I had waited for last Tuesday night with baited breath since the middle of June when the best league in American sports crowned a new champion in the Golden State Warriors. For me, the NBA season offers a new hobby to obsess over as I hang up the golf clubs and quit my daily binge-watching and following of the PGA Tour.
One of the worst things to do in sports is to make up your mind and try to find trends based on a small sample size, but some things become clear quickly this season. As most teams have finished their first three games, four things have become very clear in my mind:
This is Steph Curry’s league: Okay, I admit it, I stole this quote from the detestable undersized power forward, Draymond Green, but this time I actually agree with him. Through three games, the Warriors have absolutely rolled and Steph has played as if he is in a video game. The reigning MVP has averaged 39.3 points, 7.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals a game all while having a PER of 52.35. All these numbers will likely come down to earth eventually, but one thing is for certain, for now Stephen is the best player in the NBA, again.
The Lakers absolutely stink: After a year where the Lakers’ record dipped to an atrocious 21-61, there was a sort of quiet optimism from many people that expected a bit of a turnaround. With a healthy Kobe Bryant, the acquisitions of Roy Hibbert and Drake’s favorite sixth man, Lou Williams, and number two overall draft pick D’Angelo Russell, Laker-land seemed vastly improved. Boy were we wrong. Kobe seems to be locked in a tussle with Father Time and is hard set on not allowing his game to age gracefully, but rather wants to continue to chuck horrible shots with his signature scowl on his face. All the additions have been a terrible fit so far, and the other team in L.A. is primed for another high lottery pick next summer.
James Harden’s Rockets might be in trouble: Coming back in an epic way to reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1997 had many Rockets fans thrilled for the beginning of the 2015-2016 NBA season. Harden was pleased to have some of his ball handling duties taken away with the arrival of point guard Ty Lawson, but the new backcourt is off to an abysmal start to the season, and Dwight Howard is hurt again. I am not ready to jump ship entirely with this team and say that they are in danger of missing the playoffs, but calling this team “title contenders” seems to be a huge stretch considering their early season showing.
- There are two teams that stand above the rest: Perhaps the hardest claim to make based off of so few games, but I believe that the 2016 NBA Finals will be… the exact same one as in 2015. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have a certain level that they can achieve that I think will be very difficult to beat in a 7 game series. Golden State and Steph have picked up right where they left off last season and have been destroying teams every night. The Cavaliers also have looked impressive and are licking their chops waiting for their already deep team to get deeper when Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving return from injury. I loved the addition of Mo Williams to give the Cavaliers a solid backup point guard and a human insurance policy to the injury-prone Irving. The addition of Williams is also an insurance for fans that we will no longer need to have our eyes bleed while watching Matthew Dellavedova play hideous basketball.