Even die-hard fans are asking: What is happening to the NBA nowadays?
Even LeBron James is probably wondering: "What's happening in Cleveland?"
If you think the offseason prior to the 2017-2018 season was rocky, you definitely got the "rocky" part right.
Let's start with the Western Conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the NBA when it landed Paul George from a trade with the Indiana Pacers. And the Thunder didn't stop there just yet. They also traded for Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks.
Result: The Thunder got themselves a new Big 3. Meanwhile, Chris Paul signed with the Houston Rockets to form an apparently explosive backcourt tandem with James Harden.While all of these were happening, the Minnesota Timberwolves got themselves a new guy in Jimmy Butler and the Wolves now have a Big 3 of their own which includes Butler playing alongside Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
It seems that every team in the West wants to beat the Golden State Warriors. Badly.
Out East, the Cleveland Cavaliers wasted no time in preparing to return to the NBA Finals after losing to the Warriors, again.
To start things off, the Cavs granted Kyrie Irving's trade demand, eventually sending Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for still-recovering Isaiah Thomas plus role players off the bench.
The Cavs also reunited one of the best dynamic duos that the NBA has seen when Dwayne Wade signed with the Cavs to play alongside his pal, LeBron James.
Oh and by the way, Former MVP Derrick Rose also signed with the Cavs, too. And the Celtics also got Gordon Hayward.
Fast forward to present times. Most teams have played 10 games into the 82-game regular season and while it's still a long journey ahead, the early goings of the season have been weird and below are three reasons why it's weird:
"Super Teams" are Struggling
After reloading themselves with Dwayne Wade and an injured Isaiah Thomas, the Cavaliers are nowhere near the top of the standings- at least in the East.
After dropping their 5th game in 6 games, the Cavs are at the 12th place in the East with a 4-6 record- all while the Celtics are on the top with an 8-2 record. The same thing can be said about the Thunder as they are currently sitting at the 12 spot in the West, with an identical record as of the Cavs.
Isn't it ironic?
The Cavs and the Thunder are two teams which when you look at them on paper, they can beat the Warriors. Apparently, loading your team with superstars doesn't automatically mean that you can every game. Mind you, folks, the Cavs lost against 4 bad teams during their 4-game losing streak. And then recently, the Cavs lost a winnable one against the Atlanta Hawks, one of the worst teams in the East.
The Top 8 in the East: No Cavs
- Boston Celtics
- Detroit Pistons
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
- Toronto Raptors
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76sers
- Charlotte Hornets
Don't blink your eyes 'cause they are not tricking you. As of writing time, that's the top 8 in the Eastern Conference and should the playoffs begin today, this would have been the first time that LeBron James won't be playing in the postseason. But what's weirder is the fact that the Knicks are actually playing better than the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cavs. So are the 76ers who continue to trust in the process.
Too. Many. Injuries.
While getting injured is unavoidable especially in a sport like basketball, the NBA has never been flocked with injured players than it is right now.
Perhaps, no injury rocked the league than the injury that hit Celtics newcomer Gordon Hayward during the first 6 minutes of the Celtics' opening night game against the Cavs after Hayward was hit by a defender mid-air and landed awkwardly. Before he knew it Hayward's foot was forcibly twisted and it was a scene that nobody wanted to see.
It rocked the entire NBA. Other notable players who got injured in the first 10 games to open the season were Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo (again), John Wall, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose (AGAIN!) and others.
Either these players have become softer and more fragile or, the game has become more physical.
Which is weirder? The Los Angeles Lakers having a slightly better record than the Thunder or, the Cavs not leading the East right now. Perhaps. it's the latter.
Sooner or later, things will normalize in the NBA but for now, let's enjoy two of the three weirdnesses that have been rocking the NBA.
Why? Who would have thought that the Knicks will be successful this early without Carmelo Anthony? Or, who would have thought that we now need to practice typing Giannis Antetokuompo's name without looking it up on the Internet because he is the league's leading scorer?