Blazers, Celtics, Doncic, Lakers, French… the NBA’s barometer after a month of competition
The unexpected leaders of the Blazers in the West, the Celtics already ahead in the East, Luka Doncic on an MVP mission, the Warriors coming out as the defending champions, the Lakers’ struggles, the Nets and the French. .. State of play in the NBA, after a month of competition.
Fresh air in the West
Portland leads (10-5) and the return to form of Damian Lillard, long absent after a torn stomach, explains a lot. But around “Dame Time”, a rejuvenated workforce is blooming with envy, such as talented back Anfernee Simons and winger Jerami Grant, a good pick in the transfer window.
These Blazers are driven by a ferocious will to defend, a virtue Oregon has long been missing. “In the past, we expected someone with a hot hand,” Lillard agreed. But with the strength we have, we first think of stopping the enemy. That’s the only difference.”
If Phoenix (2nd) and Denver (3rd) are logically in ambush, the Jazz’s 4th place is surprising, the team is in reconstruction after the departure of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Except that the recruits, like the wonderful Finn Lauri Markannen and Collin Sexton, show a wonderful unity.
Green Sun in the East
As if nothing had happened, after an offseason bordering on discomfort with the suspension for the entire season of Ime Udoka, for an “inappropriate intimate relationship” with a team employee, the Celtics are calmly assuming their status as last championship finalist (best record in league, 12-3).
Former assistant Joe Mazzula assures the interim and the continuation of the good work done from last year. The game is already in place, the workforce is more complete than ever, with the recruitment of full-back Malcolm Brogdon, around the important duo of Jayson Tatum / Jaylen Brown.
Behind, not surprisingly, are the Bucks, 2021 champions, despite the absence of Khris Middleton, hit on the wrist, but with Giannis Antetokounmpo in MVP mode as he was in 2019 and 2020.
Doncic is “Magic”.
In the race for the best player of the season trophy, Luka “magic” Doncic started well. Top scorer with an average of 34.4 points (8.8 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 2.1 interceptions), the 23-year-old Slovenian prodigy has managed three games in 40 units and eight in 30 (13 games in total).
Warriors, the great destruction
What’s going on in the Golden State? If Stephen Curry is still as dazzling as ever, the rest of the team is transparent. The numbers prove it: eight losses on the most trips, unheard of for a defending champion: 124.3 points conceded on average, making it the worst defense outside the league.
Not to the taste of coach Steve Kerr: “we lack collective desire. We play like in the Drew League! (summer league mixing professionals and amateurs). We feel sorry for ourselves, but no one will feel sorry for us. Everyone is eager to kick our ass. Sport will reward you when you really get involved. If you really fight together, the shots are going in, the whistles are going in… That’s not there.”
Lakers and Nets, hello sadness
To say that the start of the season has been delicate and busy for both franchises is an understatement.
In Los Angeles, even though LeBron James keeps trying, Anthony Davis is finally right and Russell Westbrook is motivated enough, off the bench, to silence the critics, the sauce still doesn’t last. . Also lacking in shooters, the 2020 champion is 14th in the West.
In Brooklyn, coach Steve Nash paid the price for the lack of results (11th in the East). Only Kevin Durant, who claimed his retirement this summer, holds his rank. Unlike Kyrie Irving, who still has people talking about him outside the courts, by promoting an anti-Semitic movie. Suspended eight games by the Nets, the All-Star point guard should be back on Sunday to face Memphis.
If Rudy Gobert is in the acclimatization phase in Minnesota (14.2 pts, best rebounder in the league with 12.5 catches) and Nicolas Batum remains a shadow worker in the Clippers, Evan Fournier is struggling in the Knicks, where coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t last long. t used him for two games, after keeping him in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season.
Killian Hayes is fighting and showing progress with the Pistons, as is Theo Maledon with the Thunder.