The NBA season is shaping up and we are figuring out what teams are. There are a lot of things we all missed like the Rockets being average, the Knicks being average and Portland is giving everyone who thought they’d be a bottom dweller the middle finger. However, the season is far from over and we have a million questions that will be answered as the season progresses such as; will the Warriors lose a game? Kidding, of course they will lose a game but how many is the question? Let’s kick off this weekly column.
Three Positive Plays
The Boston Celtics Are Really Good
This team is who I figured they would be, fighting for a 4-6 seed in the Eastern Conference with their ability to wear teams down because they are so deep. Other teams play a few guys 35+ minutes on a nightly basis in order to accomplish the most wins they can. The Celtics have 3 guys who play 30 minutes and 7 guys who log 24 or more minutes a game. They are 5th in pace, 4th in defensive efficiency, and 6th in points differential. Their ability to plug in someone else when a player is hurt or having a bad night is an asset that is often overlooked in the sport of basketball due to it being a superstar league. This team is doing it without a superstar. Outside of Isaiah Thomas, there are no other players scoring 20 points a game. Every player does have a respectable PER rating with the highest being Jared Sullinger (21.8) and lowest, out of the players who play constantly, is Avery Bradley (11.3) who struggled offensively to start the season. I don’t expect this group to stay together with trader Danny but right now you have a group of guys playing for each other and it’s beautiful to watch.
Paul George Is Back
Paul George is back and all is well in the basketball world. He is putting up his best stats of his career and has thrown himself into the MVP discussion. He’s 9th in scoring but what is more important is his career highs in rebounds and assists as well. Paul George struggled in October putting up pedestrian (for him) numbers with 17 points per game and the Pacers started 0-3. In November, Paul George is putting up 27.4 points per game along with 9.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. The Pacers record this month you ask? Oh, just a measly 6-1. The Pacers rely heavily on their star. They traded Hibbert and let David West walk in an effort to build around him. He had early complaints about having to play the four some but clearly their plan is working out.
Sacramento’s Successful Team Meeting
I was not in that players only meeting for the Kings after the locker room tirade from DeMarcus after the team losing six in a row but man so I feel like I would earn a large bonus at work, pay off my debt, land the girl of my dreams and win the lottery if I was. Since the butt kicking from the Spurs over a week ago, this is a new team that has come out playing hard. Rajon Rondo turned back into the walking triple double. DeMarcus Cousins earned player of the week and the Kings have been winning games. Kings Redditor r/dlitt has some nice graphics for the improvements from this meeting and it is really eye popping. They have won three straight games with impressive home wins against the Pistons and Raptors. They will head on the road for a five game road trip against a few Eastern Conference playoff teams. It will be interesting to watch if this magic will carry over into the road trip and possibly rest of the season.
Two Negative Plays
Kobe Bryant Man…
It hurts to even watch a Lakers game for me at this point. You never want to see your heroes die but it is becoming disgusting. It’s not good basketball. They are dead last in field goal percentage, yes even below the 76ers (barely). We all know Kobe has never seen a shot he didn’t like but when you take over 16 shots a game and barely make five, it’s usually time to stop shooting. What’s even more troubling is his assists per game which are the lowest in over 10 years. This is not the way a great player should go out. It’s a shame that the franchise can’t convince the legend to adjust his game and help his teammates improved. No one is learning anything watching a guy with the miles he has on his legs trying to shoot his team to victory every night.
It’s actually an embarrassment to the league in my opinion. First team in franchise history to start back to back seasons 0-11. The Warriors have won 11 straight games and the 76ers only have 11 wins in their last four seasons through 11 games each year. Confusion right? Yes. Even more confusion how anyone can even praise this general manager and franchise at this point. Many are acting like this plan works or is working yet they are a laughing stock of the league. As Gregg Popovich recently said, he’d last a month as the coach of this god forsaken team.
This rookie class has been a true pleasure to watch and we’ve only played 3 weeks into the season. Between the two big men (Jahlil and KAT), the speedster in Denver (Mudiay) and the explosive players (Kristaps, Winslow) this rookie class is looking like it could be the best one in recent past. We haven’t even touched on players like D’Angelo Russell (who isn’t getting the opportunity to run an offense, see above) and players who haven’t been able to break the rotations like Mario Hezonja, Bobby Portis, Nikola Jokic and more. Here are the currently rookie leaders:
Triple Double Watch
Well…Rajon Rondo has three triple doubles this season. Holy cow. And everyone said he was washed up, couldn’t play in the modern fast pace style and screwed him self. Looks like someone may give him a max deal after this one year deal expires at this rate.
Since last week both Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook put up two triple doubles and we get to welcome Draymond Green as well.
(Note: this was completed on 11.16, I missed Brandon Knight’s triple double, we will honor him next week)