The Overperformers of the New NBA Season
Time to stop hedging your bets
Winter is coming. But since we don’t have it in the Philippines, only one season matters: NBA season! We’re already a couple of weeks into the latest 2016-2017 NBA season. With the Draft well over and free agent deals closed, we’re starting to see a few predictions pay off.
Knowing that, here are some of the pleasant news so far:
After coming close to tasting the Playoffs with a 40-42 record last season, the youthful Jazz are coming in with an appetite this year. Many analysts blamed the lack of experience as a key reason why the team faltered in the past. Management heeded the advice and brought in veterans Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw and George Hill to add some much needed maturity to the team. Although they started out with two losses in October, they’ve since bounced back with a 7-6 standing.
You already know the saying: the best defense is a great offense. With James Harden, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and coach Mike D’Antoni, their opponents shouldn’t have any room to breathe. If they can pick up the pace, other teams might just fold trying to keep up. Everybody’s prediction: the most three-point attempts will be made by the Rockets this year, Curry’s Kobe-beating single-game 3-point record notwithstanding. If they can muster some form of defense and hold some ground, it looks like we’re going to have another playoff team that won’t be as frustrating as last season’s. Considering their first couple of games were up against teams like the Mavs, the Cavs, Hawks and Spurs, they’re keeping it together with a 7-5 record.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook’s importance to OKC is more evident than ever, especially with Russell being cited among the top reasons for the team playing at such a high level—even Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel agrees.
Thunder started with an impressive 6-1 standing, emerging at the top of the Western conference before slipping to 8-5 after losing to the Raptors, Clippers, Magic and Pistons. But that doesn’t mean it’s over for the Thunder squad; they did, after all, take control of the games against rebuilding teams Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and LA Lakers. With Westbrook upping their offense game and the team constantly improving, OKC can still very much make it to the Playoffs.
Ah yes, the Cavaliers. With quite a spectacular performance—10 conversions in nearly every game and a 10-2 standing—the Cavs has very little to worry about. LeBron James has just been crowned the youngest basketball player to score 27,000 points in his career, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are balling at their best, Channing Frye is off the bench and is proving to be an efficient offensive option, and Iman Shumpert is enjoying a bounce-back season. If Jordan McRae, J.R. Smith and Mike Dunleavy step up their game, too, then the Cavs will likely be the team to beat in the Playoffs.
The Internet has been abuzz about the Raptors (currently with a 8-4 standing), thanks to the team’s much improved performance. DeMar DeRozan just set the record for the team for most points in the first three games, Kyle Lowry’s offensive game has improved a lot and DeMarre Carroll has emerged as a stronghold on defense. Now if coach Dwayne Casey does his homework right, the young and hungry Raptors can certainly move up from third place in the Eastern Conference and underscore the fact that they are a serious force to be reckoned with.
Standings reflect as of November 19, 2016.