Thanksgiving has come and gone, and given we’ve all had a chance to digest a lot of food (and plenty of hoops), here’s 5 things we can be thankful for to start this season:
- The Drama surrounding Golden State: They’ve had injuries, in team fighting and impending free agency of one of the best players on the planet! Golden State has been a bit of a mess to start this season. It’s great to see the best team in the league go through a little adversity early on. It’s shown that without Steph Curry, this team isn’t even close to a red-hot favourite to take out the title.
- The Lakers aren’t the best team in L.A: That’s right, the Los Angeles Clippers are the best show in LaLa land. They sit alone at the top of the Western Conference. Tobias Harris has been amazing to watch (and deserves an all-star berth at this rate), as well as the bully ball play of Montrezl Harrell, these guys seem legit. Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also a stud and has taken starting duties away from veteran Patrick Beverley. Beverley and Lou Williams are a fair back court off the bench!
- Toronto are still the best regular season team: Yes, we’ve seen this all before, haven’t we? Toronto are flying at the top of the Eastern Conference just as we saw last year, but they seem so much deeper this year. The addition of Kawhi Leonard has given this team an incredible boost, and the improved play of Siakam and a re-energised Serge Ibaka have this team primed for a big run in the playoffs (happy to declare right now that the Raptors will feature in the Eastern Conference Finals, lock it in!)
- The Play of Ben Simmons: Our very own Ben Simmons is quietly putting together an incredible statistical season. He’s almost averaging a triple double in just his 2nd season, with averages of just about 15 PPG, 8 Assists and just shy of 9 rebounds a night. For someone who doesn’t have a jump shot (yet), that’s extremely impressive. With the addition of Jimmy Butler, it’ll only help Simmons develop a further drive to win and have them in a great position come playoff time!
- The MVP race is still wide open: Last year it was clear that James Harden was winning the MVP, from just about the get go. This season, there are multiple runners staking their claim and you couldn’t argue against any of them currently winning. Giannis has been on a tear and has his Bucks in a great position. Anthony Davis is carrying the Pelicans (and needs a lot of help) otherwise his MVP claims may fall short if they miss the playoffs. Kevin Durant has been putting up monster numbers in Steph’s absence (a 50 burger in Toronto), and you could also make the claim for Curry MVP given they look (and act) like a shade of themselves without him.
With plenty more basketball to come this season I’m sure we will have a lot more to be thankful for!