Stakes Content Team


Can’t think of many teams in recent memory that have been more of a trip than the 22-23 Nets. One minute they’re without their stars and starting in the basement of the East, the next, they’ve won ten straight and look like legit title contenders. Blink twice, though, and suddenly Mikal Bridges and Spencer Dinwiddie are the main attractions at Barclays. Life comes at you fast!


I doubt Phoenix was super upset about it, even though Bridges has looked like a star since becoming the centerpiece of the trade that sent KD to the desert. After a hot start to the year, injuries absolutely decimated the Suns and their record, and brought their championship odds lower than we’ve seen them since their 2020 breakout. You can see it in Stakes, too: Stakers went from favoring the Suns upwards of 60% of the time earlier the year, only for that to crumble to barely 30% by January.

Then Kevin Durant showed up. Bam! Suddenly the Stakers are a lot more friendly towards the 2021 Western Conference champs again. KD wasn’t acquire until the first week of February, and he didn’t actually see the court until early March. But in Stakes, the effect was immediate:

Things get pretty interesting when you get down into the weeds.


On February 14th, just a few days after acquiring Durant (and significantly weakening some other parts of their squad in the process), Phoenix lined up against Sacramento, then the second seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix was favored by just two points over the Kings, but over 76% of Stakers rolled with them anyway — and were rewarded with a 120-109 victory!


KD wouldn’t play a game in the Valley for a few more weeks, but when he finally did on March 1st against Charlotte, the picks were even more lopsided: 80% of Stakers went with Phoenix. And after Durant and Booker meshed beautifully in that victory, the frenzy hit a fever pitch with more than 88% (!!!) rolling with the Suns against the Bulls a few days later.



Since an injured ankle threw the rest of his regular season into doubt, however, the “Stakes sentiment” has steadily dropped, now that the initial excitement has passed. It was down when Phoenix faced Sacramento again on March 11th, again with no KD; it got lower again when they saw the Warriors them on March 13th, and when they went to visit Milwaukee the next day, support on Stakes totally bottomed out:



The playoffs are just around the corner, so it’ll be interesting to see how you Stakers feel over time. A healthy KD is a great way to give your team a shot at a championship, so we’ll be keeping our eyes open!




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