What Better Time Than Now for an NBA Recap?


Pictured are the two current front runners for the NBA’s KIA MVP award, Nikola Jokić (left) and Joel Embiid (right) (photo courtesy of Bleacher Report).

Jack Houston, Sports Editor

NBA fans are watching the clock, counting down until the soon to be playoffs. This season’s offseason and tradings have shined a new light to previously weak teams, leaking hope into the hearts of given up devotees. The Hornets have never been exciting until this season. New York is back on top after being the laughing stock of league for years. Chris Paul is finally getting his recognition as one of the greatest point guards of all time. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s like the season was scripted before it even started. So what better time, right before the playoffs, to recap the wonderful season we’ve been blessed with.

It’s been 20-21 years since last time a center won the league MVP. It seems like that’s about to change. According to the NBA KIA MVP ladder from NBA.com, the top two candidates for MVP are both, surprisingly (but also not surprisingly given how surprising this season has been) centers. The number 1 spot is taken by Denver Nuggets center and superstar Nikola Jokić. Jokić has put up phenomenal stats this year despite his lack in athleticism, putting up an average of a near triple-double stat line. According to Basketball Reference, he is currently averaging 26.2 ppg 10.9 rpg and 8.6 apg. Jokic has not only been a wonder this season, but also in NBA history. There hasn’t to this day been a playmaking center this good at distributing the basketball since Nikola Jokić. At number two on the ladder stands Philadelphia 76ers center and superstar Joel Embiid. Embiid is the definition of classic dominant center, using his strength along with his skill to be one of the deadliest offensive players in the league, leading his team to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. As of right now, Embiid is putting up a ridiculous 29.5 ppg 10.9 rpg and 3.0 apg. At this point of my MVP discussion paragraph, I’m going to go off the script and not read down the list (which slightly hurts as a Dallas Mavericks fan considering that Luka Dončić). NBA fans have been furious as of late with the NBA after Warriors point guard and superstar Stephen Curry has not been getting the respect he deserves. Despite holding the record this season for most 40 point games in a month and most consecutive 30+ points in a game for a player 33 and older, Curry still isn’t a top MVP candidate (NBC Sports). In 10 games in April Curry has been averaging a monstrous 40.8 ppg on 7.2 3-pointers per game and 54.9% fg%, 50.3% 3P%, and 90.9% ft% (Forbes). So what is he ranked right now, you might be asking. He’s ranked 9th…Disrespectful.

In one of my previous NBA articles at the beginning of the season, I made some remarks concerning the rookies of this season. In that article, I said that the Minnesota Timberwolves drafting Anthony Edwards instead of trading the first pick was a strange choice considering the guard heavy team at the beginning of the season. Now, not to toot my own horn, but I still kind of stand by that point considering that the Timberwolves are the 14th seed in the Western Conference. However, what I can’t deny is that Anthony Edwards has given the NBA surprisingly electrifying performances throughout the season, averaging 18.5 ppg 4.6 rpg and 2.8 apg (Basketball Reference). The second pick in the draft by the Golden State Warriors, James Wiseman, was seemingly the best possibly move they could’ve made. And as of right now, I still believe that. However, Wiseman has experienced number of ups and downs this season including a season ending knee injury. Throughout the season, Wiseman has only averaged 11.5 ppg 5.8 rpg and 0.7 apg on limited minutes. However, I still have hope for him.

I believe that the third pick in the draft, LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets, deserves his own paragraph. Despite missing a considerable amount of the season due to a wrist injury, Ball has still shocked the NBA by putting up ridiculous performances and stats, averaging 15.7 ppg 5.9 rpg and 6.1 apg. This electrifying rookie combined with other exciting young stars and an eccentric pairing of announcers have made the Hornets fun to watch seemingly the first time in forever.

Numerous blockbuster trades at the last minute of the March 25th trade deadline have helped bolster numerous teams to playoff and even championship contention.

While not necessarily a championship contender, the New York Knicks have proven to be one of the grittiest teams in the league with young stars about. As such, it was a good move to secure former MVP point guard Derrick Rose from the Pistons to act as a mentor. This was a pretty interesting turnout for Rose considering he’s already played for the Knicks not too long ago. With the way Rose is playing right now in the 6th man position, the explosive point guard would have surely been the front runner for 6th Man of the Year if he was not traded so far into the season. 

The Nuggets also got some talent in the big man category after obtaining center Javale McGee and power forward Aaron Gordon. These tradings are ultimately pretty helpful for the nuggets considering that they are now making the push for the NBA Finals. And these tradings could not have come at a better time considering that the Nuggets lost one their star players in shooting guard Jamal Murray. This teams seems to be able to run their offense around the big guys quite well as shown by the great performances by Nikola Jokić and Michael Porter Jr., so I’m personally a fan of these tradings, and the wins show it too (8-2 in their last 10 games according to NBA.com).

The Los Angeles Lakers have not been faring well as of recent due the torment of constant injuries. Almost right after super star power forward Anthony Davis was ruled out, MVP candidate LeBron James was also hit with an injury. As such, the Lakers needed everything possible to get back into the Championship race after staggering at around the 6th seed in the Western Conference. As such, the signing of dominant rebounder Andre Drummond seemed like a logical move. However, Drummond’s time on the Lakers have recently shown the holes in his game. Although he averages a decent amount of points and a ridiculous amount of rebounds (15.6 ppg and 12.1 rpg according to Basketball Reference), Drummond has been hit with a decrease in production due to his seeming low effort on the court. Only the future can tell what will happen with the Lakers.

Perhaps one of the most shocking parts of this NBA season is the overall success of the Phoenix Suns, an NBA team that was not too long ago ridiculed as being one of the worst in the league. However, the narrative all of a sudden flipped after the acquisition of Chris Paul, a legend who has just proven his status as one of the greatest point guards of all time. Coupled with Paul is talent galore including the incredibly skilled shooting guard Devin Booker. It’s honestly amazing how the Suns have managed to work their way up from the bottom of the Western Conference to now the current first seed.

I can’t finish off this article without addressing the elephant in the room: the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets, like the Suns, have found their way from the bottom of the barrel to one of the best teams in the league. The Nets first managed to get super stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, a team who in itself posed a dangerous threat to the league…and then they got James Harden who has shown himself as a key piece to this team after once again putting up MVP numbers before getting injured. However, fans still criticized the team for their lack of depth and top-heavy team. The Nets responded by getting players such as Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge (who was unfortunately forced to retire due to health complications). However, even with a stacked team in general, the Nets still face challenges including a rather poor defense.

With these news changes in mind, NBA fans everywhere are excited for the postseason.

“It’ll be exciting to possibly see my personal favorite team go to the Finals,” says Nets fan Ciro Schiro. “I think the West is pretty wide open for the first time in a while although I want to see Phoenix go to the finals against the Nets. However, I don’t see this happening since the only playoff experience on their team is Chris Paul.”

There seems to be endless amounts of possible exciting matchups for the Finals.

“I think the Clippers will take the West as they’re, in my opinion, loaded and have big boosts with playoff experience in players like Rajon Rondo,” says Ciro Schiro. “I think the Nets and the Clippers should be a good match up and it’ll be cool to see two coastal teams from big cities like Los Angeles and New York be in the Finals.”

Whatever might end up happening after the finals conclude, just let it be known that this season was amazing.