Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

Donovan Mitchell is constructing an early NBA MVP case with career-best numbers, Russell Westbrook’s Lakers path has taken a stunning flip and the Warriors stink with out Steph Curry.

We’re nearly one month into the NBA season. Some groups have already performed 10 video games. That doesn’t imply issues are set in stone, however it does imply that there’s extra meat for us to chew on.

So, who’s rising and who’s falling? Time for our weekly inventory watch.

RISING: Donovan Mitchell’s MVP case

No person within the NBA, save perhaps the Milwaukee Bucks, has been higher this season than the 8-2 Cleveland Cavaliers (winners of eight straight earlier than Monday night time). And nobody on the Cavaliers has been higher than Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell has given the Cavs — who, you’ll keep in mind, mainly despatched each draft choose of theirs to Utah within the low season to usher in Mitchell — every little thing they may have hoped for and extra.

He’s placing up numbers that might symbolize career-highs throughout the board: 31.2 factors per sport, 6.0 assists, 45.1% from deep, 50.5% from the sphere. He’s enjoying energetic and energetic defence, too!

Given how the Brooklyn Nets have fallen off a cliff, and the Philadelphia 76ers have struggled, it appears to be like like there’s room on the prime of the Japanese Convention. The Cavs, it seems, are poised to fill that void, and in the event that they proceed at this tempo, Mitchell goes to change into a authentic MVP candidate.

FALLING: The NBA’s vibes

Right here’s just a few of the information tales that made headlines final Thursday: Kyrie Irving being suspended for at the very least 5 video games by the Nets; now-former San Antonio Spurs guard Josh Primo and the Spurs being sued by a former workforce psychologist who alleges that Primo uncovered himself to her a number of instances; Miles Bridges, a rising star for the Hornets final season, pleading no contest to a felony home violence cost.

And this was simply sooner or later after the Nets had fired head coach Steve Nash in order that, it was reported, they may herald Ime Udoka, who the Boston Celtics had suspended for the yr because of him partaking in an inappropriate relationship with a feminine worker.

And we’re nonetheless just some months faraway from Phoenix Suns proprietor Robert Sarver being suspended for — nicely, a bunch of causes, which we’ll simply summarise as overseeing a poisonous office.

It was a kind of weeks through which the video games and on-court motion grew to become an afterthought. That’s not what the NBA desires. It’s not why any of us fell in love with the game or observe the video games. Frankly, it’s deflating and miserable.

RISING: Russell Westbrook, Sixth Man of the 12 months?

High-quality, he’s not going to win that award, nor ought to he.

However since transferring to the bench, Westbrook has, extremely, change into each an efficient and environment friendly basketball participant. He’s even endeared himself to Lakers followers, one thing that simply a few weeks in the past would have been unattainable to consider.

None of this implies he or the Lakers are vindicated for his or her choices over the previous year-plus — each events deserve criticism for the way in which this complete factor has performed out — however Westbrook is an all-time nice participant. It’s good to see him discover his footing.

FALLING: The Warriors’ repeat hopes

It’s not simply that the Warriors — who are actually an unsightly 4-7 — misplaced 5 in a row on the highway final week, although that’s clearly not good. What makes it worse, although, are the groups that handed the Warriors these defeats: the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Miami Warmth, Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans.

Keep in mind all these younger lottery picks the Warriors introduced in with the hope that they may seize the baton from among the vets and carry the workforce into the longer term? Nicely, it’s not going nice. Jonathan Kuminga hasn’t taken the step ahead that the Warriors hoped, they usually haemorrhage factors any time James Wiseman steps onto the ground. They’ve been outscored by 27.2 factors per 100 non-garbage time possessions with Wiseman on the court docket, in response to Cleansing the Glass, one of many worst marks within the league.

Mainly, the Warriors stink any time Steph Curry steps off the ground. In keeping with Cleansing the Glass, they’ve carried out like a 55-win workforce with Curry and a nine-win workforce with out him. I do know they received the title final yr and are within the midst of an all-time run, however I additionally suppose we might very nicely look again on the drafting of Wiseman versus buying and selling the choose, or the participant afterward, as a colossal mistake.


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