Ok, ok, so the season is well underway. In NBA terms, though, it's finally working up a sweat. More and more, NBA teams, especially the veteran laden, seem to coast through the first month or two of matchups. This brings a good bit of unpredictability to the forefront during the first quarter of the season. Lebron lead Cavs teams may lose five of six to league bottom feeders. Steph Curry might start the season with an ice cold jumper. A newly rebuilt OKC starscape may struggle to stay above .500. These improbababilities were realities early on in the 2017-2018 campaign.
It's only after the all-star break, really, when trends become storylines that can define a season. As we near that mark and a star-studded Christmas Day ledger of games, the Thunder still seem to misplaced their game, Steph is on the shelf to try and repair his, and the Cavs have righted the ship. Nothing is forever in today's NBA- except Lebron James.
With January on the horizon, the MVP race has already boiled down to two beasts of the hardwood. James Harden and The King are primed to duel it out on nightly stat sheets until the last whistle of the regular season. At this current pace, there's no way James isn't rewarded with this fifth trophy, in his astoundly strong fifteenth season. Harden will have to wait another year for his.
Those same Cavs, lead by the once and future King, that are again the class of the East. Kevin Love has risen nicely into the lead scorer's role, even with LeBron putting up almost 30 a night. Dwayne Wade looks fresh and is receiving regular rest to remain so. A man who finished fifth in MVP voting joins their lineup next month for another dose of high quality entertainment.
Much can and has been said about Kyrie's new crew in Boston. They've outplayed expectations, to be sure, after losing Gordon Hayward on opening night. Kyrie knows it's a long season, their young core will need to mature quickly as the season progresses to pose a real challenge to the veteran laden team on Lake Erie.
It's Harden's Rockets that pose the most serious threat to the juggernaut Warriors out West. Luckily for the rest of the league, they are the most serious threat the boys by the bay have seen since Durant wimpe- er, signed with them. It remains to be seen whether or not they have the firepower to make a seven game series interesting, and whether Harden can bring his uber efficient regular season game into the more physical playoff weeks and months.
Although the league is top heavy, and has been in recent years, the level of intrigue in amid the lower ranks makes many a weeknight game must-see-tv. Jimmy Butler has, as expected, launched the Timberwolves into contention, even if he and the rest of the Minnesota starters have to go forty minutes a night.
Lonzo Ball has played better than this blogger expected he would, helping to make the Lakers an exciting young watch. Giannis has expanded his game exponentially, and, at this rate, would seem to be on pace to be a super LeBron soon. Surprising winning efforts are being made in Orlando and Indianapolis, while the aforementioned Thunder and Wizards wallow in mediocrity for the time being.
With all of that said, the biggest, almost literally, story in the NBA is Joel Embiid and his upstart 76ers. Not only is he the real deal, Dream 2.0, but Ben Simmons is even better than advertised, combining that lauded Lonzo coolness with Carmelo's size and Kidd's vision. The kids are growing up fast and they're a blast to watch play.
As the playoff picture sorts itself out, we inch closer to an all-star game that finally promises some intrigue. The top vote getter in each conference will choose teams in a draft, regardless of conference affiliation. Excitement has since dampened, however, with news that the draft and its order would not be made public. Here's to hoping a good ol' fashioned Twitter outrage changes the commissioners plan to hide all of that dripping drama.