A couple of weeks into the 2018-’19 NBA season and there have already been countless shocks and surprises. The Houston Rockets and LeBron James-led Lakers currently rank amongst the lower half of the teams in the Western Conference. Derrick Rose dropped 50 the other night and it isn’t 2010. Jimmy Butler is still currently on the Timberwolves and the Sacramento Kings are the six seed in the West right now.
This season has been wildly entertaining through about ten games so far, but should still be kept in perspective. We’re only ten games in and there’s a lot of basketball to be played. So let’s take a step back, no pun intended, and realize the season is young and bound to look different in the coming weeks and months.
With that being said, here are some of the top overreactions of the 2018-’19 NBA season till this point.
The Washington Wizards need to blow it up? As a team brimming with talent all over the place,the early issues the Wizards have faced can only be described as perplexing. Sitting at an embarrassing 1-7 through their first eight games, the Wizards look terrible right now. Boasting the League’s second worst defensive efficiency rating at 1.130, while allowing opposing teams to put up 124 points a night, the Wizards are essentially the worst defensive team in the NBA. To make matters worse, there are rumors surfacing about chemistry issues in the Washington locker room, specifically stemming from the high number of upcoming free-agents on the roster.
For about four seasons now, the NBA community has consistently been waiting on the Wizards to make their official arrival and statement as one of the top teams in the East. At this point, after seasons of disappointment and the threat of imminent stagnation or decline, many believe the Wizards need to begin trading away their big pieces and begin a rebuild phase. With guy’s like John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, and some young talent like Oubre Jr., there is no doubt the Washington organization can make some major moves. But the question is, should they blow up the entire thing right now?
My Verdict: I think this is a slight overreaction, with the operative word being slight. I think that if I’m in charge in the Wizards front office, I’m waiting till right before the All-Star Break to see if this dumpster-fire of a team can’t work itself out. Bradley Beal is too talented to trade away right now and John Wall is only 27 years old, so I’m giving them at least a half season to see if they can work things out and get the offense going at a more efficient rate. Give this team a bit more time to see if they can finally reach their potential in the weak Eastern Conference, but understand that the clock has been ticking on this team for years, and it may have just run out.
Luke Walton should be fired? Right now, at 3-5, the Lakers aren’t looking like a top notch LeBron James led team. Like any other LeBron team that doesn’t come out of the gates 7-2, this is going to put some pressure on everyone in the organization and the head coach in particular.
Here’s where Luke Walton comes in; a young coach who sucessfully built a team culture in L.A. last year, on his way to helping the Lakers on their road back to relevancy. Now on the hot-seat for not being a top seed in the West already, people are already calling for Walton’s head. Rumors of Magic Johnson and Walton’s one-on-one meeting don’t help much either.
My Verdict: This is easily an overreaction and should be shut down immediately. Historically, LeBron’s teams usually need a good bit of time before they are fully adjusted and ready to win. This was the case in Miami, the case when LBJ returned to Cleveland, and it is the case now as the King suits up in purple and gold. The Lakers also have some issues they are still addressing as a team and as a defensive/offensive unit, issues I am confident will be corrected and improved upon as the season continues. So please, give Luke Walton some time to figure out all of his sets and schemes, as well as some time to adjust to being the head-coach of the best player in the world.
Are the Sacramento Kings Good? The 21st century has not been an easy one for the Sacramento Kings organization. After finding some great success in the early 2000’s with those exciting Chris Webber/Mike Bibby/Peja Stojakovic led teams, it has been difficult for the Kings to reclaim anything even close to their former glory days. Well, finally, after years and years of anticipation, the King’s are back.
Led by one of the NBA’s greatest minds and coaches in Dave Joerger, the Kings have taken major leaps this year as a team on both sides of the ball. Joerger has the young Kings in Sac-Town running all over the floor on defense, and it is yielding wonderous results. Sacramento holds opponents to the fifth worst shooting percentage from three (32.9), while also boasting the 16th best defensive efficiency as a team through nine games. Much of this staunch defense has come on the road as well, a good sign for a young team working to create a culture.
On the other side of the ball, the Kings are scoring the fourth most points in the NBA per game right now at 120 a night, while also shooting above 50% as a team from the field, second only to noneother than the Golden State Warriors.
My Verdict: While I won’t officially say the Kings are a Playoff lock or that some of their numbers won’t slip as the season progresses, I think they are back as an organization. With De’Aaron Fox emerging as the focal point of a promising young core, along with the development of Willie Cauly-Stein and Buddy Hield, this team is building a strong group of dangerous players more than equipped for today’s game. Joerger is the perfect coach for these guys and seems to have everyone on the roster from top to bottom motivated and ready to begin winning as a team. Shoutout to you if you’re a Kings fan because these guys are up next.
Images courtesy Google.com
Stats courtesy TeamRankings.com