As we are in the beginning of the 2017 year, I wanted to dive into three topics that have been hot among basketball and hoops fans alike. So far the NBA season has been something of greatness and it seems like the next few months leading into June will only carry more amazing entertainment.
1. Who is the MVP right now?
When it comes to the MVP discussion, I would say there are three names that have the best chance of winning the regular season award, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James. When it comes to LeBron, I would say that his numbers and defensive abilities have brought him in the discussion. He is averaging 25.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 8.6 apg. While these are some of the best numbers LeBron has put up in his career, there are some things to point out that keeps me from picking him at the moment. LeBron has had instances this year where he has sat out due to rest. When it comes to situations like that, I feel that an MVP has to bring it every night in the regular season in order to receive a regular season award. This rest that LeBron is using is for the long term results which is better endurance and rest for the playoffs.
This is also the same LeBron James who has won every one of his rings with a lot of talent around him. When it comes to a guy like James Harden, who is putting up better numbers than LeBron James, his team has gone 27-9, which is 3rd in the West. The team around him involves no other All-Star talents, so for him to put the Rockets in the best position they have seen in years, is great to see.
For Russell Westbrook, his numbers speak for themselves. As the triple-double machine, he has very much made the case to become the MVP. It is a tough situation for him because if he does not put up a triple-double, the team is usually at a disadvantage and struggles to find scoring elsewhere.
If I had to pick right now, it’s Russell Westbrook, but if Harden and the Rockets stay near the top of the West, look out for Harden to steal the crown.
2. Give the Bucks and Giannis some credit…PLEASE!
There are three teams in the NBA with a top 10 offensive and defensive rating, usually the sign of a contender: Golden State, San Antonio, and Utah. The one exception of this? The Bucks were apart of those three teams until they just dropped to 11th in defensive rating. Nevertheless, the Bucks have been a decent team this year. At 17-14 their record is not astounding by any means, but they find a way to get quality wins.
They (somewhat) stopped Russell Westbrook on Monday Night as he was held to 9-28 shooting, but still got 30 points of his own. Milwaukee scored at will in the paint, to the tune of 54 points there. Led by 26 points on 19 shots from Giannis Antetokounmpo he was 7-of-10 in the paint. Giannis is finally getting the national credit he deserves as a tall point guard.
It’s going to be dunks like this that will turn more heads in the future.
Yeah, he’s pretty good.
3. What’s happening to the New York Knicks?
After being torched by the Orlando Magic offense by letting up 115 points, and now losers of five in a row, you could say that the Knicks are at the rock bottom of their season.
In a quote from head coach Jeff Hornacek, the Knicks need to find a way to play better defense:
“I don’t think our guys aren’t trying — maybe they’re not capable… Maybe play some other guys and mix the lineup somehow. We have to find someone to play some defense.”
It is bad news for the organization if the coach is calling out team effort. It can light a fire under the team, but when you sign Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, you would think things would go down the road of a “win now” mindset. Well, the Knicks are far from winning any time soon, and it seems that their team chemistry is going down hill.
The Knicks got lucky and Porzingis fell to them in the draft, but beyond that the rest of the guys they are spending on for years to come, like Carmelo and Noah, are no longer term answer. They have to start building around Porzingis in the future and it seems like they will be a year behind that initiative.