#NBA Review: What’s Gone Wrong and Right so Far?
Who lived up to expectations?
- Utah Jazz/Boston Celtics Tank-A-Palooza (1-10, 4-7)
- Indiana Pacers (9-1)
- New Jersey Nets (3-6)
The Tank-A-Palooza is on! Both Utah and Boston are looking forward to next year’s draft picks like Kansas freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky’s entire team and Duke’s Jabari Parker. Utah blew a lead late against San Antonio and has only looked worse than the Washington Wizards or the Milwaukee Bucks. Boston has impressed some people, but with Jeff Green as your go-to guy, this team is in tank mode.
The Indiana Pacers are on a scorching hot streak to start the season, but it is a 82-game season grind. Still, Paul George is showing why he was the Most Improved Player last year, Roy Hibbert is a block and defensive machine and Lance Stephenson is still the athletic 2-guard. Their point guard play has been masked by the previous three players. Indiana: Your point guard of the future IS NOT GEORGE HILL! Their blowout loss this weekend to the Derrick-Rose-less Chicago Bulls does not bode well for playoff crunch time.
New Jersey Nets have lived up to the expectations that it’ll take time to mesh and their egos are hard to manage, even for Jason Kidd (sarcasm). Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett sat out one of their games this weekend, which doesn’t bode well for the long NBA season. The Nets bench is not jaw-droppingly awesome or impressive, so their health is a major concern. Their team does not look cohesive at all.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (4-7)
- Washington Wizards (2-7)
- Miami Heat (7-3)
These three teams are on this list because they’re not who we thought they were, as former NFL coach for the Arizona Cardinals Dennis Green said (warning: NSFW language):
The Cavaliers saw their first overall pick from last year’s draft, Canadian Anthony Bennett, go on a 0-15 shooting drought. That is historically terrible by any standard. If he were in Los Angeles or New York, there would be a panic button and all sorts of heavy-handed criticism. Thank goodness he’s in Cleveland. Their offense is struggling (again) under coach Mike Brown and their team hasn’t meshed just yet.
Ugh, don’t get me started on my hometown Wizards. Yeah, they got the cool throw-back uniforms and John Wall, but that’s about it. John Wall has regressed now that he has a fat maximum contract. Bradley Beal is on a scoring tear, but the rest of the team has not meshed defensively. They added Marcin Gortat to help atone for the loss of Emeka Okafor, but the bleeding has continued. And they just got blasted by the Cavs at home in overtime, where John Wall missed 10 of 13 shots but had 12 assists.
The Miami Heat are on cruise control right now and that is never a good thing. Their defense is lacking, cannot stop anyone from scoring and they have a pedestrian – record. LeBron James will have to bring a double-double like a 25-12 box score or even a triple-double to get the Heat some wins. Still, they have 7 wins and 3 losses.
- Philadelphia 76ers (5-6)
- Los Angeles Lakers (4-7)
- Memphis Grizzlies (4-5)
The Sixers are the Sixers. Shocked us coming out of the gate. The fact that they’re around .500 is impressive and that Evan Turner, labeled a draft bust as a top pick coming out of Ohio State, averaging 23 points per game is impressive.
Lakers are shooting crazy beyond the arc, as Mike D’Antoni loves to do. Their record is just about what we expected, but we thought they’d almost be on the level of the one-win Jazz with the lack of talent and depth on their team. Still, their defense is lacking but it has led to some fun-filled and tense games, like my boy Maryland graduate Steve Blake hitting this game-winner:
Grizzlies are struggling mightily since they’ve retooled parts of their roster and fired their coach Lionel Hollins. They have this season to catch up and mesh with their new coaching system led by new head coach David Joerger. They’re under .500, but given time they’ll pull it out. Unless Zach Randolph looks like he does now for the rest of the season (verdict: that’d be TERRIBLE).
What do you think of this list?