The 2021-22 NBA season is in full swing. We are starting to see glimpses of the type of directions team may be headed, which players are rising to the occasion, and some that have failed to live up to expectations. With the first month now behind us, it is becoming more appropriate to start laying out irrational NBA overreactions that may or may not be premature. Here are four NBA overreactions we cooked up.
Four NBA Overreactions After The First Month Of The Season
1. The Golden State Warriors Are BACK
A phrase I never thought I would say, but the Golden State Warriors back at the top of the NBA’s hierarchy is like a breath of fresh air. After the dissolution of the Kevin Durant-era in Golden State, the Warriors underwent two consecutive trying seasons. But it looks like Dub Nation is back to their old ways, as they have an NBA-best 14-2 record. All 16 games have been without James Wiseman and Klay Thompson, who could make his return to the floor before Christmas after two seasons on the shelf.
While they do not possess the same star power as they once did, the Warriors play with a showtime style of play very reminiscent of their 2015 run. They score a league-best 113.9 PPG, while shooting a league-best average of 47.4% from the field. Those averages are bound to rise when one of the best shooters in NBA history is back in the fold.
With this team clicking at this juncture of the season, a player like Klay Thompson should be integrated smoothly, as he rarely dribbles the ball, can play elite defense, and can catch-and-shoot perhaps better than anyone else in the NBA. Wiseman’s presence on the floor will also be extremely impactful on both ends of the floor.
Maybe not one of the more bold NBA overreactions, but the Golden State Warriors are back, and the NBA landscape is better for it.
2. The Chicago Bulls Are Legit
Perhaps the biggest winner of the offseason was the Chicago Bulls. After acquiring former All-Star Nikola Vucevic a season ago, the Bulls traded for Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, who is having an early MVP campaign through the first month. Much like the Warriors, the Chicago Bulls are one of the most enjoyable teams in the league to watch. They possess the right amount of skill, flash, and athleticism that makes for fun basketball.
The athletic combination of Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, and Derrick Jones Jr, mixed with the showtime playmaking of Lonzo Ball, have become borderline appointment television. Call it a hot start, but the style of play that the Bulls are playing with is more than sustainable. As of Sunday night, the team is 11-5, tied for second in the Eastern Conference with the Miami Heat.
The organization’s busy offseason is starting to prove dividends for the team. They have all the right tools for a legitimate title push, as they have put together a club that is loaded in nearly every department. All that remains to be seen is if they can sustain this level of play, and as a fan of the game, I certainly believe that this is one of the NBA overreactions that will hold true in the next few months.
3. LeGM Needs To Clean House
The Los Angeles Lakers early start to the season has been a whirlwind of headlines, narratives, injuries, and question marks. The team was without LeBron James for eight straight games, and his return to play post-injury has not changed much of the Lakers style of play. With a record of 8-9, it may not be long before “LeGM” weighs in on the dynamic of the Lakers’ roster.
We knew the Lakers’ roster had a questionable feel to it. While they have one of the strongest superstar trios in the league, the supporting cast leaves plenty to be desired. The team itself is especially long in the tooth, with the construction of the roster clearly in “win-now” mode. However, there may need to be some reshuffling in order to actually be in that conversation.
The Lakers are 25th in offensive rating at 104.7, and 20th in defensive rating at 108.5, so they are no where near getting the job done on either end of the floor. We’ve seen LeBron’s influence on the front office numerous times in the past, and if he wishes to add another ring to his resume, and for the Lakers to claim the most NBA championships in NBA history, then he may have to do so at the expense of anyone not named Anthony Davis on the roster.
Ironically enough, the initial plan in place for the Lakers to trade for Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings, opposed to what they ended up trading for Russell Westbrook, would solve most of their issues. While Hield is still expensive at $23 million this year, $21 million next, and $19 million the following year, that is much more manageable than Westbrook’s $44 milllion tag this year and $47 next. Hield would space the floor much better than Westbrook, and allow James a clearer path to the hoop with an elite kick-out option.
Call it one of the more ambitious NBA overreactions, but it is going to become an unfortunate reality for the Lakers if there is no roster turnover soon enough.
4. Who Plays First This Year: Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, or John Wall?
I would not classify this amongst the list of NBA overreactions at the onset of the season, rather a hypothetical question. Saying that all three, or two, or just one of them, will not play at all this season might qualify as such, so it is fair debate. All three are currently yet to see the floor, as we have closely followed both Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving’s saga, and the probability if John Wall is going to be dealt at all.
Sparing the details, the relationship between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers is broken beyond repair. Simmons believes he is not mentally ready to rejoin the team and take the floor with the franchise that he has spent his whole career to this point at. The Sixers have yet to find a buyer for Simmons, and at this point, Philly may just have to accept that they are not going to get a Damian Lillard-level of player for Simmons. They need to bite the bullet, cut their losses, and put an end to this saga before it drags out much longer.
Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, very well may not play at all this year. As he continues to hold out by refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19, the Brooklyn Nets made their move by pulling their contract extension initially made out for him in the offseason. He has not caved yet, and he very well may not cave at all.
The Brooklyn Nets window to win an NBA Championship inched a little further towards closing after failing to reach the NBA Finals a season ago, let alone win it. The big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving has the potential to run roughshod on the entire league. The Nets stand at the top of the Eastern Conference, without Irving playing a second of time on the court. However, in the postseason, it comes down to the superstar talent propelling their team forward round after round.
The Nets have only played 13 games with all three stars active, of which they are 10-3. If Irving is back in the fold before season’s end, he is so dynamic and adds a whole other layer to Brooklyn’s offensive attack that is unmatched by any team in the league. His presence, whether he plays or not, will dictate how Brooklyn’s season ends.
Simply put, John Wall and the Houston Rockets do not fit each other. The franchise has been working to move Wall to another team, but his expensive contract of $44 million due this year, and $47 the next. Wall becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023. His production versus the cost of his services is lob-sided to say the least. It’s no wonder why there are no takers on Wall.
Having him sit out is best for Houston’s timeline. The future lies with the young duo of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr, not a 31 year old John Wall past his prime. Wall is still more than playable at this juncture of his career, but his price tag will not change. While he does not face any sort of personal or moral dilemma this year, he still feels like the player of this bunch who will not see the floor this year.
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