Kevin Reyes (@enanokev785) and Spencer Nolette (@shpennnyy)
Throughout this NBA season, there have been a couple of surprises for both teams and players alike. With this said, I, along with Spencer, bring you another weekly installment in which we’ll be looking at some teams and players that have caught our attention throughout the week, for both positive or negative reasons: our Stand Out Teams/Players of the Week.
It happened: after one year, Carmelo Anthony is finally onan NBA roster. The Portland Trail Blazers are struggling to the tune of a 5-9 record; plus having injuries in their frontcourt opened up the perfect spot for Carmelo to fill in at the power forward position. His first game back against the Pelicans was a little shaky(10pts, 4reb and 1blk on 4-14 shooting from the field); while his second game was a solid one against one of the best all-around units in the league in the Bucks (18pts, 7reb and 4ast on 6-15 shooting). A little rust is to be expected from someone who hasn’t played at this level for more than a year. Expect him to pick things up when he gets in rhythm. He’ll auditioning for a contender next season.
When the news came out that Justise Winslow was going to be out for some time there were concerns in South Beach because they lost their main facilitator, someone who did it all for the first games of the season and the team’s leader in minutes. However, in his absence, Jimmy Butler has become the team’s main passer, and Duncan Robinson has jumped on the opportunity to start and turned Miami’s starting unit into one of the best in the NBA. He knows when to cut, is a great shooter and defender, and plays well in the Heat’s system. In his last five games, Duncan is averaging 15pts on 50/45 shooting, and previously had a couple of 20+ point games in the starting lineup. He’s become a great player after being a relatively unknown high school prospect and NCAA player With how he’s played recently he has made a legitimate argument to remain in the starting lineup when Winslow comes back, and that’s a good dilemma to have if you’re Erik Spoelstra.
San Antonio Spurs
Wow, wow and wow. Who would’ve thought reading this upcoming sentence would make logical sense: the Spurs suck. The Gregg Popovich-led team started out the season 3-0 and would later be 5-3, but since that point they’ve lost eight consecutive games. Trade rumors surrounding their stars have come out and the question needs to be asked if this is how Pop’s all-time great coaching career will end. Offense hasn’t been a problem with the play of DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Dejounte Murray and company, but rather their defense has been atrocious. On one hand, I’m confident a Popovich-led Spurs can still turn this ship around, but being three games back of the eight seed in the West to start in the season is a tough hole to climb out of.
Thursday night the Bucks beat the Trail Blazers 137-129 in regulation time. Long story short, no defense was really a big factor in this game. But I will tell you what, the Greek Freak had himself a show for the fans of Milwaukee. Giannis notched his second triple-double of the season with 24 points, 19 rebounds, and a career high 15 assists. With all the Luka hype, which is well deserved, I hope people aren’t forgetting how unreal this man is. Giannis is an offensive machine and he’s taking steps to improve on his 3 point shooting. Giannis is rolling and the Bucks are rolling on a 6 game win streak, and in their last 10 games are 9-1 and currently are 1st place in the Eastern Conference. This team is HOT.
DiVincenzo has gotten inconsistent playing time last season in his rookie year as well as at the start of this season. But that all changed when Khris Middleton went down with an injury, and someone had to step up. Mike Budenholzer gave Donte more playing time, and he excelled in it: he’s started the last five games and has averaged 12pts, 5reb, 2ast and 2stl on 51/37/75 splits. He’s also scored 10+ points in four of those games and 14+ in three, and has had a positive +/- in four of the five games (in the game he had a negative was a -1 against the Hawks). Like Duncan Robinson, he’s turned himself into a solid contributor on one of the best teams in the East, and has made a legitimate argument to remain in the rotation when the Bucks get healthy.
These two things are true: First, yes the Wizards are thrash and have to rebuild. But also, Bradley Beal is having a great campaign that can’t be ignored. Beal is currently averaging 30pts,4reb and 7ast on 47/35/82 shooting. He’s scored 30+ points in his last five games (averaging 37/4/8 on 57/47/86 splits during that span), and is the sole reason as to why the Wizards have some semblance of national media attention. Sure, the fact that the Wizards are forgettable outside of Bradley explains why not everyone is aware of Beal’s insane scoring on a team where the second best player is Thomas Bryant; but even then, the fact that his insane play is being normally ignored should be considered a crime.
After starting the season 0-5 and Luke Walton being already scrutinized, the Kings have slowly turned things around by winning six of their last nine, even while playing most of those games without De’Aaron Fox or Marvin Bagley. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield have picked up the scoring load, Richaun Holmes has filled in nicely in Bagley’s spot, and Cory Joseph has provided good all-around play in the point guard position while playing heavy minutes with Fox out. I predicted Sacramento to be in the playoffs, and seeing them play up to their potential for the last nine games seems encouraging.
Golden State Warriors
I mean, what a wild turn around for this year’s Golden State team. Last year, being in the Finals and now being the worst team in the NBA. I know this team is riddled with injuries with their top guys so it makes sense to see a bit of regression. But holy moly this team is pretty much a G-League team at this moment. On Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks, the game was over pretty much before it began. This team lost by 46 points, no team should be losing by 46 points in the NBA. Pretty much unless one of they’re top guys come back soon this season is pretty much on the fritz and should be a forgettable season.
What stood out to you in this past week of the NBA season? Let us know by tagging @the_BRKDWN in your tweet!