The NBA mid season is finally here. There has been ups for a few teams and downs for the others. Nevertheless it has been a great season so far. A few shockers that has happened so far in the season is the defending champions Golden State Warriors are 1-2 against the new look Houston Rockets who acquired Chris Paul this off season. Many thought the acquisition of Paul would hinder the Rockets by having two ball dominate players sharing a backcourt, with Paul and guard James Harden as well. Instead, they are looking even better than last year. The first matchup the Rockets won 122-121, the Warriors got them in the second 124-114, and the Rockets won the third meeting 116-108. This is a matchup many analyst can see being the Western Conference Finals matchup. The combination of Paul and Harden, as well as the explosive offense implemented by head coach Mike D’Antoni, gives Houston the ability to score at as high of a volume as the Warriors.
We will just have to see.
As we approached the mid season, the injury bug has been outrageous the past few weeks. San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, still out with a quadricep injury, has only played nine games this season. The Miami Heat, fighting to return back to the postseason, will do it without guard Dion Waiters who is out for the season with an ankle injury. New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon. The Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has been hurt with an MCL sprain and been out for a month. Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, out with bone protrusion he’s out for the year. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers are fighting without stars John Wall and Kevin Love, both out with their own injuries. And last but not least, New York Knicks young star power forward Kristaps Porzingis who is out for the entire year with a ACL knee injury.
Surprisingly, with all these injuries, the Philadelphia 76ers young core who have had been bit by the injury bug in the past, remains untouched. “The Process” seems to be working finally. The 76ers went 19-63 the 2013-14 season. 18-64 the 2014-15 season. 10-72 the 2015-16 season. And 28-54 the 2016-17 season. And mid way through this year they have already matched last years season record at 28-25 midway through this season. The Process is finally coming to fruition with the young core pieces with center Joel Embiid if he can stay healthy and point guard Ben Simmons who is putting up great rookie numbers. They are currently the 8th seed right now in the East, and would give any team a good game.
One of the most interesting storylines midway through the season is by far the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team’s morale and their trade deadline firesale. This off-season, the team acquired Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose through free agency, and Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder via trade with the Celtics for Kyrie Irving. So with the team having more depth, everyone thought all that it would take was some time to gel with one another and that they will be better than last year’s Cavs who lost to the Warriors 4-1 in the NBA Finals.
But instead of the team taking a step forward, they took a few steps backwards. Defensively, the team is ranked near the bottom of the league, giving up over 100 points on a regular basis. The entire team was getting frustrated with one another, calling each other out, not taking responsibility for what is going on while they are on the court. The team looked like a complete disaster. Even worse, the front office was not communicating with their top player, LeBron James, on the trades they were wanting to do. As well as the general manager not knowing is LeBron would even stay after there in Cleveland after this year. It was a complete mess. While the other elite teams in the NBA, like the Rockets, Warriors and Boston Celtics did not make deals prior to the deadline, on the last day of the trade deadline, Cleveland reshaped their entire roster.
The Cavaliers traded Dwayne Wade back to the Miami Heat, they sent Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. they traded away Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for Rodney Hood and George Hill. Now the Cavaliers team look totally different from how they were when the season first started. Now the world will see if this trade benefited them or hurt them in the long run.