TheRX’s Top 3 NBA Picks for the Weekend

Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets New Orleans Pelicans
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP.

We’re already getting ready for the weekend. Here are three NBA picks to consider for the slate on Friday, January 6.

Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Friday, January 6, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at Smoothie King Center

Last Time They Met

Earlier this year, the New Orleans Pelicans dominated the Brooklyn Nets, earning a 130-108 win on the road. That was back in October. Both teams have been entirely on a tear since then.

Teams Analysis

The Nets just lost their 12-game winning streak after losing to Chicago last night. Meanwhile, the Pelicans have won three of their last five games and are coming off a win over Houston, 119-108.

The Pelicans don’t have Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson available heading into this game. But they’re still projected to win, at home, over the Nets.

Solid Defense and Effective Offense

The Nets have scored 116.9 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 59%. However, the Nets are weak on the offensive glass and don’t catch the foul line at a high rate.

The Nets rely on their shot quality to score buckets. However, the Pelicans have allowed teams to score just 111.4 points per 100 possessions. They’ve also been great on the defensive glass, holding it down and allowing just 25.6% of offensive rebounds. New Orleans also adds 15.4% of turnovers per game, which is 7th in the NBA.

On the other hand, the Pelicans are scoring 116.3 points per 100 possessions. They’ve also shot a 55% effective field goal percentage. On top of that, New Orleans should have more success on the offensive glass and earn more foul-shot attempts in this game.

The Nets have limited opponents to a 52.2% effective field goal percentage. They’ll have that going for them in this game. But the second chances and freebies that the Pelicans will pick up at home should do the trick.

NBA Pick: Under (Odds TBD)

Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Friday, January 6, 2023 – 08:00 PM EST at Paycorn Center

Teams Analysis

Right off the bat, the Oklahoma City Thunder have struggled on the defensive glass. Teams are earning 29.7% of offensive rebounds against the Thunder this season.

Therefore, I expect Washington to earn a higher rate of offensive rebounds. Add that together with the fact that the Wizards are shooting a 54.6% effective field goal percentage, and there’s a good chance that the Wizards score at a high rate in this game.

Washington won’t get to the foul line at a high rate, but the Thunder foul enough to keep Washington on the charity stripe enough.

The Thunder are only good for earning turnovers on the defensive end. But Washington has limited turnovers to 14% this season.

On the other hand, Oklahoma City is scoring 111.9 points per 100 possessions. That’s only 23rd in the NBA. The Thunder are also shooting a poor effective field goal percentage of 52.7%, which should stay that way against Washington’s defense.

The Wizards are allowing a 52.9% effective field goal percentage. The only area where the Wizards struggle defensively is earning turnovers. But they’re top-ten in defensive rebounding and defensive free throw rate.

Only One Team Will Shine

It takes two teams to tango and hit the Over. The Thunder had had their moments offensively, significantly when they dropped 150 on the Celtics, but Washington allowed 111 points or fewer in each of their last four wins.

The Wizards can defend. Take the Under at the best sportsbooks.

NBA Pick: Under (Odds TBD)

Detroit Pistons vs. San Antonio Spurs

Friday, January 6, 2023 – 08:00 PM EST at AT&T Center

Who wants the highest lottery percentage in this year’s draft? We’ll find out.

Teams Analysis

The Pistons are just 11-30, while the Spurs are sitting at 12-26 on the season. The Pistons only score 111.6 points per 100 possessions while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 52.2%.

But if you thought that was bad, check the Spurs’ defense. San Antonio has scored 120.5 points per 100 possessions while allowing an effective field goal percentage of 57.9%.

The Pistons have earned 28.5% of offensive rebounds, while the Spurs have allowed teams to earn 29.2% of offensive rebounds. Detroit should be able to earn a high rate of offensive rebounds and second chances in this game. The Pistons also have the highest free throw rate in the NBA on offense.

Meanwhile, the Pistons rank 29th in points per 100 possessions on the defensive end, giving up 118.9 points per 100 possessions.

Horrible Defenses

Detroit’s defense is probably worse than San Antonio’s. The Pistons foul at a high rate and could give many second-chance opportunities.

But the most significant thing here is that both teams are dreadful on the defensive end. NBA players can score whenever. Just take the Over.

NBA Pick: Over (Odds TBD)