It’s almost that time for teams to hit the panic button. The Rockets did it last week by relieving Kevin McHale of his coaching duties after a dismal 4-7 start of the season. What’s the old phrase? “You can’t fire a whole team so you fire the coach.” The Rockets weren’t playing for him anymore, the move had to be done. Now it will be up to the front office to see if they can find someone to motivate this current group because they are getting beat by effort most nights. And with that, let’s jump the weekly column.
Three Positive Plays
Steph Curry and the Warriors
Talk about a tale of two cities. One on hand we have the runner up MVP in James Harden having an awful year so far and the other we have the best and most exciting player in the league currently, reigning MVP, Steph Curry. But don’t take my word; here are some of the many articles being written about basketball’s lord and savior:
Did I mention they have won 15 in a row to start the season? Did I even need to inform you about that?
I have always been hyper critical of Carmelo Anthony, gone as far as calling him a loser. To be honest, it has more to do with my expectations of him compared to what he’s been able to accomplish. This season it’s different for Carmelo, who finally seems to trust his teammates since coming to New York. He is playing with more veterans (Calderon, Afflalo) and a hot young star (Kristaps Porzingis) and seems to be enjoying the game of basketball again. He is passing out of double teams and has the most assists per game as a Knick. Best of all? The Knicks are winning because of it. Phil put some pieces that compliment Carmelo and the triangle and we are starting to see the potential of this team. Many predicted they would be fighting for that 4th place within the Atlantic Division, myself included. More importantly is Carmelo’s passing has become contagious as this Knicks team is often making the extra pass. They may not be title contenders but this Knicks team so far is a heck of a lot better than I was expecting.
Dallas Isn’t Dead Yet
Another team that many wrote off to start the season, the Dallas Mavericks are currently 9-5 and looking like a strong playoff team. This is pretty impressive for the second oldest team in the league (only behind the Spurs, the only team over 30 average age). Dirk has having a throw back year so far putting up 18pts, 6.4 rebs while shooting 53.9% fg and 53.3% 3pt. Dirk is shooting less than normal and even in his PER 36 minutes stats he is taking one less shot while shooting better across the board. Point is, he is playing his most efficient basketball of his career… in his 17th season playing just under 30 minutes a game. They started off 2-3 with some tough losses against the Clippers badly and the Hornets. They then rattled off 6 wins in a row before loading a nail biter in Oklahoma City. This Mavericks team is not dead yet and it’s thanks to their future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki.
Two Negative Plays
The Clippers Aren’t Good
I have fallen into this luck of connecting the dots in between my topics on this post. Another tale between two… ah you know, the Mavericks are sitting pretty at 9-5 while the Clippers are playing under .500 basketball. Things aren’t going well in Hollywood as this group of prima donnas are melting down in front of us. They are constantly complaining about officiating and letting it affect their game. They are now fighting in the locker room and Austin Rivers is still getting too many minutes. This team was constructed by big names. Most of the players on their bench are house hold names in the NBA world (sorry Austin, not you) but it doesn’t construct well for a team. The Clippers are missing a decent back up point guard, someone who can facilitate. DeAndre Jordan is essentially useless late in games and they haven’t figured out a solid small ball line up. Doc Rivers has his hands full and is responsible for some of this blame. The season is still young and hopefully they can turn this around.
I am all for this hashtag, #SaveJahlil. I have been against this re-building method the 76ers are pulling for a while and this is one of the main reasons. You have this great young talent wasting away playing with a bunch of d-leaguers who are fighting to play another day in the NBA. Jahlil doesn’t have any veterans or support that a winning team or franchise will have. Instead, he has to just play basketball and not have fun doing it. This GIF says it all: https://streamable.com/9fix
It’s Kristaps world and we are just living in it. Also, #SaveJahlil and KAT 4 ROY. Here are your stats for the kids.
Triple Double Watch
As I mentioned in an editor’s note, I missed Brandon Knight’s triple double the (k)night I was writing last week’s column so here is your due. Along with Brandon Knight, we welcome Hassan Whiteside (with his remarkable 10 block triple double) and Marc Gasol. Also with some unsurprising news, Rajon Rondo had another (his fourth) triple double of the season. I think we can expect him to make it every week at this point right?
Play of the Week
This week we are doing things a little different. Instead of a play of the week, we are going to give you Kristaps Porzingis game against the Rockets.