The NBA 2019-2020 season hit its midseason point and our eyes are on the Lakers in the West and the Bucks in the East as the two top seeds. Let’s take a quick evaluation of four “random” teams and share some impressions on the first half.
Let’s talk about the West:
Oklahoma City are surprising us all
Russell Westbrook's trade to the Houston Rockets from the Oklahoma City Thunder came as no surprise to me. The questions come after Westbrook’s exodus saw him replaced by the veteran star Chris Paul in OKC. I asked myself, is this going to be Paul’s last stop and will we see another great player ending his career with a terrible team? Oklahoma City has quickly surprised many people this season - myself included, thanks to the future Hall of Famers CP3’s leadership and their three guard lineup that sees in Dennis Schröder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander join Paul. Shai has made some noticeable improvements in his game this term becoming the youngest player to have a 20-rebound triple-double. These guys have earned their spot in the playoff places conversation....
LA Clippers need to shake the mistakes in order to take LA
The real battle for who runs the West came to a sudden halt with the Clippers falling to some top teams and having the fourth-best record in the West. When the Clippers are healthy and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are firing on all cylinders then they could possibly run LA (bring on the debate). But there is a lot of work still to be on done on the court and coach Doc Rivers will lead the way in making sure their ready for a deep playoff run. Despite some upsets they have shown us that they can beat LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kuzma’s interesting drip…
We turn our eyes to the East:
Milwaukee Bucks have what it takes in the East
Nigerian-Greek superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to show us why he still deserves to be in MVP conversations for a second time. Coach Mike Budenholzer has spread the floor for Giannis helping the Greek Freak look like the prime-time version of Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq has publicly said that Giannis is better than him. “He’s better because he has better opportunities to showcase more.” said O’Neal on Podcast One. The Bucks are 17-4 on the road and Giannis leads the East in the NBA All-Star fan vote returns.
Celtics need consistency
Boston has been trying to recover in the right locker room culture since Kyrie Irving’s departure, and they have been quite fun to watch when they have a healthy roster. Losing forward Gordon Hayward, who suffered a broken bone in his left hand several months ago in San Antonio, was a huge blow for the Cs. Since Hayward’s return Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and the coaching staff are building for the future in the current climate of a wing dominated league. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are probably the best young duo in the East, possibly even in the league. The two have been given the opportunity to thrive and that they have. Will a healthy team, the current third seed in the East, have enough to win the Conference, hmmm only time will tell…
By Nthabiseng Mushi