*a 5-minute read*
If I would have told you at the beginning of October that Joe Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, and Brandon Knight would be playing in the NBA right now, would you think I was crazy? Would you call me a hopeless NBA fan? Well, what if I told you the term “health and safety protocols” suddenly became the key for people to revitalize their careers or get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show they belong in the NBA. We are truly living in a simulation.
A common part of the sports world includes creating fantasy teams where people bet a ridiculous amount of money for bragging rights and well, to make more money. In the case of the NBA, fantasy users across the world have had a treacherous time this season dealing with injured players, safety protocols, and postponed games.
While we have to understand these are unforeseen circumstances, players and fans can agree there is one word to call the NBA season so far — unpredictable.
As the year is coming to a close, I thought it would be best to journey around the Western and Eastern Conferences to see what’s going on and do a final check-in to end off the year, 2021. Spoiler alert — Jonas Valanciunas is the 3rd best 3-pt shooter this season. Yeah, you read that correctly.
Los Losers Lakers
I was excited to write about this team but I do have to say, it’s for the wrong reasons. We can nitpick all the problems within the Lakers roster but we’ll start with the good first ’cause you know, why not? (I hope most of you get this reference).
This is arguably one of Lebron’s top 5 stretches in his career all coming at the tender age of 37. Although this is impressive, it’s sad to see these performances are ending in losses the majority of the time for the Lakers.
LeGM himself is averaging 28 points, 7 rebounds and 6.8 assists a game and it’s a sight to behold of the four-time champion still dominating the competition today.
But those guys around him… bloody hell, the whole team needs some serious work. While we can point to the scapegoats of coaching in Frank Vogel, Anthony Davis not playing up to standard, and Russell Westbrook being… Russell Westbrook, we should have known the roster from the beginning was suspect and questionable.
The older age of the Lakers roster is a factor, but it’s the lack of effort from the players that’s more concerning. They just look like a team that doesn’t care.
Sure, they believe they can flip the switch once the playoffs come around but trust me, these guys are old (the average age on the team is 30 years old). They need all the reps they can get and enough time to build the right habits to make the offence and defence click.
Injuries have plagued the Lakers and there is enough time for things to turn around. But please don’t think a 37 year-old LeBron can save you this time, Lakers fans. Your team needs to fix up immediately. Lebron’s already got a baby-faced assassin ready to kill him at a moment’s notice, and that assassin has a real group of people ready to go to war with him.
Life in Cleveland Ain’t So Bad
I never thought I would write about the Cleveland Cavaliers post the Lebron James Era. Truly, would never have anticipated Cleveland being a decent basketball team, especially in a strengthened Eastern Conference. It’s one of the great things about sports where you see something you didn’t predict and it shows you that sharing your predictions online can bite you in the ass but anyways, we move.
After watching some of Cleveland’s games you have to respect the situation they have going on there and run with it. They have a bunch of young talent who gel well together, play hard, and compete every night. Nothing more, nothing less. They are coached very well and have shown they are no pushovers.
Standout players such as their rookie of the year candidate, Evan Mobley, and veteran point guard Ricky Rubio come to mind when thinking about the big contributions to their success so far.
The Head Office in Cleveland has clearly seen the improvements the team has made and has extended the contract of head coach, J.B Bickerstaff, to a multi-year extension detailing the trust and faith they have in him moving forward.
Will they make the playoffs? It’s tough to say, especially since recent news reported Ricky Rubio will be out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.
Battling within that play-in game spot for the 7th or 8th spot seems likely for Cleveland and honestly, that isn’t a bad thing. With a young and vibrant roster, the taste of having something to play for can be the ideal thing to build the foundation of a winning franchise.
Don’t get me wrong, though — Cleveland will never win a ring again in my lifetime but hey, they’re heading in the right direction. That’s all you can ask for.
Memphis Wants All The Smoke
I enjoy watching Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies play basketball. Not only do I have Ja and Desmond Bane on my fantasy team and the points they are getting right now bring an instant smile to my face, biases aside, I promise you — they are a joy to watch.
This Memphis team found that grind it out and hustle culture once again and added a little sauce to it. Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks, and Morant all have an extra something about them that replicates the Memphis team of old but adds the flash and flair touch of the NBA today.
I strongly suggest watching this Memphis team play at least once this season to understand what I mean. They aren’t scared of anyone and it’s always backed up by their attitude and tenacity on the court.
The Grizzlies should have kept Valanciunas though — this trade may cost them in the future, but it’s happy days for now.
Chi Town, Chi Town
I was pleading for Lavine to get some help and seeing the Bulls thrive once again brings another smile to my face.
Sitting 2nd place in the Eastern Conference (at the time of writing of this), the offence and the defence of the Bulls has frustrated and aggravated every contender for the NBA championship this season and you really love to see it.
Are the Bulls true contenders though? I’m a little on the fence.
Chicago has the right pieces to make things work. The dynamic PG in Lonzo, the scoring wings in Derozan and Lavine, the effective big man presence in Vucevic, the tenacious bench duo in Coby White and Alex Caruso. I think it’s all good in theory and there’s evidence to prove they should be taken seriously, but in the playoffs, I’m not sure it will carry over.
It’s more of a gut feeling than anything else. The Bulls are missing a final piece to their puzzle. I like the team, I like the story, I love the playstyle and I appreciate how hard they play every night. But in a 7-game series right now, I’m picking the Bucks or the Nets to beat them every time without fail.
Hopefully, the Bulls can prove me wrong… only against the Bucks though, I need KD to win that chip expeditiously (please and thank you).
The Show Must Go On
It’s looking like cancelling the season is the last thing the NBA is thinking about doing, so the show will continue to go on. As 10-day contracts are being handed out like crazy, I believe we should all be excited to expect a DeMarre Carrol return in the NBA soon enough. The simulation allows anything to be possible, so one’s dream today can become reality tomorrow.
Thanks for reading, share this with a friend and happy new year in advance. Bless up and stay blessed. Also, answer the question below!