By Albert Luna
3 Things I like and Don’t Like
Week 3 of the NBA season is always fun. That is because the sample sizes for players and teams is no longer a couple of games, but basically one-eighth of the season. With these trends looking like they are here to stay, it makes it easier to know exactly which players, teams, and even coaches look in line to have successful campaigns. With that said, let’s take a look at some topics that are trending up and down, and also power rankings.
Like: Steph Curry Might Have the Best Season Ever
It sounds so simple and so absurd, but it might actually be right. Stephen Curry is playing out of his mind right now. The point guard leads the league in three-pointers made by almost 30, and that’s only 10 games in! The reigning MVP is poised to break his own record from last year (after breaking his own record from the year before). I think the whole debate of “who is the greatest shooter ever?” is over by now. However, it’s not just the three. Curry has gone up in field goal percentage and rebounding this year too. His off nights are scoring in the high 20s, that’s how good he is. Curry is clearly untouchable right now in the NBA player hierarchy and barring any injuries, he looks poised for a run at a second straight MVP and possibly guiding the (11-0) still undefeated Warriors to a historic season in their own right also.
Don’t Like: The Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks were pegged by many to make a serious run in the Eastern Conference if they could get all the pieces to work together. That simply has not happened yet and it doesn’t seem to be on its way any time soon. Milwaukee, just two years removed from having the worst record in the NBA and drafting Jabari Parker as a result, has played a fairly easy schedule. However, they simply have dropped some games that they shouldn’t have. Greg Monroe is doing his part, it just seems that they need that other go-to player to solidify wins. Maybe that is Parker and he just needs to get healthy. Nonetheless, the Bucks have been quite a letdown after all the hype given them by critics going into the season.
Like: The Eastern Conference
Ever since Michael Jordan retired from the Eastern Conference and the league, the East has easily been the weaker conference, with the teams that make the playoffs typically having losing records. Compared to the West, where 50 wins is the benchmark for a playoff seed, it has made the conference seem like the clear inferior. That tide may be starting to turn. The East, through the first 10 or so games of the season, fosters teams that have better records than their Western counterparts. There are 13 teams with at least five wins in the East compared to just nine in the West. It may be because many teams in the West are just going through early season struggles, but if this trend continues, it may be interesting to see how the power of the conferences begins to shift going forward. Crazy what a week can do, just last week I had them pegged as a “don’t like” and every bottom of the standings team reeled off wining streaks. You have to love the NBA.
- Golden State Warriors – Steph Curry is going to continue to be big for this team and the best player in the league. The only thing is, can it last and can he get more help during crunch time?
- Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs’ eight-game winning streak came to an end this week after a double overtime loss to the Bucks. Nonetheless, LeBron James has quieted any skeptics saying that his best days are behind him, still scoring the ball at will.
- San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs will continue being the Spurs. They just reeled off four straight wins this week and LaMarcus Aldridge seems to be finding his groove on his new team.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Despite losing Kevin Durant for about one more week, Russell Westbrook has been a stats darling for Fantasy owners and fans alike. That may be due to him taking virtually every shot, however.
- Atlanta Hawks –The Hawks jumped out to an 8-2 quick start but have faltered a bit of late and have dropped two straight. Although it is obviously concerning, they still have star Al Horford to right the ship.
- Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose just has not been the same and it is clear that it is Jimmy Butler’s team now. The Bulls have had just had about the same results with their new coach as they did with Tom Thibedeoe.
- Miami Heat – The Heat have been battling some injuries but have still managed to post some nice shorthanded wins, including one at home over the Jazz in which they started their third-string guards.
- Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers dropped two straight nationally televised games to the Mavs and Suns this week by double digits. Not ideal, but they recovered Sunday with a win over the Pistons.
- Toronto Raptors – The Raptors are still searching for consistency. They can beat a good team one day and lose to the Kings the next. Bench scoring is a big concern here still.
- Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs beat the Clippers and Rockets both by double digits this week. Dirk Nowitzki is still putting up 30 point games at the age of 37. Dallas has won four of their last five games.
Be sure to check back next week, same time, for the latest installment of the NBA column.
Albert Luna may be reached at ALuna32@NMSU.edu
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