Now that we are just over two weeks into this year’s NBA season, there are a few growing trends that many did not predict to see prior to this month. It’s easy to claim that the super teams of last year will have success again early on, but it does not always pan out that way.
For example, the Los Angeles Lakers, who recently acquired a legend in LeBron James and were expected to improve substantially because of it, are currently 2-5 and in 11th place in the Western Conference. Similarly, the Houston Rockets are struggling to win games as of late, with a record of 1-4 despite boasting reigning MVP James Harden, and now both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
Sports are highly unpredictable. That is nothing new. With that said, however, the following are just a few of the many surprising trends we have seen lately around the NBA this season.
Sacramento Showing Signs of Life
The Kings looked as though they were on a long, downward slope after the departure of Demarcus Cousins in 2017. Their bench was failing to support their starters, but they were seeing promise in their younger players (see Willie Cauley-Stein, drafted from the University of Kentucky in 2015). Early into this season, it appears as though somewhat of a solution has been found.
Sacramento has taken advantage of their luck in the NBA Draft these past few years, taking NCAA stars De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, while also acquiring Buddy Hield from the New Orleans Pelicans. Combined, the Kings roster has posted a respectable 4-3 record, sitting above the Timberwolves, Rockets, Lakers, and Thunder. Fox himself has seen a huge improvement since his rookie season last year, and Hield has been shooting three-pointers like a seasoned veteran. While they have a ways to go, Sacramento could potentially be a playoff team in the near future with their young talent.
Steph Curry’s Immense Success
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Steph Curry is having yet another impressive season. What is surprising, however, is the numbers he has already put up through just 8 games this season. Curry has now made at least 5 three-pointers in 3 of their 8 games, which is an NBA record. He is also hitting 51.7% of his shots, with the highest attempt average at 12.7%; something truly remarkable.
As mentioned in the intro to this blog, the Lakers haven’t really found a rhythm this season despite having a fairly impressive roster. However, it is far too early to hit the panic button just yet. We are just 8 games in. While most NBA fans failed to predict Los Angeles and the King sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference, there is hope.
James is, arguably, the best to ever play the game, and is leading a young Lakers team that shows a lot of promise in their rookie stars. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma have all proven their abilities (some more than others) between this year and last. Paired with a number of other competent veterans in Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Lance Stephenson, they should be able to train and learn enough to make themselves playoff contenders once more, even if it does take another season or two.