Remember the time when Dion Waiters single-handedly beat the Warriors? Or the time when Seth Curry outshined his MVP brother Steph for what seemed like a week? Welcome to 2017 and what seems to be the craziest season in recent memory.
Looking at the 2016-2017 season, many analysts and fans wanted to speed up time and head to June, as many thought the league was destined for Warriors and Cavaliers for the third straight year. With the Warriors adding Kevin “the Slim Reaper” Durant and the Cavaliers resigning all their key players, the two teams only got better, but have been struggling so far this season.
Although both teams are still in first place in their respective, the Cavaliers are 5-5 in their last 10 games and a mediocre 12-10 on the road, as they have been surrounding in trade rumors and the limelight. The Warriors, are 43-8 on the season as they averaging an astounding 118.2 points this season but have one less loss than they did at the end of last season. With the signing of Kevin Durant, they had to gut their bench as they do not go very deep and lack in the big man department.
Both teams did not get worse, rather the whole league has become more competitive, filled with a crop of younger and more talented players and coaches. The Boston Celtics for example have an extremely young nucleus of players and are led by wunderkind head coach Brad Stevens. Led by Mr. Fourth Quarter Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics sit 2.5 games behind the Cavaliers and look destined to give them a real challenge come late May.
Staying in the East, the Toronto Raptors were in the second spot for most of 2016, as they have struggled out of the gate in 2017 but are still 30-21 and only five games back in Cleveland. The Atlanta Hawks were able to rebuild and are fourth in the East at 30-21, and the Washington Wizards behind a 30-20 record and a seven-game winning streak are sitting third in the East. All three of these teams have talented point guards who can take over in the fourth quarter as they will all be playing in May.
Out in the West, the San Antonio Spurs are still where you would expect them to be, only 3.5 back of the Warriors, as the Popovich led squad is still playing excellent basketball. They are one of only three teams in the NBA to allow less than 100 points per game, as the Spurs are now led by Kawhi Leonard who is having his best season of his career.
The West is a mix bag of teams, as there is the Utah Jazz who forces opposing teams to use the whole shot clock every possession and keep the game below 100 points and then there are the Houston Rockets who rather have the games be in the 120 point range. James Harden is having an MVP-caliber season and his ex-teammate Russell Westbrook is posting a triple-double every time he steps on the court. Both conferences are full of quality opponents which will make the postseason very enjoyable to watch.
In the NBA this season, there seems to be a team scoring in the 130s every night, i.e. the Bucks dropping 137 last Saturday, or a player scoring 50 plus points or a 30 point and 20 rebound performances. On each team there is a guy who can go in full Raymond Babbitt mode and take over a game, as each night every game, except for Brooklyn Nets ones, are fun to watch.
With the NFL just ending, the NBA is poised to fill the void, as Adam Silver has done a fantastic job making the league fun and empty of major controversies. I am excited for the second half of the season to see who can be the next Yogi Ferrell, how many threes Swaggy P can throw up in a game, if the Rockets can break 200 points in a game and if Westbrook can drop a quadruple-double. Anything seems possible this season, as the 76ers have actually won 18 games and we are in February. What a time to be alive.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.