Week ten on the schedule means were nearing the Christmas day games and it’s shaping up to be an exciting week. Kawai Leonard has looked good since his return last week vs the Dallas. Even with him on a minute’s restriction it is better than 35 minutes of Rudy Gay making the Spurs happy about their star player returning to action. Portland is in trouble after lofty expectations at the start of the season; the Blazers are banged up right now and need a jolt of life into this roster. Otherwise, expect them to make a trade moving depth for a veteran on an expiring contract.
Minnesota is a mess: Heading into the season the Timberwolves were expected to compete for a division title and a top four seed in the Western Conference. Instead they look putrid on defense, the starters are playing too many minutes wondering if they will walk in five years, the bench is awful with nobody developing like they should Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is not giving Tyus Jones consistent minutes in the mid 20’s is inconceivable when Jones is a better fit than Jeff Teague in that offense. All it’s going to take is one major injury to Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony Towns or Andrew Wiggins for Thibodeau’s job to be in jeopardy. If Minnesota doesn’t figure out their defensive problems soon then they could either be a low seed and get crushed by Golden State or out of the playoffs all together.
Ben Simmons will win Rookie of the Year: With the combination of knowing what his weaknesses are and how good the Sixers are playing this is Simmons award to lose. The effortless of running the offense and his ability to get to the rim is impeccable, put it all together and you have another Penny and Shaq combination with Joel Embiid brewing in Philly making Sam Hinkie look like a genius with each passing day. When Utah brought Donovan Mitchell in for a pre-draft workout in the summer, they were blown away to the point where the owner of the team was telling each staffer if you tell people in the league about this kid then your fired as he was half joking. The Jazz will reap the benefits for years to come since they won’t need to draft a point guard and can focus on Mitchell’s development. With an all-star caliber center in Rudy Gobert signed long term they will be the foundation of a good team down the road even if the rest of the roster doesn’t have much upside.
Resurgence in Indiana: Victor Oladipo has hit the league like a sonic boom this season. Putting up career numbers across the board and has the Pacers looking like an unexpected playoff team that is a remarkable story this season. Myles Turner has struggled at times this season; despite this Turner is still an excellent modern-day center that has the rare combination of elite shot blocking and an improving three-point shot. There is a ton of credit that needs to go to Head Coach Nate McMillan who is well known for this defense has adapted well to the modern-day NBA. The Pacers have the perfect combination going for them with two good playmakers (Oladipo and Turner) a hot three-point shooter (Bojan Bogdanovic) a good enough starting point-guard (Darren Collison) and finally a player who can guard multiple positions and provide enough offense where defensive's must put a guy on him and not play four on five (Thaddeus Young). If Indiana continues this pace they will make the playoffs and be a tough out for a team like Toronto or Washington in the first round and maybe even pull off the upset.