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Rookie first-overall pick Victor Wmbeynama and the San Antonio Spurs will visit Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns in the desert on Tuesday evening.
Devin Booker and Bradley Beal are both expected to miss yet another game as they recover from their respective injuries. The Suns are 1-1 with Durant as a solo act, and he averaged 32.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the process.
Will the present (Durant) win or will the future (Wembenyama) announce its arrival in full glory against one of the game’s greatest ever? Here, we’ll preview the matchup and share our favorite betting picks for Tuesday night.
The Suns are favored over the Spurs, whose lone win came in overtime against the winless Houston Rockets. The visitors have not beaten the home team once in their last nine tries, last tasting victory in April 2021.
*Odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. Use our BetMGM promo code for a $1,500 welcome bonus.*
|San Antonio Spurs||+7.5 (-120)||+230||Over 226.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-7.5 (+100)||-300||Under 226.5 (-110)|
The Spurs play like a team that knows it’s in the spotlight but doesn’t know how to handle the attention.
Wembenyama has been limited by both foul trouble and Gregg Popovich’s rotations and is playing just 27 minutes per night. He’s averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 blocks but is shooting just 44.7% from the field and 23.1% from outside. He’s also responsible for a team-high 4.7 turnovers per night and leads all NBA players receiving 10+ minutes per night in turnovers per 36 minutes.
Devin Vassell leads the Spurs in scoring at 20.7 per night but has also struggled from outside, and the Spurs as a whole are shooting just 31.8% from beyond the arc.
Coach Pop has his work cut out for him coaching this team. They don’t do a great job looking for the open man, especially in transition, and have poor judgment on when to pass or shoot. They’re also flat-out terrible on defense and are allowing the second-best shooting percentage (50.3%) to opponents.
On the other side, the Suns are taking the term “positionless basketball” to the next level. Not only do they not have a point guard on the roster, but they’re down their two top playmaking guards, with Booker and Beal sidelined by injury.
Durant and center Jusuf Nurkic lead active rotational players with four assists per game each. But even despite the lack of ball movement, Phoenix is still 12th in field goal percentage.
The Suns are willing to switch from running actions that require lots of movement to sitting idly and watching Durant call for an isolation—their problem is they don’t seem to have any fluidity when doing so, but that was to be expected for a team making such drastic changes.
The Suns’ defense and rebounding are going to be their primary concerns all season. They’ve held all three opponents they’ve faced to 104 points or fewer and have the second-best defensive rating in the league, behind only the Orlando Magic. They’re also seventh in rebounding percentage, both of which are highly encouraging for their championship aspirations.
The Suns’ ability to run 48 minutes of strong offense is in question, especially without Booker and Beal, but the Spurs have not put anything impressive on tape aside from their first quarter of the season or Wemby’s late flurry against the Rockets.
Just as the Suns need someone to run the show, the Spurs are noticeably lacking a primary ball-handler and decision-maker. A majority of Wemby’s shots are contested jumpers on the perimeter or him creating off the dribble as his teammates have failed to find him on the block.
Laying 7.5 points with an injury-riddled team is dangerous, but it’s our favorite play in this game. Durant is going to relish the opportunity to go against the “next man up” in Wemby and should take him to school.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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