We’re not even a quarter of the way into the NBA season yet and we’re already seeing the drama that seems to dominate the league. We are also seeing some great play and a few surprises along the way. Although there are some old faces among the top teams and players, we also have a few new ones as well.
In the East, the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks are off to a hot start. I think most of us expected the Raptors to be here, but the Bucks took a lot of us by surprise. The Greek Freak has led this team to an amazing start to the season. Right behind these 2 teams are the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid leads the Sixers on the floor and now he gets to play with newly acquired Jimmy Butler. Watch this team as we get further into the season. The Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic round out the top 8, although we have a long way to go before we talk about playoffs. At the bottom, it looks like the Bulls, Knicks, Hawks, and Cavs are already looking at who they want to draft.
The West, in no surprise at all, sees the Golden State Warriors at the top. Curry has missed a couple games, but the Warriors march on. A recent ‘lovers quarrel’ between Durant and Green may cause a little blip in team unity, but they will get through it just fine, in my opinion. The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers are right behind them for now. Both teams are playing very well to this point. To round out the top 8, we have The Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, and New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers seem to have hit their stride now with the chemistry building between LeBron and the rest of the team. Never count LeBron out. Ever. The Suns…………well, start looking at draft picks.
The scoring leaders are exactly what we expected, but with the addition of Joel Embiid in there. Curry and LeBron are at the top, then Embiid has snuck in at 3rd best. Harden and Durant are right behind him. Joel Embiid is becoming the player the Sixers hoped he would become. Andre Drummond (16.2) is crashing the boards better than anyone so far. Hassan Whiteside, he of the stolen assault rifle, is rebounding like monster each night too. Throw in 3.14 bocks per game and you have a stud in the paint. Kyle Lowry (10.5) leads the league in assists, but a healthy Westbrook should take over once he gets the games in. As far as steals go, I think Chris Paul steals balls in his sleep. He leads the league with 2.58 per game. This guy continues to be a ferocious defender.
In summary, I think most of us are waiting to see who loses to the Warriors. If they don’t fix their little spat between 2 of their best players, this may change. The West would be wide open if this dissension causes the team to falter. LeBron is sitting back licking his chops. The East is where you will more than likely see the most competitive basketball. That will be a fun Battle Royale the entire season. The NBA regular season has lost some flair over the years, but once we head into the playoffs, it’s going to be a wild ride. Enjoy it.