Welcome to the Rundown! Today I will be going over the top stories of the weekend, and making my picks for tonights games.
Whats wrong with the Cavs?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a cold 3-4 start to the season, which begs the question, why? The consensus at the start of the season was that this is the most talented team LeBron James has ever played with, so how could they possibly be sitting at the 10th seed in the East at this moment? Well, at first glance, this roster is awesome! Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Jeff Green and Jae Crowder are big names in the NBA and have made huge impacts on teams at some point. That said, Jeff Green’s time as a key player on the Boston Celtics ended years ago. Derrick Rose, once the MVP on the league will likely never return to that form, Crowder is still not a go-to option for an offense and Kevin Love has been a model of inconsistency during his time with the Cavaliers. And sure Isaiah Thomas will be back eventually, but not until likely late January. And when he does come back, it could take a while to mesh with the rest of the group, and who even knows how good he’ll be coming off of this hip injury. Even at his best Thomas isn’t an elite defender, so on the defensive end this team has pretty much reached its’ ceiling. But, in the end, it’s still VERY early in the season, and even though they don’t look like it now, this team is still the best that the Eastern Conference has to offer.
What’s the deal with GSW?
Through seven games, the Golden State Warriors have managed to stay above .500, but just barely, as the team has suffered losses to Houston, Memphis and most recently Detroit last night. The rough start has come even with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both being in the top five in scoring. In the stretch, we’ve seen Curry, Durant and Draymond Green ejected from games, and even seen Curry and Green fined. Even though it’s been a rough start, I’m not selling stock in Golden State, and neither should you. This is still the best team on the planet, with three of the top 10 players in the league. The reserves on this team are quite different, after adding Nick Young, Omri Casspi and Jordan Bell to the mix. One game Young and JaVale McGee might not play, and the next day they could be playing key minutes down he stretch. They’re just getting it figured out, and I don’t think it’ll take long before this team takes off on its usual tear through the rest of the season.
Is Dwight Howard here to stay?
For nearly a decade, Dwight Howard was the most dominating center in the NBA, and it appeared that it was impossible to stop him. Today, the modern NBA is all about setting pace and spacing the floor, and a lot of three pointers. Howard and his back-to-the-basket style of play doesn’t fit well with that, and in the last couple of seasons it has been noticeable. But with a fresh start with Hornets, Superman has been off to a solid start this season, averaging 15.7 PPG and 16.2 RPG, and in the modern NBA that is how the big man is going to survive (without shooting threes.) If Howard can support Kemba Walker, Nic Batum and the rest of the Hornets’ guards, by pulling down rebounds and flushing put-back dunks, he will continue to be effective in a league that seemingly was moving on, and leaving him behind. I personally love that he’s having such a good start. I’ve always loved his game, his power dunks and fun personality should be apart of the game as it continues to evolve.
Are the Twin Towers sustainable?
We just learned how a big guy like Dwight Howard can continue to be effective in a gunslinging league, but can a team build around TWO big men contend for a championship? That’s what Alvin Gentry and the New Orleans Pelicans are trying to figure out. Built around two of the premier bigs in the league, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins the Pelicans have refused to conform to the rest of the league, and refuse to build their roster around three point shooting. And they’re off to a 3-3 start, including a blowout victory over Cleveland on Saturday. But can they sustain a winning atmosphere when the rest of the league wants to run and gun? The assumption is no. A twin towers type of offense hasn’t been effective sense Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum with the Lakers in 2008,2009 and 2010. But those two aren’t responsible for the team’s success, as Kobe Bryant was, of course, the focal point of that offense. Tim Duncan and David Robinson with the Spurs are probably the last two big men who could come out and make a championship without a great set of guards. Cousins and Davis don’t have perimeter support, as the two bigs are probably the best shooters on the team, despite being the post players. As much as I love these two on the floor together, it’s not going to win them a title, but man it should be fun.
Are the Pistons for real?
Once again, it’s early in the season, but the Detroit Pistons are off to a 5-2 start, the best record in the East. They even came up with a huge victory over the Warriors on Sunday, with four of their starters scoring in double figures. Tobias Harris has done a bundle of the scoring so far, but Avery Bradley, who they acquired this summer from Boston, has made a huge different on both ends. This group of Harris, Bradley, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson have a chance to be one of the top defensive teams in the league this season, if that’s what they make the focal point of their style of play. On offense, nobody on the roster is extraordinary, despite Harris having a good season so far, so focusing on offense would be a bullet to the foot for this team. Having five guys on the floor who can guard their position well is a very valuable asset in the East. I’m not sold on the idea that Detroit can contend for a championship, but they could make the East very interesting for the Cavs, Bucks and Celtics.
Picks for tonight: