The four best things about the first weeks of the NBA season

Basketball players Anthony Davis and Kobe Bryant are holding the ball before shooting a free throw.

Anthony Davis (l.) and Kobe Bryant (r.) have provided highlights in their own ways (Photocredit: TonyTheTiger / bigluzer via Flickr).

It’s been just over three weeks since the NBA season tipped off. Here are the four best things about the season so far:

1. Anthony Davis is a basketball god

The 21-year-old Pelicans forward received a lot of praise before the season, and so far he’s living up to it. Davis has been destroying his opponents on both ends of the floor, scoring 25 points per game while shooting 57 per cent. His defensive numbers are even more impressive: The youngster is averaging 3.9 blocks per game. The last player to top that number over a season was the great, finger-wagging Dikembe Mutombo in 1995-’96. Davis’ otherworldly performance goes beyond numbers though – he just keeps producing highlights that make the NBA twittersphere explode.

Davis has to be considered MVP frontrunner at this early stage of the season, and ESPN’s Chad Ford thinks he might end up being one of the five best players of all time. He really is that good.

2. Kobe Bryant has passed the point of caring about his teammates

The Black Mamba is a living legend, and this season might be more telling of his status in Los Angeles than his successful ones. Kobe is basically doing whatever he wants on the court, and that is shooting, shooting and some more shooting. Kobe’s gunning away like nobody before for a 2-9 Lakers team that never had a chance to make the playoffs. Inside sources point his shot volume to his goal of reaching Michael Jordan’s career point total, but the superstar’s manical effort is hurting the team.

His 38.9 per cent shooting clip is more than six per cent below his career average, and the Lakers offense is better with their best individual player on the bench – all a result of the Mamba taking shots he shouldn’t take. However, nobody from the upper levels of the team – owner, coach or GM – dared to call him out on it so far. Even if it makes an already horrible team even worse, seeing one of the greatest scorers of all time chase points night after night, shooting contested fadeaway jumpers while passing up open teammates is compelling.

3. Some of the bad teams are fun

The Milwaukee Bucks were not considered a playoff candidate after their last-place finish in the spring, and they probably won’t make the postseason this year, but nobody can deny that they are fun. Giannis Antetokounmpo is approximately eleven feet tall, as proven by him taking two steps from the three-point-line to the rim. Defensive specialists John Henson and Larry Sanders are having themselves block parties night after night and recent draft pick Jabari Parker is the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year. The “Young Bucks” moniker is growing more successful every week, thanks to games like the triple-overtime thriller against the Brooklyn Nets.

The same goes for the Minnesota Timberwolves: The team that traded a top-10 player for youth in swapping Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett saw their playoff chances fly out the window the day they completed the transaction, but their fans have to enjoy what they’ve been seeing from their newly acquired franchise cornerstones.

4. The West is going to be a dogfight

Eight of the top nine teams in John Hollinger’s Advanced Power Rankings  – probably the most complete metric measuring a team’s performance – play in the Western Conference. In related news, there are 15 teams and eight playoff spots in each conference. The West set new benchmarks for a competitive conference last year, and it might have become even better over the summer. Both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings missed the playoffs last year, and they’ve been serious business so far, winning more than half of their games.

The victim could be the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last year’s conference finalist lost its two superstars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, to major injuries, and with three wins and nine losses, they’re falling behind fast in an over-competitive conference. The Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets, two of the most popular picks to miss the postseason before tip-off, are a combined 19-3 after the first three weeks. The race for the playoff seeds will be exciting.

Martin Schauhuber

I'm an exchange student from Austria. If you speak german (or like photos), you can find more of my work at

1 Comment

  • Ryan Lehal
    Reply December 6, 2014

    Ryan Lehal

    There were some great points brought up in this article, but there was no mention of the Raptors. I think they are probably the most exciting team to watch in the east and have the ability to really upset some teams down the stretch. If they can avoid teams like Miami or Cleveland in the opening round of the playoffs then there’s no telling how far they can go. I definitely agree with your point on how tough the Western Conference is. Unlike the east, more than only a few teams are actually legit contenders. It will be interesting to see which western contender will miss out on a playoff spot come April.

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