Column: The NBA is two weeks in; here are some storylines

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Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) hangs on the rim after dunking the ball against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of a NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Chicago. The Bulls won 112-110. (AP Photo/David Banks)

The 2018-19 NBA season is roughly two weeks along, but this year may prove to be unlike any we have ever seen before. With the addition of the new shot clock rule that resets the clock to 14 seconds after offensive rebounds, teams are putting up more shots than kids at Ted’s on a Friday night. Twenty-two teams are attempting more shots per game than the team that led the league in the same category last year The NBA is playing faster and shooting more, and it’s leading to crazy offensive play from not only the league’s best, but a few players none of us would’ve expected. Let’s take a look at some of the explosive performances we’ve gotten from the league so far.

MVP Steph?

Can the best long-range sniper the league has ever seen join the ranks of Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as owners of three Most Valuable Player trophies? If he keeps up the season he’s having right now, without a doubt. While it is early, the changing landscape of the league is working to Steph’s advantage, and he’s electrifying opponents to the tune of 33.9 points per game on 52.9/51.7/90.6 shooting splits. The efficiency numbers are ridiculous to see, and add in his 5.6 assists and five rebounds per game, along with his 51-point game and current streak of seven straight games with at least five made three’s for good measure, and Steph looks like the clear-cut favorite so far.

Comeback Szn?

Uhh… Did anyone expect Zach Lavine and Blake Griffin to be scoring the way they are right now? Both players are averaging career-highs in points per game, with Lavine at 29.3 and Blake at 28.4, and Blake also going for a career-high in one game on Tuesday with 50. After all of these injuries, especially Griffin, whose injury list is longer than the line outside Blaze Pizza on a Saturday night, it’s great to see the performances from these two so far.

Two Teams at the Top

Only two squads remain undefeated in the league right now. Both of these teams acquired fresh faces at the head coach spot this offseason. Both teams have young two-way stars, modern offenses and a different kind of excitement that they’ve been lacking for the last few years. The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors are looking like brand-new teams this season, and it’s exactly what we hoped for. When the Raptors traded Demar Derozan and Jakob Poetl for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, everyone hoped it would bring some freshness to a team that, when they were washed out of the playoffs by LeBron again last year, became staler than Kawhi’s laugh. So far, the results are excellent. When Budenholzer signed up for the hottest coaching gig in the league, getting to coach Giannis, everyone thought the offensive production for the Bucks would explode. So far, the team is firing on all cylinders. Is a Bucks-Raptors Eastern Conference Finals looming ahead?


Zac Lane is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at zac.lane@uconn.edu.

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