Around the NBA: Nov. 15
Host Zech Lambert alongside Ben Serfass, Gabe Angieri, and Logan Bourandas take a look around the NBA at the breakout stars and surprise teams through the first few weeks of the season.
With many teams recently surpassing the 10 games played mark, the NBA season is officially in full swing. Many stars are shining and some new stars are starting to break through. Along with new stars, there have been a few surprising teams that have been hot out of the gate as well.
Luka Doncic has emerged as an elite superstar this season. After coming onto the scene with a remarkable rookie season, Doncic has taken his game to a whole new level. The 20-year-old Slovenian is averaging 28.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 9.1 assists while shooting 48 percent from the field through the first 10 games of the season. If he can keep these numbers up, Doncic will be a serious candidate for the MVP award come the end of the season.
The player that was traded for the aforementioned Doncic on draft night has also taken a huge step forward this season. Trae Young is averaging 26.3 points per game and 8.7 assists while shooting a very high quality 36.2 percent from 3-point range on 8.6 attempts per game. Despite some early injuries, Young has shown himself to be one of the best 3-point shooters and passers in the NBA.
When Kawhi Leonard departed from Toronto, most people considered the Raptors to be a middle of the road eastern conference team. Pascal Siakam has made sure that the Raptors stay amongst the top of the east, though. The third year player out of New Mexico State and Cameroon has increased his points per game total to 26.3 from 16.9 last season. He has emerged as the star scorer the Raptors needed. At this point in the year, he is a leading candidate for most improved player, and possibly even MVP, as he has led the Raptors to a 7-3 start.
A change of scenery may have been just what Brandon Ingram needed. The former Laker is averaging nearly 26 points per game this year for the Pelicans, which is up from the 14 he averaged as a Laker. Even though the Pelicans have struggled to win games, Ingram is showing the potential everyone saw in him at Duke.
The Phoenix Suns have been the biggest surprise in the NBA this season. Led by Devin Booker having his best year yet, the 6-4 Suns are currently tied for seventh in a loaded Western Conference that they were expected to be at the bottom of. Whether or not they can keep this up remains to be seen, but the Sun’s hot start has no doubt caught everyone off guard.
The Miami Heat have quietly been one of the best teams in the entire NBA. At 7-3 they are currently tied for second in the east. Even though Jimmy Butler isn’t playing as well as they thought he would when they signed him, other players like Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, and Kendrick Nunn have stepped up. The Heat’s depth has them looking like a legitimate force in the east this year.
Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon will be sidelined for four to six weeks after undergoing knee surgery. While this hurts the Rocket’s depth, James Harden and Russell Westbrook give them plenty of talent at the guard position while Gordon is out.
Gordon Hayward suffered a broken hand which required surgery and will keep him out for six weeks. Hayward looked like he was poised for a bounce back season averaging 20 points on 56 percent shooting.
Many reports have indicated Steph Curry will be out for the whole season, however Steph said he eyes a return sometime in early spring. The Warriors will greatly miss their superstar point guard while he heals.
Paul George and Blake Griffin will both be making their season debuts this week. While the Pistons desperately need Griffin to give them a spark, the Clippers hope Paul George will just add to their already dominant team.
Zech Lambert is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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