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Betting against an opponent's future is the NBA's market inefficiency

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Is Giannis under the most pressure to win a title this year? (2:24)

Stephen A. Smith sounds off on why James Harden and Kawhi Leonard are under more pressure to win a title this season than Giannis Antetokounmpo. (2:24)

A DECADE AGO, NBA teams searching for an edge embraced new philosophies that injected the game with analytics. That pursuit is carrying on with an advancing new trend among forward-looking franchises.

Last season, when the Golden State Warriors -- owned by Joe Lacob, a partner at one of the nation's preeminent venture capital firms -- traded D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the deal was rather nakedly structured around betting against the Wolves' future.

The primary assets coming back: the Wolves' first- and second-round picks in the 2021 NBA draft. The Warriors are wagering that the first-rounder would not only be in the lottery of a draft projected to be deep with talent -- Minnesota has missed the playoffs in 15 of the past 16 years -- but that sending Russell would not change that direction.