Today's top picks: Making sense of the post-trade deadline NBA landscape

If there's one lesson to be taken from every NBA trade deadline, it's not to overreact to the first few games a team plays with its new roster. Remember when the 2018 Cleveland Cavaliers roasted the Celtics and Thunder and looked like world-beaters? It should surprise no one to hear that George Hill and Jordan Clarkson did not, in fact, fix everything. 

Basketball is an extremely high-variance sport. It would be incredibly easy to look at a few games of data and assume that one player truly has changed a team's entire identity, but for the most part, the deadline exists to patch up holes, not replace an entire roster. Outside of a few specific circumstances, your feelings on a team shouldn't change much. That will be reflected in today's top picks. 

All lines via William Hill

Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers +1

The 76ers are 24-2 at home, and yet they are underdogs in this game. There are no immediate injury considerations at play barring a last-second surprise. What Vegas is saying with this line is that it believes the Clippers, 15-11 on the road, will be the better team in Philadelphia on Tuesday. That seems farfetched, especially given the matchup advantages Philadelphia has. Few teams have the perimeter size to match up with the Clippers, but in Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Matisse Thybulle and Al Horford on switches, the Sixers should be covered. 

San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder: Spurs +6.5

Oklahoma City is 20-5 against the spread on the road... but a far more pedestrian 15-13 at home. San Antonio, meanwhile, is far better against the spread on the road (13-12-1) than at home (9-17). Yes, their five-game losing streak is distressing, but this is a matchup that looks pretty favorable on paper. Oklahoma City plays small with Danilo Gallinari at power forward, which isn't exactly ideal against a team that employs LaMarcus Aldridge. He scored 39 points in their first matchup this season, and should be good for another strong outing in this one. 

Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets: Celtics +2.5

Don't try to make sense of Houston's raw results since trading Clint Capela and going small fulltime. Pay attention to the process. The Rockets have grabbed only 44.5 percent of total rebounds since acquiring Robert Covington. The Wizards are the NBA's worst team on the whole this season at 47.9 percent. Boston can play small too if necessary, but the Celtics don't sacrifice on the boards to do it. They have the NBA's 12th-best rebounding rate. A Houston 3-point explosion is always possible, but Boston can match up with Houston if necessary and still crush them on the boards. 

Sam Quinn joined CBS sports as a basketball writer in 2019. Prior to that, he wrote for 247Sports and Bleacher Report. He is a New York native and NYU graduate who also has roots in Florida and California. Full Bio

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