Early Season Headlines
The season is in full swing, multiple teams still need to gel and come together. The veteran laden teams with good coaches are coming out of the gates to a fast start. Teams like the Clippers, OKC, Boston Toronto, Atlanta and Cleveland are playing great. Then teams like the Sixers, Knicks, Pelicans, Magic, Kings, and Pistons look like they need more work for different reasons why their respective records are not what they expected. Let’s dive into some topics to talk about around the league.
The Indiana Pacers still need time to come together: The Pacers added an infusion of talent during the off-season that will need time to get going. Paul George, Jeff Teague and Monte Ellis are carrying the offense. Myles Turner who got off to a blazing start is cooling off. But don’t sleep on Turner he is a monster in the making and not to be underestimated. The Pacers are sacrificing defense for offense unlike the years under former Head Coach Frank Vogel. When you change philosophies it takes time for the players to adapt. This Pacers team has the weapons to be a top 10 offense they just need to come together and shoot the ball better from three. If this happens this team is better than a vast majority of the other East teams and will be able to make noise come playoff time.
The Orlando Magic are missing a go to player: The Magic can’t shoot the ball from three and don’t have one certain player they can count on in crunch time to be able to put the finishing touches on an opponent. The Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nicola Vucevic front court is not working and needs to be shaken up. Vucevic has to be traded for Rudy Gay, this would fill needs for both teams and lead them to get better. So far Aaron Gordon looks like the only one that is playing like a man possessed to reign terror on opponents each night. Head coach Frank Vogel will have this season to be a trial run and really sculpt the roster he wants it for next year. The defense is there just no shrivel of offense. It’s embarrassing vs the Jazz only scoring 74 points in a loss on November 11.
The Detroit Pistons are missing Reggie Jackson: The offense ranks in the bottom part of the league. With no change until Jackson is back, Head Coach Stan Van Gundy has to relay on starters who are struggling from the field and a career backup point guard to get star center Andre Drummond the ball and manufacture possessions. Tobias Harris will need to step up and take over scoring duties along with Drummond in order for the Pistons to have a chance until Jackson is back from injury. If not, the Pistons will fall behind the pack in the East for a playoff spot. This is what happens when you’re talent starved, your offense will struggle.
The Clippers are firing on all cylinders: Head Coach Doc Rivers has this team ready to play and the Clippers have a sense of urgency. It all starts with point guard Chris Paul who is playing with a purpose and with the ball distribution that is needed to feed other star players around him. A big difference between last year and this year in Clipper land is Blake Griffin fully healthy. Griffin is playing like the best power-forward in the league that is just flat out dominating on the interior. He looks like a different player, especially with his offensive rebounding. Pair that with Deandre Jordan who hasn’t put up the numbers he is capable of and you have a potential juggernaut that looks like the team everyone has been waiting for. Could this finally be the year we see a Clipper team battling the Warriors for the Western Conference Finals? The evidence points hard barring injury this can happen. Last but not least, the Clippers bench is playing well enough to sustain leads and if this team shoots a little bit better from three expect to see the Clippers competing with San Antonio for the #2 seed out west come playoff time.