Taking a look at some of the NBA’s most storied headlines and determining if they are facts, or fiction.
With the new year right around the corner, and roughly 30 games played per team in this new NBA season, we are already looking at one of the most interesting seasons in a while. After one of, if not the most active and watched off-season in NBA history, the league has met expectations in just the first quarter of the season.
We have already seen the Russ vs. KD fued reignited, Lonzo make history, and “The Process” finish processing, and we are still two weeks away from Christmas. Lets take a look at some of the top storylines in the NAB so far, and determine whether they are fact, or fiction.
OKC’s Struggles Will Continue — Fiction
Oklahoma City was buzzing all summer with trade rumors, and they undoubtedly made the biggest splash by trading for both Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony to team up with Westbrook. It was expected that there would be growing pains, but what was not expected, was a 12–14 record, with some alarming losses to Orlando, Sacramento, Utah, Charlotte, and even Dallas. The Thunder currently are the 9th in the west, and they have shown some clear frustration with how their season has panned out so far.
What is alarming is that the three stars, Westbrook, PG, and Melo have all found ways to be effective and efficient, they are all playing relatively well. However, the rest of the team has not adapted well to having PG and Melo added to the mix cause it has changed the identity of the team on both ends of the floor. This points the issue at the head coach, Billy Donovan. Donovan has basically taken hero, or iso ball, to a whole
new level. He has three superstars on one team, and still can’t seem to really seem to get the ball moving. Each time down the floor, it’s either Westbrook creating in some way, or Melo/PG on the wing/perimeter creating a shot. This renders anyone on the floor with the big three to be stagnant, and ineffective. The thunder are currently playing 3 v 5 nearly every time down on offense, and the lack of a structured and effective offense is keeping this team from being an above .500 team, let alone a contender. If Donovan cannot find a way to structure a real offense, which allows other players on the team to be effective, OKC’s struggles will likely continue, and this season will be over before they know it, as will Donovan’s time in Oklahoma City.
The Lakers are starting to worry about Lonzo Ball — Fact
Lonzo is a bust — Fiction
This headline being labeled as a fact will likely cause many to overreact. Yes, Lonzo is just 20, he’s showed glimpses of tons of talent, and he needs time to grow… I’ve heard/seen it all. But the reality is simple, people are giving this kid a pass for his poor start because of “the pressure his dad has put on him”, when in reality, he has welcomed it. I’m not saying that the Lakers are getting worried because they see Lonzo as a bust, or a talentless basketball player, but because he simply does not play with any passion, and lacks the drive to be a leader. Why would that be an issue? It’s simple, the Lakers organization, and their fans, need a superstar that is tough, passionate, and an unquestioned leader. This is the culture that organization has inherited over the past 30+ years.
Lonzo came into the league as a “transcendent talent”, a “revolutionary player”, that could “change the game of basketball”, and he could still be all of those things. But he has had arguably the historically worst start to a career in history, is often passive, is struggling to get his shot off, and is absolutely awful on the defensive end. I am not judging Lonzos talent level based on his first 20 some games and neither are the Lakers. But his lack of leadership, passion, and his passive tendencies are all red flags (as of now).
The 76ers are a team that nobody wants to see in the playoffs: Fact
If any team has made a clear cut statement in the first 25 games, it’s been the 76ers. Sitting at 13–9, which is good for 5th in the Eastern Conference, Ben Simmons, and the young nucleus in Philadelphia, have shown everyone that they cannot be taken lightly. They boast a team whose only weakness is inexperience, and that has been overshadowed by their impressive amounts of talent. Simmons and Embid are playing at an all-star level (both at this point, deserve starter consideration), while players like Covington, Saric, and even McConnell have shown that they have real game. They are achieving all of this without getting a true glimpse of Markelle Fultz, who they are hopeful, can improve their perimeter scoring and be a nice compliment to a well established JJ Redick.
This team is built to compete at a very high level, and they are wasting no time in doing so. Once the playoffs roll around, this team could cause serious problems for any team they play, including the top teams like the Cavs or Celtics. Their talent, poise, and physicality are all going to be a nightmare for whoever they face come April.
The Warriors are worse than last year — LOL
They have the same starting lineup as last year, held on to all of their major role players, and they improved their bench significantly… They’re just bored… this shouldn’t be a headline.