What we've learned so far: NBA

By Rhino5103
Feb. 01, 2017

Ah, the National Basketball Association, how you toy with us. Only you could have the Cleveland Cavaliers crush the Golden State Warriors 126-91 in the middle of January only to see the Warriors to hit their stride and the Cavaliers absolutely fall apart. It's sweet irony, it's confusing, it's entertaining, and it's dramatic. This NBA season has been juicer than the Bachelor. Our favorite small forward to hate on, Carmelo Anthony, has been struggling as much as Lebron and his boys have been. While some are tanking at the wrong time, others are flourishing at the perfect time. Let's see the best story lines from the season. 

The Utah Jazz lost until they won.
It was difficult to watch the Jazz struggle the past few years. They were on the cusp of being a winning franchise, but just weren't there yet. After a trip to the conference finals in the 2006-2007 season, they looked primed to stay in that spot for the coming years. Sadly, that was about the time the Western Conference rose to the dominant state it's been in for the past few years. The Jazz failed to make it back to the finals. They haven't even made the playoffs since 2011-2012. Things got especially dark in 2013-2014 when they finished 25-57. But, things look bright in Salt Lake City. Gordon Hayward is pacing the team with 21 points per game, while Rudy Gobert is scoring 13 points per game and collecting 12.5 rebounds per contest. Rodney Hood and George Hill have also proven to be valuable members of the team. The Jazz look talented enough and deep enough to be a contender in the Western Conference and possibly return to the success they saw back in 2007. 

The Cavs are the Indiana Hoosiers of the NBA
What is going on in Cleveland?! The defending champs are playing some poor basketball right now. Reminiscent of the IU team that beat Kansas and North Carolina only to blow the remainder of the season, Cleveland peaked at the beginning of the season and is struggling to find their footing. Lebron James is frustrated, which is hilarious, but is a serious issue for the Cavs. The Cleveland front office has done nothing but surround him with talent, and he is complaining about the personnel that in large part won him a ring. There's trouble in paradise, and Lebron needs to shake the demons before this dream turns into a nightmare. 

Something needs to change with the Knicks
Remember that dream team that came together in New York this preseason? Well, Kristaps Porzingis is about the only one living up to expectations. For whatever reason, people thought that Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, and Joakim Noah were elite players. Pardon my shock, but huh? Rose was good for maybe two seasons, and has not looked like the MVP he once was since, well, he was MVP. It's time to clear house, because what they're trying right now isn't working. Please, please, for the love of God, please, trade Kristaps Porzingis. The kid has way too much potential to waste away with a dying franchise. I'd love to see him be a contributing effort to an up and coming team (Celtics, Jazz, Rockets, Thunder). While we're talking about trades, Melo has to go too. He's not going to be a positive addition to any team, but someone might be dumb enough to take him. The Knicks have the assets to get some solid draft picks, but need to have the guts to make the moves and clear house.

Russell Westbrook can't do it by himself
Russ is a freak. He's averaging a triple double with 30 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists a game. That is just outlandish. Despite his efforts, the Thunder have posted a disappointing 28-21 record. What gives? Well, for starters, Russ is the entire offense. When every player on the team is shocked to get a pass, there's a problem with offensive flow. Westbrook takes a majority of the shots, hence his 30 points per game. Oladipo is trying his best to help the offense, putting in 16 points per game, but it just isn't enough. Westbrook is missing Durant badly. The other star he could pass to was what made the Durant-Westbrook era in OKC so fun to watch. The two had great chemistry and the offense went through them and built off them. Now, it's all Russ, and it's not working. OKC may need to invest in some trades to bring another big scorer in to help Westbrook.

Look out for the 76ers
Sike! I bet you thought I was actually buying into the "#TrustTheProcess" business circulating around the league. That's hilarious. I'm not. Congratulations to Joel Embiid for playing like a third overall pick. It took you long enough, but welcome to the big show. People are already comparing him to the likes of Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Embiid is averaging 20 points per game. Anthony and Cousins? 28. Embiid is averaging 7 rebounds per game. Davis is averaging 12 and Cousins is averaging 10. The 76ers are still a very bad basketball team. Their 18-29 record is a pretty solid indicator of that. When Ben Simmons is healthy and the 76ers inevitably get another high draft pick, then we'll talk. But for now, the 76ers will remain what they have been. Mediocre at best.