Cleveland’s New Year’s resolution should be to get Kyrie Irving to play like Kyrie Irving. He’s slowly making his way back into the swing of things after coming back from a knee injury he suffered in last year’s NBA Finals. LeBron and company have gotten them off to a great start, but Kyrie elevates them to an entire new level.
— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) December 30, 2015
It’s only a matter of a few games until he’s his old self and after seeing his tweet earlier today, I think he believes the same thing too.
The Indiana Pacers have gotten off to a great start holding down the third seed in the Eastern Conference behind the great play of Paul George and C.J. Miles. Both their offense and defense are ranked in the top ten in regards to points per game and points allowed, however there’s one thing that scares me. The Pacers struggle to score in the paint, averaging 39.5 points in that area which is 8 spots from the bottom. With 9.1 three-pointers made per game, Indiana is ranked 9th in the league and even though they’re shooting it well, it still worries me that they lack such inside presence. The Warriors won last year on shooting a lot of jump shots, but they were also ranked 3rd in the league in points in the paint. Indiana lacks that balance and that will necessary if they want to take that next step. They’re missing their lottery pick in Myles Turner who’s looking to make his way back from injury. After a great summer league, his potential was looking very high. Upon his return, they may look to him to provide some of that interior scoring that they are missing.
For Chicago, 2016 is all about figuring out what to do about Derrick Rose. The former MVP has struggled mightily this season and some question whether he will ever be the same.
His efficiency has dropped way below what we’re accustomed to seeing from him and it has been very hard to watch. With Jimmy Butler quickly taking over as the face of this Chicago team, the question is now what to do with Derrick Rose. The Bulls sit 5th in the Eastern Conference and find themselves in a very common position. For years now, this team has been what I like to call, “the Memphis Grizzlies of the Eastern Conference”. They play good throughout the regular season only to realize that they’re not good enough to make it to the Finals. It’s the same story over and over again. Will teams take a chance on Derrick Rose? That’s a tough question but this has to be the thought process of Bulls’ management so they can finally get over that hump.
“Deee-troit Basketball!!!!!” – John Mason
The Pistons have been that “feel good” story early on this season. Andre Drummond has been a monster on the boards and Reggie Jackson has proven doubters, including John Wall, why he deserved that contract. I feel this team could slide into a playoff position if they just keep grinding. Their resolution is just to keep pushing. Keep fighting, keep playing hard and it will pay off. They’re on the cusp of turning things around and becoming a problem in the Eastern Conference. One problem that they need to look at is their bench. They are dead last in bench scoring only averaging 23.4 points from their bench. If the Pistons want to turn that corner, this is something they must address. Check the history books, you won’t find many championship teams without a solid bench.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been an utter disappointment this season. After their surge last season, making the playoffs and giving the Bulls a run for their money, it has seemed like they have lost all their mojo this season. They struggle all across the board, whether it is scoring, playing defense, or even rebounding. Many thought things would continue to go up with the signing of Greg Monroe and the return of Jabari Parker but boy, were we fooled. The Bucks need to acquire some shooters. They are amongst the bottom five in both 3 point attempts and 3 pointers made. We all know to survive in this league, you have to be somewhat of a threat from behind the arc, and the Milwaukee Bucks just aren’t that.