NBA King of the Hill Tournament Busts Picks: Will Jaren Jackson Jr. Be Overmatched In a 1-on-1 Format?
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Here at The Action Network, we are on a mission to determine the best 1-on-1 player in the NBA. To do this, yesterday we released a 64-player bracket for this tournament, and starting Saturday, we’ll be simulating every 1-on-1 matchup in NBA 2K20.
But, of course, we couldn’t just leave it there. We’re a sports betting company, so we wanted to release our own betting odds on this tournament.
Even among the best 64 1-on-1 players in the NBA, there will be some overrated guys in the bunch. Our panelists — Rob Perez, Matt Moore, Byran Mears and Justin Phan — list their players to avoid in our King of the Hill tourney.
Rob Perez: Stephen Curry
- Odds to win the tournament: +15000
- Odds to win the Harden region: +2400
- Round 1 on Sat., April 4: Curry is -4.5 vs. Lou Williams, ML odds are -450
I say this knowing the Steph mob will throw a week’s worth of fruit at me as I stand and preach on the stage, but this format and this region is just a match-up nightmare for him.
Steph is the greatest shooter of all-time, has some of the smoothest handles I’ve ever seen, and an impressive layup package built on finesse … but again, this is 1-on-1.
He’s going to have to burn the nets from 3-point land to win a single match up after Lou Williams, which he’s certainly capable of doing. But what happens when he’s not on fire and has to guard a dude in the post twice his size? We’ve seen what happens in real NBA games when this happens, hell, star players will even go switch-hunting for him in the half court, and in 1-on-1 — there is nowhere to hide.
I fear he will relent to the complexity of the system, and will be the first big name to fall early.
Matt Moore: Jaren Jackson Jr.
- Odds to win the tournament: +21500
- Odds to win the Harden region: +12500
- Round 1 on Sat., April 4: JJJ is +3.5 vs. Jimmy Butler, ML odds are +290
He’s going up against Jimmy Buckets in Round 1 and then he’ll be going home. He should not be in this tournament. I think 3J is going to wind up as one of the best players in the league on a fun-as-hell Grizzlies team over the next 10 years. But he needs both natural human growth as his chest widens, and another two years in a professional weight training program.
He’ll get to where he needs to be, but his handle is suspect, he has no go-to moves, and he doesn’t have the strength to dominate inside the way folks are predicting. He can’t get to his 3-point shot off the dribble and he doesn’t have a steady diet of post moves. He’ll see a quick exit here.
Justin Phan: Caris Levert
- Odds to win the tournament: +30000
- Odds to win the Giannis region: +20000
- Round 1 on Mon., March 30: LeVert is PK vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, ML odds are +100
LeVert losing to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of three first-round upsets I have in my bracket.
While we’ve seen LeVert’s scoring prowess (his 51-point performance vs. the Celtics comes to mind), efficiency continues to be a major issue. He ranked in the 29th percentile relative to his position in effective field goal percentage last season and ranks in just the 25th percentile this season. He’s even less efficient as an isolation scorer (18th percentile).
Given that this will be settled on NBA2K, we inevitably have to take ratings into account, and SGA (84) has a marked advantage over LeVert (80).