Welcome Society readers to a new series in which I, Alfonso De Falco, talk about certain NBA topics while also showing my top plays of the week.
1. The Legend of the Latvian Locomotive
Last Monday Dec. 6, The New York Knicks faced the Dallas Mavericks. It was a special night for Kristpas Porzingis as he had the opportunity to face his childhood idol, Dirk Nowitzki. What seemed like a blowout win for Dallas ended up being a close game by the middle of the fourth quarter (thanks to #6 otherwise known as GOATzingis). Okay, I know, the Knicks lost that game. However Kristaps made the game a lot more interesting by rallying New York late. He finished with 28 points, a career-high for him so far in his young career.
What was even better to hear was Dirk’s comments after the game.
“It’s more than fair,” Nowitzki said after his first game against Porzingis. “He’s probably way ahead of the curve. When I was 20, I was scared to death out there. … He’s almost averaging a double-double, so he’s way better than I was at 20. So the comparison’s probably unfair to me.”
I definitely see the comparisons. Both are European big men that are also good around the three-point line. But Nowitzki has a point. He struggled his rookie year, playing in a lockout season consisting of 47 games, starting 24 and had averages of 8.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Not saying that KP6 is the next Dirk or the next big superstar for that matter, but with the way he is playing so far, the future is bright.
Here are a few of the many nicknames for Kristaps Porzingis:
- Latvian Locomotive
- The Zinger
2. Comparing the ’95-’96 Bulls to the ’15-’16 Warriors
What Golden State has done so far is amazing. They are currently 24-1 after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks last night. With all that being said, people are now making comparisons and some even saying that they will have a better record than the Chicago Bulls did back in the 1995-96 season.
For those that don’t know, the Bulls led by Michael Jordan won 72 games and lost only 10 in the regular season. Not only was Jordan the leader of the team, but they had a deep lineup with Pippen and Rodman forming their version of the “Big 3” along with role players like Steve Kerr, Tony Kukoc and Ron Harper just to name a few.
The Warriors have their similarities with Stephen Curry leading the team along with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green finishing out their big three. The role players include Andre Igoudala, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. Bottom line, do I think this team has what it takes to tie, or even break this historic Bulls team?Yes. They have a shot. The one thing that can derail their successful season are injuries. Injuries happen all the time in this league and so far nothing major has happened to them, unless you want to count Klay Thompson missing a few games. It’s too early in the season to say if they can win 72 or more games, but here is an interesting statistic for both these teams: as of December 13th the ’95-’96 Bulls were 17-2 while Golden State sits at 24-1, as stated earlier.
3. Who is the 2nd best team in the West?
As I stated earlier, the Warriors are playing great so they are the best team in the Western Conference. As far as the 2nd best, it’s a wide open race. Currently the San Antonio Spurs hold that two spot with a 20-5 record, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder (15-8), and then the Los Angeles Clippers (14-10) are not to far behind. Then you have teams like the Mavericks, Rockets, and Grizzlies.
Right now I do think the Spurs are the second best in the conference behind Kawhi Leonard’s 20.2 scoring average this season. Not to mention the other guys in the lineup like LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. But Kevin Durant, Westbrook, and those guys down in Oklahoma City are right in the rearview mirror.
4. Paul George in the MVP Conversation?
Never mind those ugly uniforms that they occasionally wear, PG-13 is playing fantastic. He has current career highs across the board with 27.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. What makes it better, is that a year ago there were doubts of him even playing after that career-threatening leg injury. Add that to the fact that he has the Pacers competing in the East, definitely should have him the MVP conversation.
I know there are guys ahead of him like Curry, LeBron, and Kevin Durant. However if George continues the way that he has been playing, and Indiana is in the playoffs at the end of the season, don’t be surprised if he gets a few or more votes than the guys listed above.
5. LeBron’s lifetime deal
It was reported that earlier this week, LeBron James signed an interesting contract with Nike. What makes it interesting is that it is a lifetime deal. Yes, you read that right. A LIFETIME DEAL. There have only been a few before him that have done it, Derrick Rose and David Beckham with Adidas, and Allen Iverson with Reebok. What makes this interesting is that this is Nike’s first time signing a deal this big.
LeBron has been with Nike since, well, ever. When he came into the league he immediately signed with Nike and has been the main guy ever since. Nike & LeBron have always been on top in the basketball world, but recently have been having a competition with Stephen Curry and Under Armour as far as market ability. Coincidence that he signs the lifetime deal now? Probably. This is a sign that LeBron still wants to be recognized in the world as the number one basketball player and for Nike showing that they are still the number one basketball shoe in the world. And who knows, maybe in like a year or so Curry will sign a lifetime Under Armour deal, or even Adidas will go round two with a Harden lifetime deal, but hey, crazier things have happened.
6. This week’s top plays
Before I end this weekly summary, let me show you of my top five plays of this week (December 6th-12th)
5. Kenneth Faried’s huge block on Elfrid Payton
Sorry Payton, maybe next time.
4. Jeff Green for the WIN
Losing on a buzzer beater hurts, but losing on an inbound buzzer beating oop….
3. Rajon Rondo with the dime of the season
Reminding everyone that he still has it.
2. DeAndre Jordan puts Greg Monroe on a poster
Somewhere Brandon Knight was having nightmares when he watched this.
1. Kevin Garnett thinks it’s 2004
Yeah, the 20 year veteran still has it.