Three weeks in, about 9 or 10 games played for each team, and things are beginning to shake out. There are still a few surprise teams, both for the positive and negative, but for the most part teams are looking as they should. Still tons to digest, and lots to like/dislike!
1) 5 players averaging over 30 points per game
The scoring outbursts early into the season have been phenomenal, and there’s no reason to think they’ll drop off drastically any time soon. DeMar DeRozan is leading the league at 34 PPG, all while only making 0.3 3-pointers per game. Russell Westbrook (32.0), Damian Lillard (30.7), Anthony Davis (30.5), and James Harden (30.3) round out the top 5. To put things in perspective, we have to go back to the 2005-2006 season to see three players finish the season at over 30 PPG; Kobe Bryant (35.4), Allen Iverson (33.0), and LeBron James (31.4). By season’s end some of these guys should end up just below that 30 point threshold, but for now this is making for some amazing scoring displays.
2) The Klay Thompson trade rumours
Oh man, the White Mamba is one of the most fun players of all time, but he really needs to get a clue. Brian Scalabrine found out about this “potential trade” on a website that also claimed the world was going to end during the Super Moon cycle. Golden State is the most feared team in the league, there’s no reason to suspect they would mess with their locker room by moving one of their best guys, and this was just a dumb story that somehow stuck in the media for the past couple of days. Let’s move on.
3) Toronto should re-brand themselves full-time as the Huskies
Okay, I’m not being totally serious, but wow how nice are those Husky alternate uniforms? Along with the court, and the atmosphere that game was played in, it felt like I was watching an intense college basketball game. The Raptors look great, both of their brands are great, DeRozan is shooting the lights out, everything looks great for the 6ix.
4) Lineup with the best net rating is the Lakers bench
Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance, and Tarik Black. When I see that lineup, I see a future stud, a couple good young guys, a “veteran” Monta Ellis-lite, and Tarik Black. But this lineup is absolutely killing it, they are currently holding a +28.1 net rating (they outscore opponents by 28.1 points when on the floor together). Throw Nick Young’s resurgence and D’Angelo Russell’s breakthrough, it might almost be time to declare the return of Showtime in L.A.
5) Rudy Gay is playing for a trade
42% from 3-point land, 49% from the field, 22.3 points per game, and he’s mastered hiding how much he hates it in Sacramento. It appears like Gay has finally matured and is trying to show that he can be an incredibly valuable player on another team. If only Oklahoma City had the trade pieces to nab him.
6) Stephen Curry hits record 13 3-pointers
This happened exactly a week ago, a couple of hours after I posted my last Weekly Dimes post, but this was inevitable. Steph is the best shooter the league has ever seen, and I’m honestly surprised it took him this long to hit 13 3’s in a game. I would be willing to bet a lot that he’ll beat this record again within the next couple of years.
7) Thabo Sefolosha bouncing back from incident with police
It seems like ages ago that Sefolosha’s leg was broken in an incident with police outside of a Manhattan nightclub, but he’s back now and looks better than ever. He’s shooting over 50% from the field, and is playing great minutes for arguable the second best team in the East; the Atlanta Hawks. Great to see someone bounce back so well from such a horrifying incident.
8) Point Harden seems legit
James Harden, a shooting guard by definition, is leading the league in assists with 13 per game. These numbers looked ludicrous off the bat, but he’s maintained consistency throughout the Rockets first 10 games. I doubt they’ll stay this high all season long, but it wouldn’t be a bad bet to think he’ll end the year averaging double digit assists.
9) Brandon Knight not adjusting to a bench role
I expected Brandon Knight to be one of the best 6th men in the entire league, he has the tools to run an offence, and if he’s doing it against other bench mobs he should dominate, right? But he’s scoring 4 points less per game than his career average, shooting a dismal 24% from the arc, and now he’s already being linked to the Brooklyn Nets in a trade. Knight is an awesome point guard, and he probably could start for a lot of teams in the league, he may just need a new situation. Maybe Milwaukee could give Phoenix a call and say, “Hey, so we messed up a couple years ago, can we have our Knight in shining armour back?”
10) The NBA players and coaches respond to President Elect Donald Trump
Had to finish off with this story, the NBA as a league has become the progressive leader in all sports; first openly gay player in a major sports a few years back, superstars speaking out on police violence, along with many other issues. It was clear that Trump winning the election would stir up some interesting thoughts and emotions within the league, and some people didn’t mince their words. Stan Van Gundy has come out and said that Trump is “brazenly racist”, Gregg Popovich is sick to his stomach, and LeBron danced around the question regarding whether or not he would visit the White House if he won another championship within the next four years. That definitely isn’t the most interesting part of the Trump presidency, but it is definitely a storyline to follow come the end of the Playoffs in the four major sports.