Welcome to The Rundown! Today I take a look at the top stories around the league, make predictions for tonight’s action and pick my Player of the Night.
Can Kristaps Porzingis lead this Knicks team to the playoffs?
This is an interesting topic. After the Carmelo Anthony trade, I thought it would be a safe bet that this team continued to tank for draft picks, while wasting the potential of Porzingis. However, so far this season, Porzingis isn’t letting that happen. Averaging 30 PPG, the “unicorn” has led the Knicks to sixth place in the East so far, and doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down anytime soon. Can you imagine of Melo had handed over the reigns sooner? It honestly makes me question the legacy Melo had in New York. I was a firm believer that he could lead the team to success, and it was Phil Jackson holding the franchise back, but maybe it was a team effort. But that said, Porzingis has been super fun to watch so far, and I imagine will be a lock for his first All-Star game this year, so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride.
How big was Philly’s win against Utah last night?
I know the Jazz aren’t the best team around, but they are a solid team on the defensive end, so a win, especially without Joel Embiid who sat out last night (load management) is awesome news for the 76ers. It shows that Ben Simmons is able to lead this group to victory, without the team’s second star Embiid. Simmons, who is the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year so far, has been all-around awesome in his rookie season and looks dominant. So for me, last night’s win was a pretty big one for Phily.
Favorite rookie so far, besides Simmons?
I’m 100% sold on Ben Simmons. Anyone who knows me is aware of that. That said, if I had to pick another rookie to be excited about this year, I would have to say John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks. Collins has been fairly productive this year, averaging 10.5 PPG, 7 REB and just over one block. He has been a rebounding machine, and makes a huge difference for this rebuilding Atlanta team with his offensive rebounding. He’s no Simmons, but Hawks fans should definitely be excited about their young Power Forward.
Any doubt The Greek Freak is the MVP so far?
Before the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo was challenged by NBA great Kobe Bryant to win the MVP. So far, it’s his for the taking. Giannis is leading the league in scoring and is doing it while shooting 60% from the field, which is insane. At 6’10 he’s able to run the floor like a point guard, rebound like a center and the man gathers for his dunks at the three point line. He is indeed a freak. Defensively, his length has been helpful, averaging almost two blocks per game, including an off-the-glass block on LeBron last night. He has been fun to watch and I don’t think many people would choose anyone else to win the MVP as of right now.
Player of the Night: Kristaps Porzngis – 28 PTS, 10-15 from the field, 4-8 from three, including a clutch three.
Predictions for tonight:
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow, for the top stories from around The Association.