We are about a week in the 2020-21 regular season. It’s still early, but there have been many interesting developments throughout the league. And here at Basketball Insider, we take these developments into account in order to rank each team within their own division. Yes, most teams only play 4-5 games, but you can make serious, knowledgeable guesses about how the rest of the season will be shaped.
Golden State Warriors (2-2)
How the mighty one fell down. It wasn’t long ago that the Golden State Warriors automatically participated in the NBA Finals as a Western representative. Then Kevin Durant left, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry were injured, and the Warriors entered the lottery for the first time since 2012.
Despite those setbacks, the team looked healthy and seemed ready to quickly return to the playoff mix with James Wiseman. But that wasn’t the case — Thompson suffered an end-of-season injury shortly before the start of the season. Meanwhile, Draymond Green hasn’t played yet due to foot pain, and Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. aren’t close to the court impact the team wanted. Wiseman, who is second overall, is flashing his talent, but he is still a rookie who is adapting to summer leagues and NBA games without a real preseason or training camp.
Obviously, there is still plenty of time for warriors to turn this around. With the return of the green, if the team yells and finds a stream of attacks, they can even run in the postseason. But at this point, it doesn’t seem to be on the card. The Western Conference is so good that too many teams are competing for playoff spots.
Sacramento Kings (3-1)
Sacramento Kings is in an interesting location. They currently hold the NBA’s longest active streak, which missed the playoffs in 14 seasons. They mishandled Bogdan Bogdanovich’s free agent and he eventually left without doing anything.
However, they signed a maximum contract extension with De’Aaron Fox, allowing them to make large-scale, long-term moves this offseason. As an all-star in their franchise’s face and borders, it was imperative that Kings’ brass absolutely avoid a similar scenario to that of Bogdanovich. And this season, Fox rewarded them with some outstanding play for their efforts, which in turn helped them make a strong start to the Sacramento season.
In four games, Fox averaged 20.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, blocks, and steals per game. In the meantime, he shot 40 percent and 80.8 percent respectively to start the season, increasing his 3 points and free throw percentages by more than 10 points, respectively. That powerful play (and continued growth) is exactly what Kings wanted to see from the new star, and if he could get going throughout the season, Kings could take part in post-season hunting as the season ends. There is.
Of course, there are other optimistic reasons besides Fox. Sacramento’s latest lottery pick, Tyrese Halliburton, looked solid early on. Marvin Bagley III and Richaun Holmes, who missed time due to injury last season, appear to be healthy and ready to contribute. In the case of Bagley, it could be his make-up season or break season to prove that he deserves second place overall in 2018.
Well, that said, Kings is still the main question mark. They can easily slip behind the Warriors in the department. Or, this can only be what management wants. They were able to poke their necks with the Phoenix Suns as easily as one of the latest Western competitors.
Phoenix Suns (3-1)
Sands arguably made the best move this offseason, bringing a multi-time all-star Chris Paul. At last year’s Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul showed that he could still play at the elite level. And now, for Phoenix, he’s going to do the same. Paul not only made the game of the two young building blocks of Sands Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton very easy, but also improved the team’s ability to finish the game in the fourth quarter and its attitude in the locker room. Must bring. It has been terribly scarce in recent years.
In addition to Paul, both Booker and Eighton appeared ready to continue their upward orbit. Booker fired on all cylinders, but Eighton, who performed powerfully in the NBA Bubble in July and August, is still warm. Whatever Paul brings, these two are the main post-season dreams of Sands. If they’re struggling, this season may not be the franchise turnaround everyone expected after losing 8-0 in Orlando.
A welcome development for Sands so far has been Cameron Johnson’s play. A year ago, some questioned his high choices in the draft. He followed it up in a neat, but not great, rookie season. That said, Johnson is igniting, especially from the 3-point range, to start the 2020-21 season.
In addition to Paul, the team also added veterans Jae Crowder, Langston Galloway, Etuan Moore and more. Clauder contributed to the Miami Heat NBA Finals bid last season, but Galloway and Moore should help create enough space for the offense to function.
Los Angeles Clippers (3-1)
The Los Angeles Clippers have a lot to prove. Los Angeles, a favorite of last season’s title-winning sayings, faced the Denver Nuggets in the second round, despite maintaining a 3: 1 series lead at some point. Paul George then signed the maximum extension, but Kawhi Leonard could hit a free agent as early as next summer if he refused the player’s option.
It’s quite possible that this season will best represent the Clippers and, more importantly, the final shot to win the championship in the current group. And, though, it wasn’t the best start of the season.
After making an impressive 2-0 start against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nuggets, the Clippers suffered the worst defeat as a franchise, with the Dallas Mavericks driving 124-73. Meanwhile, Leonard turned his careless elbows from his own teammates to the face, keep in mind you, and haven’t played yet — want to see in every bid to win the title. Exactly different from the one.
Still, most of Los Angeles’ off-season acquisitions were positive. So while Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, and Luke Kennard all seemed to be solid additions, each added a new dimension to attack and defense that wasn’t there last year.
And despite those early season accidents, the Clippers still offer the Lakers the biggest challenge coming out of the west. Their defense remains a strength while Tyronn Lue is away from the isolated and fierce attack of Dock Rivers last season. And, except for the Dallas game, it did the trick. If they can maintain that goal and bring Leonard back to the floor, Los Angeles may prove a favorite that everyone expected before the season.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-2)
For some reason, the other 29 teams have made the current champion Los Angeles Lakers even better. Not only did they upgrade their front coats and replace Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee with Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell (which also hurt the Clippers), but they also added back coats for Dennis Schroeder and Wesley Matthews to the lineup from Danny. Should also give a little energy Green and Rajon Rondo could bring Matthews even if they hadn’t gone yet.
Early on, Gasol’s playmaking in the center position allowed LeBron James to play even more off-ball. Meanwhile, Harrell, as one of the NBA’s top reserves, has resumed from where it left off before the bubble. Schroeder’s aggressive punch, which the Lakers were terribly lacking in both guard spots, was the same as he got from his pre-season position, but defensively.
Health will seem to be the only major obstacle that can keep Los Angeles away from another final harbor. Anthony Davis twisted his ankle when he beat the Mavericks on Christmas day and later did not participate in the contest with the Minnesota Timberwolves and was restricted to the Lakers’ defeat, the Portland Trail Blazers. It looked like. James, who hasn’t missed it yet, also seemed to have a slight sprain on his ankle due to an ankle injury.
Still, for now, the Pacific is the losing Lakers. Expect them to step deeper into the postseason again, except for something dramatic.
The Pacific Division is arguably the home of two of the best teams in the Lakers and Clippers NBA. Meanwhile, Sands and Kings have improved significantly, both aiming to return to the postseason for the first time in a while. And despite their tough start, it’s still too early to cancel the Warriors. The West will be tougher this year, and the Pacific will reflect that well.
– NBA Sports
Who is in trouble? Western Conference Edition: Week 1 | Basketball Insider
http://www.basketballinsiders.com/whos-in-trouble-western-conference-edition-week-1/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss Who is in trouble? Western Conference Edition: Week 1 | Basketball Insider