NBA Season First Quarter Reactions: Bucks and Lakers Leading the Way

T Brewer, Maroon-News Staff

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers lead their perspective conferences with 21-3 records as of December 10. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing like the MVP he was last year, averaging 31 points, 13 rebounds and five and a half assists with incredible efficiency.

However, the early season MVP candidates is a crowded group. Lakers forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis are living up to the hype and putting up big numbers as their team is rolling.

However, the Los Angeles Clippers are making sure everybody knows that the Lakers are not the only team in town. Even with forward Paul George’s late start to the season and running-mate forward Kawhi Leonard missing a chunk of games due to load management, they sit third in the incredibly competitive Western Conference and will no doubt be a threat come playoff time.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden continues to dazzle fans every night and embarrass defenders, averaging over 38 points. His new co-star, guard Russell Westbrook, has appeared to be comfortable taking a step back to one of the most talented offensive stars the league has ever seen, which was one of the biggest question marks heading into the season.

The Dallas Mavericks are looking like legit contenders, as they are currently second in the West. While the added depth and the health of forward Kristaps Porzingis has helped, there is no debating why Dallas is humming so far this season: Luka Doncic.

Last season, everybody could see that the kid from Slovenia was special, but nobody expected this in his second season. Doncic is arguably the front runner for MVP this season, averaging 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

He finished November averaging a triple double, making him just the third player in NBA history to average a triple double throughout an entire month, and he is only 20 years old.

Can he lead the Mavericks to any kind of post-season success this year? My guess is no, but Luka is only scratching the surface of what he will eventually become, and I can not wait to watch the rest of his career.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins finally looks like the player we thought he was going to be when he was drafted number one overall in 2014.

Most people were ready to give up on him, but he is proving this year that he can be somebody you can build your franchise around, averaging 25 points a game on decent efficiency.

The young combination of him and center Karl-Anthony Towns is fun, but they are still a .500 squad that is not there yet. However, the future looks bright in Minnesota.

The Miami Heat are near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and are one of the toughest teams to play in the NBA. After LeBron James left South Beach in 2013, the franchise has been mediocre at best.

But with the off-season acquisition of forward Jimmy Butler, and the good play from youngsters like center Bam Adebayo, forward Tyler Herro and guard Kendrick Nunn, the Heat look like a team that could give some of the power houses in the East some problems come playoff time.

The Golden State Warriors have fallen from grace. Hard. Now, it is pretty much all due to injury, as their two best players, who are also first ballot Hall-of-Famers still in their prime, will certainly be back healthy for next season.

They will also have a very high draft pick next year, which will be helpful. I’m guessing they will trade guard D’Angelo Russell, who is having a career year, for valuable assets at some point.

They also have some promising young players, like forward Eric Paschall and guard Jordan Poole, who are getting valuable experience right now. Oh, and they still have head coach Steve Kerr and President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers. So laugh at them while you can, because this franchise is not staying at the bottom of the league for long.

What is going on with the Portland Trail Blazers? A franchise which has been prevalent in the Western Conference for years is currently 9-14 and out of the playoff hunt.

They are so desperate for wing help they signed forward Carmelo Anthony. I know he is a feel good story now and is actually playing decently, but I am confident in two months this will not be the narrative.

I have trust in guards Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum though, and when injured center Jusuf Nurkic come back, this team should be back to where they were last season.