Correction, March 7, 2019: Originally, the article stated that Demarcus Cousins suffered an achilles tear while playing for the Sacramento Kings. That line has been corrected – Cousins plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.
So far, the NBA season has been surprising and overall a great watch for casual and hardcore viewers alike. As the regular season comes to a close, I would like to go over some of the interesting things going on in the league thus far, and what to look at going forward.
One big surprise coming from the Western Conference are the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James. After signing James in the off-season, the Lakers were looking like an easy pick to at least make the playoffs as an eighth seed, but as of now, the Lakers are 30-34, which places them at the 10th seed in the West. The Lakers have been riddled with injuries to this point which could point to the Lakers poor record.
Another team that has played beyond expectations are the Denver Nuggets, who are currently the second seed in the Western Conference. They have played great against good teams and have played solid team-cooperating basketball, leading them to their 42 wins.
Center Nikola Jokic is leading the Nuggets, averaging 20.6 points per game and 10.8 rebounds. The seven-footer is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 31 percent from beyond the arc. His play has elevated the Nuggets franchise to second in the ever competitive Western conference, yet they are still being slept on by everyone.
The best roster in the West however belongs to the Golden State Warriors. Without getting too much in-depth about them, they still seem like championship favorites after acquiring center Demarcus Cousins, who is back on the lineup after a year of suffering with an achilles tear with the New Orleans Pelicans. Cousins was an all star center last year and one of the best centers on the offensive side of the ball. This greatly helps the Warriors keep their title of best roster, due to them needing a center very badly and now having all stars at all starting positions.
Out of the Eastern Conference, the current 38-26 fifth seeded Boston Celtics have had a very inconsistent season. After having multiple five game win streaks, they are currently on a four game losing streak. The Celtics have a lot of talent on their team and if they can turn this season around they will definitely be a championship contender.
A team with a great roster that is underperforming are the Philadelphia 76ers. After acquiring Tobia Harris at the trade deadline, the Sixers have five players averaging over 17 points per game. The next highest is 7.1, so the bench-depth could really use some work and help the load out when the starters have to come out of the game.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the first seed in the Eastern Conference and show no signs of slowing down as they currently have the best record in the NBA. However, they just ended a winning streak after a loss to the Suns.
The MVP race might be the closest it has been in a while with two players running away from the competition. Antetokounmpo and James Harden are leading the way. Harden has had a historical season to this point with the Houston Rockets, as he had 32 games straight of scoring 30+ points. The reigning MVP has also helped the Houston Rockets to a 36-25 record while averaging 36.2 points per game. On the other side of the MVP race is Antetokounmpo, who is currently averaging 27 points per game and 12.6 rebounds. He and the Milwaukee Bucks also have the best record in the NBA, which might give him the push he needs to get his first MVP award ever.
Without a doubt, it will be a great and competitive postseason that many NBA fans are excited about, being the regular season was also very interesting. With about two months left in the regular season, it will be very interesting to see what teams make and don’t make the playoffs and see the records of all the teams involved. The award races this year are very competitive as well, and will most likely turn very controversial. No matter how everything shakes out, it certainly will be a season to remember.