Well, it has certainly been a crazy early NBA season right?
While there have been things that we as fans thought would stay status-quo early on, there has been some revelations and surprises to say the least. Some players and teams have taken a leap even when we didn’t think it was possible, while others have disappointed.
I am here to just mention who I believe are some of those aforementioned players and teams along with who deserves recognition for the seasons-end awards.
10. The Phoenix Suns have been one of the more fun teams to watch on a game-by-game basis
Who knew adding a more-than-capable point guard in Ricky Rubio to play along burgeoning star Devin Booker would make this team a real contender to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. The Suns have had to endure the 25-game suspension for starter Deandre Ayton as well as injuries to some key players (Rubio, Aron Baynes) early in the NBA season yet first-year coach Monty Williams has kept this team afloat. While it’s still early, Booker is shooting over 50 percent from the field (51.2) and over 40 percent from 3-point range (41.5) for the first time his career and Kelly Oubre Jr continues to blossom. Watch out for this team.
9. My Wizards are bad, but actually fun to watch
Look, I know we suck – and that is ok – but at least the team is damn competitive. TV ratings are down a whopping 57% from 2018-19 (we miss you Steve Buckhantz), unfortunately people are missing out on a product that is downright exciting – if you like this new-era free flowing style of basketball. “The Tank” is in full gear but while the team is indeed taking, there have been a couple of revelations on the roster (Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, Mo Wagner) that you can envision still making winning contributions when this team becomes competitive again.
8. PJ Washington and Tyler Herro – The two Kentucky rookies doing the damn thing in the Southeast Division
The 2019 Draft was thought to be a pretty weak one. Yet, two kids from the John Calipari Factory in Lexington, Kentucky who were thought to be overrated and picked too high in a weak-ass draft have proved everyone wrong so far in their rookie campaigns. Washington is averaging 12 PPG on 49% shooting and 5 boards as a young centerpiece for the Charlotte Hornets and Herro has become a cult hero in Miami as a damn sniper averaging 14 PPG on 39% from 3.
7. Toronto is still really damn good
In case you forgot, the NBA title right now resides in Canada with the Toronto Raptors. Yes, losing Kawhi Leonard was a dagger but the rise of Pascal Siakum from Most Improved to MVP-caliber and guys like Fred Van Fleet and Norman Powell continuing to raise their individual games. Nick Nurse has stamped his name as one of the top level coaches in the sport as well.
6. Luka Doncic may not be THE MVP today, but he’s playing like a First Teamer….yet having said that….
Honestly, what more can you say about the kid? Under the 20-year old’s leadership, the Mavs are firmly in playoff position and NOBODY could see that coming before the season started. In just his second season, he is already a pick-and-roll savant averaging 9.2 assists per. His stepback game is almost Harden-esque. 30 PPG….9.8 rebounds per….its just amazing to watch.
5. ….Trae Young isn’t a bust as people wanted to proclaim this time last season.
Unfortunately for Trae, he will forever be linked with Doncic because of the draft day swap that sent Luka to Dallas and Young to Atlanta. I don’t think the Hawks are disappointed in the least. On a still-developing roster, they have their centerpiece on the perimeter with Young. 28 pts and 8 assists per on 39% from three-point range is nothing to sneeze at. His first All-Star game appearance awaits this February.
4. The Greek Freak is still improving…and is this year’s MVP so far.
The defending Most Valuable Player is still a work-in-progress. That process is making it difficult to see any version of Giannis Antetokounmpo that can be stopped or even slowed down. This man is has IMPROVED on his MVP-numbers of last season with a 31 PPG 13 boards while continuing his defensive mastery. Going into the season, after losing some key players such as Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks haven’t missed a beat with the best record in the East.
3. There are at least six or seven teams with real championship dreams.
The Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Rockets, Bucks, Raptors, Sixers and possibly Utah can all make deep runs in the playoffs as currently constructed. This trade deadline should be amazing. A team like Boston could make a move or two and be included on that list of title contenders as well.
2. My NBA Award winners so far are as followed:
MVP – Greek Freak
Rookie of the Year – Ja Morant, Memphis
Defensive POY – Anthony Davis, Lakers
Sixth Man of the Year – Montrezl Harrell, Clippers
Coach of the Year – Monty Williams, Phoenix
Most Improved – Brandon Ingram, Pelicans
LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Giannis, James Harden and Anthony Davis round out my All-NBA First Team.
1. The Lakers are the best team in the sport right now.
They aren’t a perfect team – especially in this pace and space era, still missing a shooter IMHO) but goddamn these bammas are looking great. LeBron James heard a lot of crap last season and rightly so. When you are an all-timer such as LeBron is, it has to be difficult to go to a franchise that honestly doesn’t care about your previous exploits, you have to do it in their uniform. Currently, he is doing the dammy in that Lakers “purple and gold”. Yet, none of this would be possible without the exploits of possibly the best player in the league currently, Anthony Davis. Davis is everything Laker fans should have expected and much more. He has the full bag offensively at seven-feet tall and is the best defender playing a non-load management schedule.
Man, I hate them.