Suns vs. Hornets Odds
|Suns Odds||Suns -10|
|Hornets Odds||Hornets +10|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The time has arrived. Kevin Durant is finally set to make his Suns debut Wednesday. It’s Durant’s first game with his fourth career team, and potentially the debut of a new superteam.
Can the Suns get off on the right track? Or will the Hornets, winners of four straight but without LaMelo Ball, spoil the coming out party for the Suns new championship face?
Let’s bet Hornets-Suns.
Landry Shamet remains out, but everyone else, including Durant, is a go for Phoenix.
Durant will be on a minutes restriction for this game, so it’ll be interesting to see the substitution pattern for the Suns and how they stagger Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
The introduction of Durant into Phoenix isn’t without complications. Durant prefers to work out of isolations, and while Booker and Paul can ably space the floor around him, there may be some struggles early with the balance between Suns pick and roll and Durant ISOs.
Booker has only 100 spot-up possessions this season, CP3 only 75. There will be an adjustment period.
That adjustment period could be a little stilted. For as natural a fit as Durant is with Booker and Paul, two efficient scorers who are also willing passers, the team will likely be nervous and trying to accommodate a significant new presence. It’s a disruption to routine, and oftentimes that leads to struggles early on.
There is some talk that the Suns’ reliance on mid-range shots could be a weakness. Let’s be clear: This is the most efficient combination of pull-up mid-range shooters in the league. Durant’s efficiency above expectations is elite on such shots.
Booker might be under the most pressure to make this work, with Paul adapting to a lesser role as he gets older. Booker’s a sensational passer, and there’s a good chance Durant benefits from Booker’s passing as much as he does from Paul. I’ll be looking toward Booker assist props.
Defensively, this could get messy. Durant is a high-level defender. He doesn’t get enough credit for that at this point in his career. But the Suns’ depth was compromised, and while Mikal Bridges slithers around screens, Durant is larger and covers more ground with recovery rather than anticipation.
Don’t be surprised if the Suns’ defense is shaky early on as the team adapts to communication with Durant on the floor. The rest of the team, however, is comfortable with each other which will ease things.
LaMelo Ball is out for the season with a fractured ankle. PJ Washington is doubtful for this game with a foot strain, and Cody Martin is out as well.
The Hornets have every reason to transition to focusing on the draft, so of course they’ve won four straight since the All-Star Break to remove them from top-three contention in the lottery.
One thing to note is that while the Hornets are a mess overall, their transition defense stands out as a strength. Not allowing the Suns to get easy buckets while they figure out their half-court offense with Durant might give them a chance.
The Hornets have gotten good minutes from rookie Mark Williams as of late, and Terry Rozier remains an underrated point guard (who Charlotte probably should have traded at the deadline).
There’s talent on this team even without LaMelo. Gordon Hayward in particular has been excellent as of late.
The Suns are under immense pressure, the Hornets have nothing to lose. That combination is always good in a regular season game, and the Suns are laying 10.
Based on full-season numbers with a 3.5 point adjustment for Phoenix adding Durant (and factoring their improvement from the January lull when they were without Booker and CP3), I made this 8.4. I just can’t stretch things far enough to say Phoenix has value on the road.
They’re under more pressure while the Hornets get to play free. I’ll grab the points with the Hornets while the Suns figure things out.
Additionally, I lean toward a Hornets team total over while the Suns get used to a reshaped roster defensively.
So, in addition to a lean on over 228 tonight, I’m taking the Charlotte spread.
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