The 2019–2020 National Basketball Association’s season has now officially been underway for more than a month. With the heart of winter approaching fast and nights becoming longer—and some finding themselves indoors more than would be liked—there is really nothing better to do, nor has there ever been a better time, to tune in and get caught up with the sport which has not had as much excitement yet this season as it has over the entirety of the past few years. Times, they are a-changing in basketball across all levels, and if you have not checked in with the NBA for a while, your most recent memory may be that of a little team in Oakland, California, who have run the league for the past four to five seasons. You have certainly heard of a LeBron James in the headlines, and there was even a team from Canada that won the championship last year. Well, LeBron certainly has not gone anywhere—probably the biggest testament to his legacy—but everything else is undoubtedly different.
Starting out west, let us formally put the Golden State Warriors to rest. After years of complete domination, the team that moved from Oakland to San Francisco just this season are all but decimated. Kevin Durant has moved onto the Brooklyn Nets, though he will not be playing until next season—somewhat of a Golden State curse for his way out. The faces of the franchise, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, are both facing injury and have been declared out for the entire remainder of the season. D’Angelo Russell, who the team brought in as a replacement of KD, has yet to live up to expectations to say the least. Holding a league worst record of 3–13, all basketball fans may rejoice in knowing that all good or bad things, depending on how you look at it, will eventually come to an end.
On the other end of the standings, the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Houston Rockets currently hold the top three spots. The Nuggets, led by their young core of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, look to be picking up right where they left off last season. The Rockets seem to have found their rhythm early on, led by the re-acquainted duo that is Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The LeBron James-led-Lakers currently hold the best record in the NBA at 12–2, and partnered with Anthony Davis, it appears as if the ‘Washed King’ is anything but that. Just in his last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron posted 25, 11, 10, marking a triple double, and making it so: LeBron James is the first, and only, player in NBA history now to have posted a triple-double against every single NBA team. Year 17. Say what you want about the man or his career, but I will say that every night getting to watch him play basketball is a lucky night for sure. Once in a generation.
Back in the east, the Boston Celtics still sit atop the conference with an 11–3 record. After a season-opening loss, the team surged for a ten-game win streak, though simmered out after the comeback of Gordon Hayward was put on pause when he broke his left hand against the San Antonio Spurs. He should ideally be back in a month or so, and it will be on the Celtics to stay afloat until he does. I have said already that I see this as potentially a very beneficial time for the team, who will be able to strengthen their depth while the again hopeful all-star recovers. However, holding the top spot in the east will be no easy task. Right behind the Celtics are the Milwaukee Bucks who hold the same record, Miami Heat, and the reigning NBA Champions, Toronto Raptors. Behind these teams are the Philadelphia 76ers, who just this week saw their star point guard, Ben Simmons, hit his first career three-pointer. It may have taken him three seasons, but I am sure that Philly fanatics are excited to see him expanding his game. Regardless, Philly is Philly, and unless Ben Simmons becomes the next Steph Curry, I do not hold too much water for him hitting one three-pointer every three seasons. I can live with it.
The NBA is in an exciting time. None of what has led the headlines thus far this year did in years past, and other than LeBron James still being LeBron James, it is obvious things are shifting for the better. I haven't even mentioned the Clippers, who just last week finally saw their two new stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, play in a game together. Though that may strike fear in some, I am trying to ignore it for as long as possible. There is plenty of season left.