re concerned about Philly’s defence, I wouldn’t fault you, but I will point out that his 14-assist performance came against the league’s No. 1 defence – the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the number being bet up heavily on FanDuel, take it as a sign that the market likes Brunson to keep facilitating tonight.
The Play: Brunson over 7.5 assists (-138)