It’s just one week but that doesn’t mean we can’t make conclusions about the NBA season already! Here are a few to look forward to throughout the year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will miss the playoffs.
I think we all assumed at one point that the Timberwolves would collectively put it all together to become one of the best young sides not only in the Western conference but in the league. So why then are we still waiting to see a glimpse of this two-way team to take over the West.
Through 5 games this season with a 2-3 record, the Wolves are 30th, dead last, in defensive rating and 14th on the offensive side of the ball. They are allowing the highest field goal percentage and assist average in the league while losing their last two games against fringe playoff teams Indiana and Detroit by a combined 44 points. So when are we going to see this playoff contender that the town of Minnesota so desperately wants.
As highly rated as Tom Thibodeau is, the evidence that he is currently some kind of defensive mastermind just isn’t there. Is it impossible to think that a once generational talent before injury Derrick Rose and DOPY contender Joakim Noah made Thibodeau look better than he was? Because with a athletic, young team full of talent but an astounding lack of effort on the defensive end of the court, Thibodeau can’t seem to move them in the right direction.
Ben Simmons is the next superstar.
In just 5 games Ben Simmons has shown everyone what made him last year’s number one pick and why he was touted as the next real superstar. After a rocky season at LSU where the team didn’t even make the NCAA tournament, Simmons was criticised for what seemed like a lack of effort throughout the season especially in big games.
Averaging 16.5/10/7.5 through 5 games, Simmons has looked completely at home on an NBA court leading his team to some really promising results despite being 1-4. Without the game against Toronto, a game which Joel Embiid sat out, the 76ers have lost 3 games by a combined 16 points against the Celtics, Wizards and Rockets who will all be fighting for top playoff seeds.
With some easier games coming up Philly will be looking to near the .500 mark and set their season up for a shot at the playoffs.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the 2017/18 NBA MVP
There seems to be a couple of ways to win an MVP award. Have an absurd stat line such as Russell Westbrook last year or simply be the best player on the best team. Giannis is not going to have the flashy triple double stat line or be on the best team in the league, but I don’t think that will matter. There are probably 5 live hopes for MVP this year with Giannis being one of them (I’d put LeBron, Kawhi, Steph and maybe Blake if the clippers are good). If Giannis can have a 28/7/7-ish stat line, one that will most likely be shared by LeBron, it all comes down to the Bucks just winning games.
The current over/under for the Bucks is 48.5 wins, a number which I don’t think will be enough for Giannis. But I reckon they are going over. If they can be in the 50-53 win range and take one of the top 3 seeds in the East, very possible with the Hayward injury, then Giannis is a very live hope of taking home the MVP after winning Most Improved just last year. No one who has ever won the Most Improved award has also taken home an MVP. That might just change this year.
The Bulls may have a serious tanking partner.
Before the season started the number one team on everyone’s tanking radar was the Chicago Bulls, with good reason. But a new suitor has emerged as a possible worst team in the league. The New York Knicks.
Not only do the Knicks have some of the worst contracts in the NBA, looking at you Joakim Noah and Tim Hardaway, they have also been absolutely dreadful on the court. Currently the worst offensive team in the league putting up a measly 93.3 points per contest, while also allowing 108.7, the Knicks have shown that there won’t be much good coming from Madison Square Garden this year. We all know that this is Kristaps’ team going forward and that’s all well and good if you can get him to stay.
In year 3 now, Porzingis looks to be the only shining light on a team that is devoid of any substantial talent besides their Latvian youngster. With Melo and Rose moving on the ball is finding it’s way to Porzingis as it should’ve been last year. Unfortunately there is no one around him to help. Hardaway is shooting 24% from the field through 3 games whilst Enes Kanter is showing that he is a decent ball player going for 14 and 12 a night.
The Warriors will face the Cavaliers in the Finals. The four-peat?
This isn’t anything new or out there but it’s basically a certainty. Sure both teams have started out the season 3-2, the Cavs with losses to the Magic and the Nets while the Warriors have gone down to the Rockets and the Grizzlies. But here’s the thing; it doesn’t matter.
The Warriors are by far the most talented team in the league and without a ridiculous first game against the Rockets that they basically threw or the Grizzlies loss that was full of horrendous officiating both ways, we’d be even more scared of them.
And just as those games won’t figure into anything at the end of the year, nor will the Cavs losses to the Nets and Magic both on the second night of back-to-backs. The fact is that LeBron James, until he physically is unable, will take his team to the Finals. He has come back this season looking as good as ever and once they get a decent point guard back in the line-up with Rose coming back soon and Isaiah Thomas making his Cavs debut early next year hopefully, they will be an unstoppable force in the East.