As a former college basketball coach, I would always say… after 10 games you can really start seeing tendencies, strengths and weakness of any team. The same that can be said for the NBA. We are about 15 games into the 2016-17 season and the picture is starting to take place.
5 Things Trending in the NBA:
5) The Knicks are becoming Kristaps Porzingis team: The Knicks are 7-7 and their super talented, 21-year-old Forward/Center is averaging 21 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting 50% from the floor, 38% from three and 78% from the free throw line. He is one of the most skilled players in all of basketball and he is playing with a ton of confidence. The Knicks are not going to be a legitimate contender this season, so building the offense around Porzingis is the right thing to do. He should average about 15-20 shots per game and players like Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose should acquiesce to KP being the number 1 option. Great organizations do this all the time. The Spurs are a prime example of this. They want from Tim Duncan being the focal point to Tony Parker and now Kawhi Leonard. The best thing for New York would be to trade Melo and Rose at the trading deadline and build around youth and draft picks. The Golden State Warriors went to two straight finals with their core of drafted players (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green).
4) Luke Walton is bringing the Lakers Back: When LA hired Byron Scott two years ago, I wrote an article called, “Olympus has fallen.” In that story, I said that Scott would be fired within three years. After two years on the sidelined and a record of 38-126 the Lakers fired him. Luke Walton has done a masterful job so far of getting the most out of this young talented team. The team that was once called showtime is now 8-7. I don’t know if getting the 8th seed in the west is the best thing for thins team short-term or long-term but they will win at least 35 games. This was a great hire and Walton will get this team back in the playoffs within 2 years. If you are a Lakers fan, it is an exciting time right now.
3) The Timberwolves are underachieving so far: Minnesota is 4-9 under new coach Tom Thibodeau. This is absolutely shocking considering they have three very young, talented players in Andrew Wiggins (24.8 points per game, Karl-Anthony Towns (22.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game) and Zach LaVine( 18.4 points per game). I thought this was a good hire when the Timberwolves announced it, but my biggest concern was that Thibodeau is a defensive minded coach and these three players are offensive minded. It is going to take time for this core three to buy into what their coach is selling. In an offensive league, you have to be able to let players improvise and create on the fly. I don’t know if “Tibs” has that in his coaching repertoire
2) Does anyone believe in the Clippers? The top of the West is pretty damn good. The Clippers are 13-2, the Warriors are 12-2 and the Spurs are 11-3. But does anyone believe that the Clippers can get to the Western Conference Finals? I don’t. They are a very good team but they are not great. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin make up a dynamic duo but other than that they don’t have any player who they can count on as a 3rd option. As good as Jamal Crawford is, he only has a career average of 15.5 points per game. The Spurs and Warriors will battle to the very end for the best record. It is time for Gregg Popovich to start Patty Mills for the rest of the year and have Tony Parker come off the bench.
1) The Cavs are on cruise control: Cleveland has a record of 10-2 and they have virtually no competition in the East. There is not one team in their conference that can even challenge them for the best record. The Raptors, Hawks, and Celtics are years and players away from being a threat. Lebron James, without a ton of fanfare,is having one of his best seasons ever. He is averaging 23.2 points, 9.0 assists, and 8.4 rebounds per game. Kevin Love is a double/double machine averaging 20 points and 11 boards per game. Kyrie Irving continues to grow as a point guard and is leading the team in scoring with just over 24 points per game. The Cavs are the deepest and best shooting team in the NBA. The Cavs are 2nd in 3 pointers made at 12.8 per game (Houston is first 13.3) and 3rd in three-point Field goal percentage at 37%. The Lakers and Spurs lead the league in that category. The Cavs will not be challenged until they get to the NBA Finals. I fully expect James to get to his 7th straight NBA finals.
NBA Power Rankings:
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs
- LA Clippers
- Memphis Grizzlies
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