The early excitement of the season is slowly waning off as we got to see how all of the newly-restructured teams have been performing. Some of the contenders such as Los Angeles Lakers proved themselves more than worthy of the title. Meanwhile, some teams that have high expectations like Washington Wizards with their newest addition of Russell Westbrook appear to be stuck in the bottom.
Then, there are also a good number of pleasant, but extremely welcome surprises. Teams that have had a less-than-ideal history over the last few years are on the rise again. This is seen in Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies. While they may not be the top of the league just yet, it is a sure improvement over their previous years.
Returning to Form
When the fanbase of NBA quotes ‘Washed’, that means a player that was originally all-star calibre displaying a spiking drop without sustaining an injury. This means that player like the youngest MVP Derrick Rose who has suffered an unfortunate career-altering injury would not be considered ‘Washed’. However, some times the public can be too quick to judge a player as ‘Washed’. Sometimes, a player simply has not found a good team around them yet, and here are some players that proves that statement correct.
- Dwight Howard: Ever since joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight has been playing excellent defense coupled with many offensive highlights – just for old times sake. Playing as an excellent bench-piece center position, he is averaging a 6.5 points and 7.9 rebounds, anchoring the Lakers bench.
- Gordon Hayward: Gordon has suffered from many injuries throughout his career, the most notable one being his broken leg in 2017. After 3 years of streams of injuries, it seems that Gordon Hayward has finally returned to form. He hit a game winning layup the other day, and is now averaging 24.1 points on 51.5% field goal.
- John Wall: Another episode in the return of the once-great – and still great. In one of the most shocking trades of the last offseason where John Wall is traded for Russell Westbrook, everyone is interested to see how the two will perform in their new team, especially John Wall who has been a Washington staple his entire career. As it turned out – apart from his below average 3 pts shooting, John Wall has been playing like his younger self in pretty much every other criteria, the Rockets may not be a contender this season but have a good road ahead of them.
The MVP Race
The MVP Race is the most discussed topic, probably right next to the classical “How many rings” discussion. Which is no surprise, since being heralded as the best player in the league surely makes a good case for defining a player’s career. With more than a month into the season, several players are making their case for the MVP, the most notable one being none other than the King, LeBron James.
- LeBron James: Coming off a NBA championship tourney beating the Miami Heat 4-1, the 4-time MVP is feeling more confident than ever. To everyone’s surprise, James has developed a lethal 3 point shot shooting more than 40% on 6.6 attempts per game. Another factor to consider is this will be 18th season – and still dominating the league.
- Stephen Curry: This may be an early overreaction as the Warriors are still trying to climb back up on the Western Conference, but Curry is proving that he still got it – it never left him. Without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Curry is returning to his 2016 form – bombing down 3s from way beyond the arc and carrying his team to victory. If the short-staffed Warriors claws their way back in top 4 of the conference, Curry may have a good case for himself.
- Joel Embiid: Embiid and the Sixers were cooking, a league-best 7-1, before they were ambushed by the Kyrie Irving-and Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets Thursday night. The league’s best defense, with Embiid as the anchor, was shredded. But one game doesn’t erase a fantastic start to the season for Embiid in his first run under coach Doc Rivers. These first nine games have provided an excellent glimpse of what Embiid and the Sixers are capable of if he can consistently dominate the competition the way his talent suggests.