If you’re like me, then you probably aren’t the most up-to-date on the NBA quite yet. Most people feel the NBA doesn’t really start till after Christmas, but around that time is the NFL playoff push. So it is easy to be lost in the headline world of sports and choose one sport over the other. Have no fear, we have you covered! So whether it’s a juggernaut team pushing for the playoffs or a surprise underdog rallying. Here are the five things you need to know about the NBA right now!
5 Things you need to know about the NBA this year
1. The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t out of it.
Haters, close your eyes. The Lakers are currently five games under .500 and sitting as the 13 seed which doesn’t help this case, but I challenge you to look further than that.
The NBA playoff format allows for a play-in game for the 7-10 seeds meaning all they need to do is get to the 10 seed for a chance. They’re currently two games back of 10 and only a total of four games back from an outright spot. Since we are post-all-star break, there is more urgency in these games and there are fewer to play, so if it is going to happen it must start now.
With a roster consisting of the GOAT LeBron James and Anthony Davis who has already won a title together and a general manager Rob Pelinka making deadline moves to help create a roster complimentary of their star players, look for this team to make a push for the postseason. Once you get there, in the wise words of Kevin Garnett, “Anything is possibllleeeee!”.
2. Nikola Jokic is chasing history
Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain are among the all-time greats and have a unique statistic that ties them together. They are the only players that have ever won three straight MVP awards.
Nikola Jokic is currently on pace to join this elite group. Having won back-to-back MVPs already, this year he is currently averaging 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 10.1 assists which are just under his statistics last year that won him the award. The cherry on top? His team currently holds a six-game lead as the one seed in the Western Conference and has the second-best record in the entire league.
The best player playing on arguably the best team is a strong case for the MVP. Partner that up with a history of doing so, and we have a recipe for an all-time great. Enjoy this run while it is here!
3. The Golden State Dynasty is falling
One of the most dominant runs in the sport over the last 25 years has been that of the Golden State Warriors. Led by familiar names, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, this core has achieved four titles in eight years and last year achieved glory once again.
Unfortunately for them, that seems to be the last bit of good news. Since this title run, they are the nine seed, which would currently be a play-in game. They have traded some young pieces away that didn’t seem to fit the culture, and frankly, they can’t seem to transition the old core to new and growing talent.
Jordan Poole has been an inconsistent contributor who has had issues on and off the court with teammates. Klay Thompson seems to be at the end of his career and has lost a step. Even Draymond Green seems more focused on life after basketball with his successful Podcast among tv ventures. If you love basketball, Golden State was a team and story you could love, but it seems to be over after a storybook run last year. Kudos to them, but make way for the new dynasty, whoever that may be.
4. The Phoenix Suns super team
If you were unaware or living under a rock at the time, the Phoenix Suns acquired Kevin Durant at the trade deadline, almost 100% guaranteeing that they’re going to be the most talked about team down the stretch here.
He joins a talented core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and no doubt hall-of-famer Chris Paul. This is a team that has made it to The Finals but just couldn’t take that next step, ultimately losing to a Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Milwaukee Bucks team. They now have arguably the league’s best scorer, a pass-first point guard who is the king of the mid-range, a modern and ascending big man, and a complimentary scorer who can easily get you 30 if you don’t guard him while also chasing after Durant.
This is a team that is currently the fifth seed but don’t be shocked if they make a push for the first overall seed.
5. LeBron James is still must watch
Let’s not turn this into a who is better debate, let’s simply look at the facts. LeBron is 38 years old and is currently averaging 30 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists for a team that has shown they’re not just going to mail it in this year at the trade deadline.
This is the single greatest season anyone in sports has put up at his age and is only rivaled by the likes of Tom Brady in the NFL. This season, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer, which was thought to be a record untouchable and he may end up shattering it. He has told fans and his team publicly that he has no plans to retire anytime soon and with stats like that why would you? He is playing with house money and may be the most genetically gifted player of all time.
There will be a time when we no longer have a guy like him to watch, so cherish these moments and remember, love him or hate him, he is absolutely a must-watch player in the NBA. Don’t let yourself turn into a crusty old guy who refuses to appreciate the now.
Main Image: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY