NBA 2012-13 Player Prop Favorites: Durant, Howard, Rondo
George Mikan, the NBA's first true big man and superstar, didn't do it. Neither did Neil Johnston. Bob McAdoo? George Gervin? Allen Iverson? Nope. What do those NBA legends have in common? They each won at least three scoring titles but never managed to put four together in row (Gervin and Iverson each won four overall but not consecutive).
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The only players to win at least four straight scoring titles are Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, arguably the two best basketball players in history, but Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant can join that exclusive club if he can top the NBA scoring list again this season. Back in 2009-10, Durant became the youngest scoring champion ever by averaging a career-high 30.1 points, 0.4 ahead of LeBron James. Durant, then 21, supplanted 22-year-old Max Zaslofsky of the 1947-48 Chicago Stags as the youngest scoring champ in NBA history.
And Durant hasn't looked back. In 2010-11, he won the title again by averaging 27.7 points per game, a full point ahead of No. 2 LeBron. And last year, it took until the final game of the regular season, but Durant won his third straight crown at 28.03 ppg, just ahead of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant (27.9) in the second-closest race in NBA history. Durant, who recently turned 24, is the youngest player to win three straight scoring titles as well as three titles overall.
The record for consecutive scoring titles is seven, held by both Jordan and Chamberlain, while MJ holds the career mark with 10 overall titles. For comparison, Jordan didn't win his third scoring title until he was 25, so Durant is ahead of the pace.
Durant is the 2/3 favorite at Bovada to make it a four-peat this season, but the book isn't overly exposed there because of the short odds. LeBron, who won his lone scoring title in 2007-08, is next at 2/1. James finished third in the league last season at 27.1 ppg, which was actually the third-lowest in his career. Kobe (13/2) and the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony round out the favorites (7/1).
Bryant won back-to-back titles starting in the 2005-06 season when he averaged a career-high 35.4 ppg. Anthony, who finished sixth at 22.6 ppg last season, has a career-high of 28.9 points per game, set in 2006-07 while with the Nuggets. The book is exposed on one long shot: Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge at 50/1. He averaged 21.7 ppg last year.
There has been some movement on the NBA's leading rebounder for the upcoming season. Minnesota's Kevin Love, the 2010-11 rebounding king, had been the 5/4 favorite. But Love is likely to miss at least the first month of the season due to a broken hand. He has thus dropped to the 5/2 second-favorite. The Lakers' Dwight Howard is now the 5/4 favorite. Howard won the rebounding title four times while with the Orlando Magic, including last season at 14.5 per game, 1.2 ahead of Love.
The last player other than Howard or Love to lead the league in rebounding was Kevin Garnett in 2006-07 while still with the Timberwolves. The Celtics' veteran is not an individual betting option this year but part of the "field" at 10/1. The book is taking solid action on the field (it opened at 35/1) as well as Brooklyn's Kris Humphries at 40/1. Humphries tied for fourth in the NBA last season in averaging 11.0 rpg.
Finally, on the 2012-13 assists leader the bettors are going chalk. Boston point guard Rajon Rondo averaged a career-high 11.7 assists last season to win his first title, a full assist per game more than runner-up Steve Nash. Rondo opened as the 2/1 favorite to repeat but has taken heavy action and is down to 2/3. Nash, who won five assists titles with the Suns, is the 9/2 third-favorite to win his first as a member of the Lakers. Brooklyn's Deron Williams, fifth in assists last year at 8.7, is the 4/1 second-favorite to win his first assists title.
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