NBA Recap: Russell Westbrook versus the world

NBA Recap: Russell Westbrook versus the world

This NBA season is off to a pretty exciting start so far.  The new-look, super team Golden State Warriors are off to a somewhat shaky start, the reigning champion Cavaliers look great, and many of the new look teams are off to better starts than expected. 

In this article, I will discuss a few of my biggest takeaways from the first couple weeks of the season.

1. The Warriors are going to need some time to figure this out.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think that Golden State will be fantastic this year, and they are absolutely the team to beat. They have a lot of work to do if they want to live up to their hype and be the ‘super team’ that everyone predicted they would be. First and foremost, adding Kevin Durant to this team has really sacrificed the Warriors’ depth, especially in terms of size in the front court.  In their two losses, Golden State looked awful defensively, and their lack of size led to them getting dominated on the glass.  To become the great team everyone expects them to be, the Warriors probably need to add a big man who can add some defensive and rebounding value.

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2. The Cavaliers, to no one’s surprise, look great.

LeBron James looks as good as ever.  Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavs’ supporting cast look great and Cleveland is still undefeated.  With the lack of talent and depth in the East, the regular season should be a cakewalk for the Cavs.  I assume the Cavaliers will get the first seed in the East by simply showing up to their games.  We’ll see who, if anyone other than the Warriors, can present any sort of challenge to Cleveland this season.

3. Russell Westbrook is a man on a mission, but we’ll see about the rest of his team.

Russell Westbrook wants everyone to see why he is the most talented all-around player in the NBA (other than LeBron) and why many people, including myself, picked him to be this year’s MVP.  After the first week of the season, Westbrook was averaging a triple-double.  While averaging a triple-double is not particularly sustainable, I suspect he will continue to pad the stat sheet and put up ridiculous numbers all year.  The rest of his team, however, has left a lot to be desired.  Outside of Stephen Adams, Westbrook has no supporting cast, especially offensively.  If the Thunder want to compete in the West, they are going to need to add some shooters to complement Westbrook.

4. The new-look Bulls look a lot better than expected.

This offseason, the Bulls loaded up on players that are poor three-point shooters to complement Jimmy Butler in a league dominated by the three-pointer.  Most people projected the Bulls to be a cellar dweller in the East this year, but they look like they could be poised for a surprisingly strong season. 

Obviously it is a small sample size, but Jimmy Butler and new addition Dwyane Wade have shot the ball great from deep and this deep team with appears a lot better than expected. We will see if it is sustainable over the course of the season though.

5. The young Lakers might be ahead of schedule.

The young core they have accumulated through the past few drafts appears to have an extremely bright future.  With Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram on the roster, this young team appears poised for success over the long term.  It is safe to say that no one expected the Lakers to beat the Warriors, especially the way they did in a twenty point blowout at home.  If the Lakers can add another quality young player in the draft and then make a big splash in free agency next year, I bet the Lakers will compete in the West much sooner than originally expected.

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