The NBA season is more than halfway done and All-Star Weekend in New Orleans is almost here. There have been many surprises so far and many unexpected young stars are shining.
The top teams have generally remained the same throughout the past three seasons; the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs. However, the Rockets have developed into a tough contender who could challenge Golden State and San Antonio. If there’s one team that could upset the Warriors before the NBA Finals, it would be Houston.
LeBron James and the Cavs have struggled in a few games this year but it is likely that they will still easily make the NBA Finals again. The Cavs seem as if they only want to play on certain nights and there has been many instances this season where they
seemed disinterested. LeBron and the Cavs may just be storing their energy for the postseason.
The Philadelphia 76ers have improved massively with Joel Embiid’s return and they have already surpassed their 2015-16 season win total. Embiid is probably the consensus top candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. Embiid is averaging 20.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 2.5 blocks per game, according to ESPN. Just “Trust the Process.”
James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder have been clashing for the coveted MVP trophy. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double but Harden is the crystal-clear choice for the award because he has been more efficient and the Rockets are a top three team in the ultra-competitive West whereas Westbrook’s Thunder sit at the seventh spot as of today.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), John Wall (Washington Wizards) and DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) have all improved massively compared to last season.
The Warriors have had their expected growing pains that usually come along with the typical NBA super-team. Kevin Durant has taken over as the best player on the team and has completely changed their team chemistry. The Warriors might have one of the deadliest starting lineups in NBA history but their bench is very weak and could be its Achilles heel come playoff time.
The New York Knicks dubbed themselves a “super team,” at the beginning of the season but now they are three games out of the the eighth seed in the East. The Knicks struggles can be attributed to signing multiple average veterans to massive contracts in July and turmoil within their front office. Carmelo Anthony needs to get out of the Big Apple as soon as possible.
The Utah Jazz have been very consistent and have exceeded all expectations in the West through the first half of the year. The Jazz are currently sitting at the fourth spot in the Western Conference. It seems like every team that Gordon Hayward plays on surpasses all expectations.
Right now is a golden age of talented players. The NBA will never see this level of efficiency displayed by a myriad of players again. There are more great players in the modern NBA than any other previous decade.
The Cavs and the Warriors seem like the top two teams again this year and they will probably play in the Finals for the third straight year.