Another issue of the Bagpipe, another entry of the Good, the Bad, and the Petty of the NBA. The past two weeks have been very eventful in the world’s best league and I just can’t wait to break it all down right here.
Well, the Toronto Raptors are good. Really, really good. They have jumped out to a commanding 9-1 record and sit alone at the top of the Eastern Conference, led by Kawhi Leonard and the ever awesome Kyle Lowry, who is in my top five picks for MVP right now. He has been outstanding. He’s averaging 18 points per-game, while shooting at an incredible 50 percent clip from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. He is in the upper echelon of playmakers in the league, and is dishing out 11.6 assists per-game to only 2.7 turnovers per game. This Raptors team is sensational, and behind the leadership of Kawhi and Lowry, they should be considered real title contenders. I think they are the team to beat in the East.
Another Good is the Warriors. But of course they’re good. They are the team you get when you turn trade logic off on 2k and create a starting five of all 90+ players. The assumption this offseason was that the Warriors were going to run away with this year’s title, and it is looking like that will come to fruition. They are so good that their best three players can just look at one another, talk for a second to decide who is gonna drop 40 that night, and then go out on the court and do it. Which they literally did last week.
The first night was Steph Curry’s night. He scored 51 points against the Wizards with ease. Two nights later Kevin Durant, the world's lankiest snake, threw down 41 on the New York Knicks on the same night the Knicks were so desperately trying to make a good pre-free agency pitch to KD. Ruthless. Then three nights later Klay Thompson decided to join in the festivities and racked up 52 on the Chicago Bulls in a game that at one point looked like it could have ended 215-106, and that is not an exaggeration. The Warriors almost scored 100 points in the first half. So yeah, they’re really good (they are 9-1 and to what team did they lose? That’s right, the mile high boys, my Denver Nuggets.)
The Wizards are horrible. And they shouldn’t be — they have perennial all-star John Wall and modern day Ray Allen (Bradley Beal), but they are horrible. They are 2-7 as of today and their two wins are against a miserable Knicks team and a pretty good Trail Blazers team. Wall and Beal are putting up okay numbers: 21.2 and 23 p.p.g. respectively, but the rest of the team is the problem. Their role players and bench have historically been bad, and this year they have been even more so. Their best bench player is Austin Rivers. That should tell you everything you need to know.
Another team that has gotten off to a horrendous start is the Houston Rockets. James Harden is still amazing, but he has only played 5 of their first 8 games. The Rockets have been losing games because their 24th best offense in the league has just not been able to score enough points to keep up with their opponents. I fully expect this team to get back on track once they figure out how to properly utilize the new players they acquired in the off-season (Marquese Chriss/Carmelo Anthony), or if they can convince Tom Thibodeau to trade them Jimmy Butler and then they will get real good, real fast.
IS THAT JOEL EMBIID’S MUSIC I HEAR? Yes, yes it is. The crown prince of pettiness was in his BAG this week at the expense of Detroit's own Andre Drummond. The two seven-footers have a history of hating each other and showing it clearly on the court, and of course on social media after the games. This installment of the rivalry was particularly petty. After Embiid scored 39 points on Drummond’s head, while also nearly fouling Drummond out of the game, Joel went straight to Twitter. He tweeted out “I own a lot of real estate in @andredrummondd head and I’m on my way to build more #Bum #TheProcess” with pictures of the two facing off on the court accompanied with two more pictures of Embiid pushing a wheelbarrow full of bricks and a picture of him shooting a jump shot over Drummond’s head. Drummond got toasted on and off the court, but what are you gonna expect when you’re matched up against the Petty Prince?