The Headlines So Far in the 2017-18 NBA Season
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 21, 2017 08:39 PM
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
The new NBA season is still in its early stages, but it feels like we’re already in the thick of things with so much happening already.
Luck of the Irish
The Celtics, despite losing Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury, currently have the best record in the East and own the longest winning streak so far this year with 16 games won consecutively. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have been leading the charge, with young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum upping their game. It certainly won’t be surprising to see them secure the top seed in the East this season if their remarkable play continues. Steve Kerr even declared the Celtics as the East’s “team of the future.”
International Beasts of the East
Giannis Antetokounmpo is already staking his claim as the league’s MVP, averaging nearly 30 points a game at a very efficient 52% clip as of this writing. With Eric Bledsoe assisting with ball-handling duties, the young Buck’s play is only bound to get better. Remember, Antetokounmpo still hasn’t even developed an outside shot yet. Imagine what the Greek Freak can do when he finally does.
Kristaps Porzingis has also been unleashed in New York after the departure of Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson. The Latvian big man has been on a roll, taking advantage of an increased usage rate to average 25.5 points per game. The Knicks are exceeding expectations—The Playoffs doesn’t seem to be a far-fetched reality for them if Porzingis and the rest of the team can keep this up.
After playing only 31 games last season, Joel Embiid has been making up for lost time. Along with Ben Simmons, the Cameroonian standout has been leading the Philadelphia to its best start in years, averaging 24.1 points and 11.0 boards. Additionally, Embiid has been posting roughly 2 blocks per game, and he says that he’s going to go for the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season. It looks like the Sixers fans’ are finally being rewarded for trusting the process.
The Rookies Have Been Doing Work
In his first season on the floor, Ben Simmons has been averaging 17.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per outing. And in almost every game, he’s been flirting with a triple-double. At this rate, it looks like he’s going to be the frontrunner in the Rookie of the Year race.
Another solid performer is Jayson Tatum, who is one of the primary contributors in the Celtics’ stellar start. He’s been averaging an efficient 13.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assist per game in around 30 minutes of play. From deep, Tatum has been drilling 50.5% of his three's. With his smart play, sometimes, it feels like we’re not watching a rookie.
Kyle Kuzma, perhaps the biggest steal in this year’s draft class, is currently outperforming most rookies picked ahead of him, including fellow Laker and #2 draftee Lonzo Ball. Kuzma has been averaging 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists, and he’s shooting 52.5% from the field and 40.5% from deep. While he still has a bit of work to do on the defensive end, he’s shaping up to be a cornerstone in LA’s post-Kobe era.
Warriors Still Super Team to Beat
During the offseason, several teams secured major acquisitions to reinforce their lineups. The Cavs were able to reload with future Hall of Fame guards and versatile wings on board. OKC acquired two All-Stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but are still in the process of figuring things out. Minnesota was able to add Jimmy Butler to its young core. But despite the trades and signings, the Golden State Warriors remain the most “super” of the squads with the “super team” tag.
After starting the season 1-2, the Warriors have regained their dominating form and are now back with their winning ways—and it seems that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Kevin Durant has been on a tear, but it’s Steph Curry that currently leads the team in points per game (26.3), steals per game (1.7), and in Player Efficiency Rating (27.8). He remains the fulcrum of Golden State’s offense, the man that won’t let the Dubs down.
Steph Curry continues to perform at a high level because he depends on the World’s No. 1 Deodorant to stay cool and confident. The two-time MVP only trusts Rexona Ice Cool to help him fee dry and fresh all day, so he can be his best on the court, and even off it.
It’ll be interesting to see if these stories and trends continue as we go along the new season. Stay tuned, hoops fans!