As we approach the NBA All-Star break, things around the league are starting to take shape. We are starting to see who the contenders will be in the coming playoffs, and races for postseason spots are heating up. We are also starting to get an idea of which players are the favorites to take home individual awards, and there are some close and intense races happening in that regard.
NBA Odds: Monk & Hardaway Jr. Are Close Favorites
Malik Monk today vs the Thunder:
— KingsMuse (@kings_muse) February 11, 2024
At the moment, Nikola Jokić has a somewhat commanding lead on the odds board for MVP, sitting at -160 with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back at +275. Mark Daigneault is the favorite to win Coach of the Year for his work with the Thunder, but Timberwolves coach Chris Finch isn’t far behind.
But the closest race at the moment is in the 6th Man of the Year category.
It is currently a two-man competition. Tim Hardaway Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks is the odds-on leader at the moment, coming in at +140 to take home the award. He is averaging 17.7 points per game off of the bench, and is the team’s third leading scorer despite not being a starter.
Malik Monk of the Sacramento Kings couldn’t be much closer when it comes to the odds. He is currently holding a +150 designation (via BetOnline) to be named the NBA 6MOY, averaging 15.2 points per contest, and is often one of the go-to scorers on his team, hitting a handful of big shots already this season.
Should Monk Be The One Listed With Shorter Odds?
Malik Monk taking flight in the win vs the Nuggets!
23 PTS (9/13 FG) in 20 MINS pic.twitter.com/3CEJFpXuer
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 10, 2024
What separates the two? It can be argued that Monk should be the one who is listed as the favorite. He does average 2.5 points fewer per game, but also plays 4.4 fewer minutes. Hardaway Jr. has actually started 10 of his team’s first 50 games, while Monk has come off the bench in every contest. Monk dishes out 5.3 assists per game while Hardaway averages 1.7, and his shooting percentages are better while committing far fewer turnovers.
To boot, the Kings have been higher in the Western Conference standings than the Mavericks for much of the season, though the gap is now down to just a half-game.
Barring any injuries that could derail the race (like Joel Embiid’s chase for MVP), the competition for the 6th Man of the Year award should come down to the final weeks and days of the regular season. The top five is rounded out by Normal Powell (+800), Caris LeVert (+1000), and Jordan Clarkson (+1600).