NBA Mid-Season Report
The NBA just had its All-Star Weekend and is on break at the moment. The regular season will resume Thursday, February 21st. Before the season continues, lets take a look back at the first half of the season. Who is the best team? Which team has been the biggest disappointment? Which players are in the running for MVP? Lets explore those questions.
THE BEST TEAM
The NBA world expected the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, or the Boston Celtics to have the best record in the NBA. But, none of those teams are on top. The Milwaukee Bucks are the leaders of the NBA. They have the best record in the league (43-14). They are in the top ten in both offense and defense, led by their young All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks were expected to finish one of the top four teams in just the Eastern Conference. But, they have exceeded and changed expectations. The Bucks will continue their winning ways as five out of their next seven games are against teams below. 500.
Honorable Mention: Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors
MOST SURPRISING TEAM
Every year in the NBA, there is a few teams who overachieve and surprises everyone. So far this year, that team is the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are a young team for the most part, but their youth is carrying them to new heights. The Nuggets are currently second in the Western Conference. They are lead by Nikola Jokic. In this fourth season, Jokic is averaging 20.4 points per and 10.6 rebounds per game. Also, point guard Jamal Murray’s improved play has been uplifting. Credit should be given to Head Coach Mike Malone as well. He has build the Nuggets into a strong contender for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM
Along with surprising teams, there are teams who fall below expectations. The most disappointing team right now is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are still figuring things out, but many expected their record to be better. Currently, the Lakers are 28-29, which has them three games out of the playoffs. Injury has played a huge part in their ineptitude. Also, the Lakers have played a tough schedule so far. But, everyone is healthy now. The Lakers cannot afford to lose. Only 25 games remain on their schedule. Missing the playoffs will be a huge disappointment, especially for LeBron James, who has not missed the playoffs since 2005.
Honorable Mention: Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers
This year’s MVP race has been an exciting one. Their are many players this year who can make a case. The leading candidate is James Harden. Harden has played better than last year, in which he won MVP. Currently, Harden leads the NBA in scoring (36.6). He is tied for fifth in assist (7.7). Also, he leads the NBA in made three pointers and free throws. His biggest highlight is scoring at least 30 points in 31 consecutive games, which tied Wilt Chamberlain for the second longest streak in NBA history. Harden’s historic season has ignited the Rockets after a slow start.
The second leading candidate is Paul George. George is having a career year. In his second season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, George’s 28.7 points per game is his highest average of his career and second in the NBA. Also, he is averaging a career-high 8.0 rebounds per game and 2.3 steals per game. His steals per game average leads the NBA. George has bounced back well after a rough last season and has become the number one option on the Thunder. The Thunder are third in the Western Conference because of George.
Honorable Mention: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid