General NBA

15 Takeaways 15 Days into the 2019-20 Season

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In what many people viewed as perhaps the most anticipated NBA season in many years, just fifteen days in, NBA fans have already been treated to a slew of intriguing headlines and sub-stories. In no order, here are fifteen takeaways and storylines that us fans have been treated to so far.

1. Worrisome Warriors

With the flurry of moves that the Golden State Warriors had to endure this offseason, expectations were still very high for the defending Western Conference Champions. Going into the season with Klay Thompson looking like he would be out for, if not the entire season, very close to it, Golden State added all-star guard D’Angelo Russell to assist Steph Curry and Draymond Green in maintaining the greatness of the Warriors. However, the beginning of this season has been far from “great.” With Curry out indefinitely after a nasty fall which resulted in a broken hand, D’Angelo Russell has been battling an apparent ankle injury, and Draymond Green tearing a ligament in his finger and missing the past few games, the Warriors have been scratching and clawing for warm bodies to take the floor. While they did manage to squeak out a win with a decimated lineup against the Portland Trail Blazers, it will be interesting to see how long they can survive in a powerhouse Western Conference.

2. Lakers Proving Doubters Wrong

If there was any doubting King James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers before the season started, it is very hard to be skeptical of them still. Ranking as the best defense in the NBA and with James and Davis both playing at MVP levels, it is looking like the Lakers are the early favorite to finish atop the Western Conference. Currently, the Lakers are at 6-1 and the top dog in the Western Conference following a three-game, road-winning streak where James recorded three straight triple doubles.

3. Dwight Howard’s Resurgence

One of the biggest question marks that the Lakers faced going into this season was the depth of their bench and who would step up when Anthony Davis and LeBron James needed a breather. Thus far, Dwight Howard has been the answer to this question. Averaging 7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and shooting nearly 80% off the bench, Howard has shown flashes of his old self all while looking healthy, active, and ecstatic in his current situation.

4. Zion Williamson’s Debut Delayed

Arguably the biggest college prospect in NBA history, Zion Williamson had his NBA debut delayed due to having a “sore right knee.” The focal point of the New Orleans Pelicans’ organization has been sidelined through the team’s first seven games and there still is no definite timetable for his return to the court. The NBA had placed the Pelicans on a plethora of primetime games anticipating huge rating numbers given the rookie’s following and now both the Pelicans and the entire NBA is hoping for a speedy, successful recovery for the rookie sensation.

5. Brandon Ingram Looking Like a New Player

As one of the pieces in the deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers, Brandon Ingram seems to have found a home in New Orleans and after struggling to reach his full potential in Los Angeles, he has exceeded any and all expectations thus far in the young NBA season. Currently posting a monster line of 26 ppg/7 rpg/4 apg while shooting 55% from the field, Ingram has allowed the Pelicans to remain competitive even while they are without their biggest star.

6. Phoenix Suns Shining

After failing to post a winning record since the 2013-14 season, the Phoenix Suns have shocked NBA fans thus far and are currently sitting at 5-2 and tied for second in the Western Conference. Young superstar Devin Booker has shown great maturity in his already very impressive game while posting 26ppg/5apg/4rpg on 54% shooting from the field and 50% from three. While Booker’s skill has never been in question, the supporting cast surrounding him has always been shaky at best. This year however, Monty Williams has the Suns supporting cast including Dario Saric, Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Aron Baynes and more playing exceptionally well. The Suns will be a very interesting team to follow going forward to see if they can keep their impressive play up to this level.

7. Karl-Anthony Towns Looking Like an Elite Big Man

Posting a monster line of 27ppg/4apg/12rpg on 54% shooting from the field and 53% from three, Karl-Anthony Towns has emerged as one of the elite big men in the NBA. While he was always regarded as an all-star caliber big, he has now put himself in the first team NBA conversation if he can keep this very impressive start going.

8. Trae Young Taking Massive Leap

We see many times players that have amazing college careers make it to the NBA and struggle to translate their game and many people felt that Trae Young would fall into this category as well. And thus far, he has done the exact opposite. Aside from being briefly injured this year, Young has led a young Atlanta Hawks team to 3-3 while posting a line of 27ppg/8apg/4rpg on 49% shooting from the field and 50% from three. Early on, the Hawks look to be one of the teams that will take the next step into playoff contention in the East.

9. Free Bradley Beal

The 2-4, new-look, Washington Wizards are currently one of the fringe playoff teams in the East that are riding on the back of their young star, Bradley Beal. An elite defender that has elevated his offensive game to an all-star level in the past couple years, Beal needs help, there is no way else to put it. Beal has said that he doesn’t want to leave Washington, and with the current salary situation being limited with John Wall’s injury situation, it would be nice to see Beal be “freed” and play on a true contender, or even be given another star to compete with in Washington.

10. Rockets Struggling With Russ

Arguably the biggest move in the entire offseason was the Houston Rockets’ acquisition of former MVP and all-time great point guard, Russell Westbrook. James Harden and Westbrook played together in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and now the two of them decided to team up again and contend for a championship. Thus far into the season however, the dynamic duo have posted very impressive individual numbers but have failed to translate these numbers into wins. Immediately following the blockbuster trade, question arose about how well the two ball dominant guards would be able to play with one another and now these questions continue to rage on.

11. Raptors Look Impressive Without Kawhi

It is very rare to see a team lose a superstar and still be able to contend and that is exactly what the Toronto Raptors have done so far. Sitting at 4-2 right now, Nick Nurse has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the entire league and has the cast of Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and others playing like the defending champions that they are.

12. Doncic and Porzingis Are an Elite Duo

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were widely regarded as the best young duo in all the league as soon as the Dallas Mavericks acquired the “Unicorn” from the New York Knicks. The duo has done nothing but impress thus far into the season, with Doncic especially looking like a potential MVP candidate, putting up numbers such as 27ppg/10rpg/10rpg. The duo also faced off with the Lakers in a potential game-of-the-year candidate where Doncic battled with LeBron James in a losing, but very impressive showdown just a few nights ago.

13. Jazz Are Not Grooving

Yet another team that made flurry of moves this offseason, the Utah Jazz have been a bit of a disappointment so far. Their “big three” of newly acquired Mike Conley alongside Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have shown that they need time to gel still. Coach Quinn Snyder has a strong emphasis on his team’s defense and while they let up a very impressive 96 points per game to opponents, their offensive struggles have them with their heads just above water at 4-3.

14. Kings Taking a Step Backwards

The Kings are coming off a very impressive leap forward in their team’s progression in a 2018-19 season where they found themselves as the 9th seed in the West– just outside of the playoffs. And with the anticipated, continued growth of Buddy Hield, De’dAaron Fox, and others, the Kings were looking like they were going to be a contender for the playoffs in the West. Right now, the Kings are currently 2-5 and technically in 12th in the Western Conference, and have a bad loss against the clearly tanking Charlotte Hornets on their schedule. New coach, Luke Walton, will look to bounce his young team back and reach their goals of contending for a playoff spot this season.

15. Questions About Kyrie’s Leadership Continue

Kyrie Irving, arguably one of the most odd players in the entire NBA, has always faced questions about his leadership on the court, even from his days on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, stepping into a “win-now” situation and as “the-guy” on the Brooklyn Nets, Irving has not started this season off well. Much like Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Irving has posted terrific numbers in each game this year, but has found it hard to translate these numbers into the win column. Sitting at 3-4 in the Eastern Conference, the Nets will look for Irving and the rest of the team to step it up and start to play less hero ball and more team basketball going forward.

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