- James Harden blockbuster trade lands Caris LeVert on the Pacers
- Pacers’ NBA Championship odds shrink significantly to +4900
- See below for our analysis and if this makes the Pacers a worthy wager
Welcome to the National Blockbuster Association.
James Harden is now in Brooklyn, in a 4-team mega deal that’s going to send ripple effects around the NBA for now and the future. While the Beard was the big fish, the undercard of movement included Caris LeVert moving to Indiana, replacing Victor Oladipo, who ended up on the Rockets.
Suddenly, the Pacers have swapped out a player that appeared to want out of Indy, for a guy who could be more than equipped to step into that role. Oddsmakers definitely took notice when reshaping the NBA Championship odds.
2021 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+230|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5500|
Odds from FanDuel on January 13
Earlier today, you would have found the Pacers’ title odds at +12000. Now, they’ve shot into the top half of the league, at a speedy-shortened +4900 figure. Let’s see if this budding star is ready for prime time.
FULL TRADE DETAILS, per @ShamsCharania
◻️ James Harden
◻️ 3 BKN first-rounders
◻️ 1 MIL first
◻️ 4 BKN 1st-round swaps
◻️ Caris LeVert
◻️ Jarrett Allen
◻️ Taurean Prince pic.twitter.com/esGgmHULmI
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 13, 2021
Can LeVert Rise To Stardom?
It’s taken a while, but the player Indianapolis drafted 20th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft will finally suit up for the Pacers. He was dealt immediately in 2016 to the Nets for Thaddeus Young, but he’s re-appeared on Indy’s radar as he’s blossomed into a legit NBA talent.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 13, 2021
LeVert has upped his scoring average in every season from an 8.2 point per game as a rookie, to last year, his fourth season, when he averaged 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists for a Brooklyn team that overachieved while injured stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant watched from the sideline.
He solidified his status as young stud during last year’s restart, earning second-team all-bubble honors as he averaged 25 points, 6.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals on a decimated Nets squad.
Caris LeVert goes for 40 points in Brooklyn's 110-105 loss to Memphis
— SNY (@SNYtv) January 9, 2021
He was adjusting to a sixth man role with Irving and Durant pushing him down the hierarchy, but LeVert put together his best four-game stretch of the year as Irving has gone AWOL from the team. Stepping into a larger role, he’s averaged 26.5 points, 7.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field and 44% from three.
That included a spectacular 43-point performance in a loss to Memphis, where he hit seven threes and added six assists and five rebounds.
Are The Pacers A Good Fit?
Hoping LeVert transforms into an all-star level player is a gamble worth making for Indiana. The Pacers need that go-to star to take them to the next level. Oladipo was en route, but a lengthy thigh injury forced the Pacers to pivot.
Domantas Sabonis is thriving this year. So much untapped skill finally being utilized pic.twitter.com/6ZVmlto27L
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) January 8, 2021
They’re constructed with an exceptional core of really good players. It starts with all-star big man Domantas Sabonis, who’s second on the team in scoring at 21.8 points a game and a team leading 12.5 boards.
He’s flanked by leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon, putting a up a team-leading 22.5 points and 7.5 assists while shooting a blistering 45.3% from deep. TJ Warren – who’s been dealing with injuries — Myles Turner and Doug McDermott are all scoring in double figures.
Malcolm Brogdon vs the Rockets
35 PTS (Career High)‼️
The Pacers won 114-107!
— Hoos In The NBA (@hoosinthenba) January 7, 2021
Brogdon and Sabonis are the offensive hub, but head coach Nate Bjorkgren should be able to find a way to incorporate LeVert. They’re already scoring at the league’s seventh-best number, and are fourth in the NBA in shooting at 48.8%.
Perhaps Bjorkgren can go back to his Raptors days, when a backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet coexisted and thrived. LeVert doesn’t need to be the closer, but the important thing is that he can be. That’s a weapon the Pacers didn’t have before Wednesday.
What’s The Best Bet?
The Pacers are a good squad, and if everything goes right, they could be considered a contender. But stars rule this league, and their role in this trade may have improved them, but also moved James freaking Harden onto a team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
Only injuries can derail the Nets, and that’s essentially what your angle is if you have a title bet on the Pacers — or any other team in the East not named Brooklyn.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.