It's been an exciting start to the NBA season. The good teams have proved to everyone that they were worth the hype, the bad teams have proven that they won't win for a while and the young teams are extremely fun to watch. Teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder have shocked the basketball world and shown that they can be a playoff contender, while perennial playoff teams like the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs have struggled out of the gate.
It's also been fun to see some young players finally hit their stride. Nine out of the 24 All-Stars, including Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Brandon Ingram, and Bam Adebayo, are played in their first midseason classic. The rookie class has shown flashes of greatness, especially from Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and Tyler Herro. And of course, who can forget about the superstars? Giannis has taken over the role as the NBA's best player, LeBron is playing out of his mind for being 35 and James Harden continues to put up masterful scoring performances.
Martian and I (1c3) will be recapping the first half, talking about the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment up to this point. We will also be predicting how the playoffs will shape out, as well as giving our picks for the season awards. It should be a fun one. When we collab it's always a blast for the both of us because we get to talk about what we love. Good old basketball. Let's slide right into it.
2019-2020 NBA Mid Season Recap
1c3: Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have been a pleasant surprise this year. Many thought it would be another rebuilding year that would end with them getting a top pick. Don't tell that to Ja Morant or Jaren Jackson Jr. Morant, along with Jackson, Dillon Brooks, and rookie Brandon Clarke has given the Grizzlies a core to look forward to in the future.
Memphis currently holds the final playoff spot in the west, having a record of 28-28. Teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers aren't too far behind, so the Grizzlies have to continue to play well if they want to make the playoffs. Even if Memphis doesn't make the playoffs, I would say it's still a pretty successful year one under new coach Taylor Jenkins.
Martian: Miami Heat
I thought the Heat were going to be good but not this good. Currently sitting at 36-21, good for fourth in the East, the offseason signing of Jimmy Butler has proven to be incredibly beneficial. His never-ending work ethic fits perfectly with the Heat culture established by president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Bam Adebayo, my pre-season pick for Most Improved Player, has shined in his first season as the Heat's main big, posting career-highs across the board en route to his first All-Star selection. Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn have been among the league's best rookies while Duncan Robinson has been lighting it up from three. The trade deadline acquisitions of Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder will be crucial come playoffs, as they both provide veteran leadership and postseason experience. Especially Iggy, the dude's got three rings and a Finals MVP.
Miami, while struggling on the road, has been dominant in South Beach, posting a 21-3 home record (third best in the league). If they remain a top-four seed, they'll get to play their first playoff games at home, which will be crucial, and if they can navigate their woes on the road, they'll be a true threat.
1c3: Sacramento Kings
Hopes were high this year for the Sacramento Kings, as they finished a few games
short of making the playoffs last season. They brought in a new coach in Luke Walton and their young core of Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and De'Aaron Fox looked ready to lead a playoff charge.
Unfortunately for the Kings, it just hasn't been the case. Fox and Bagley have missed significant time due to injury and the Kings haven't been able to mesh well. They did pick up a nice victory against the Los Angeles Clippers coming out of the All-Star break, so hopefully, that could be the momentum that they need. As of right now though, they top the list of my biggest disappointments.
Martian: Chicago Bulls
Why do I do this to myself every year, being a Bulls fan sucks so bad sometimes. Some had high expectations for the Chicago Bulls coming into this season. The writing was on the wall for a successful season. Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter were all coming into the year healthy and ready to show what they could do while on the floor together. Coby White was drafted seventh overall to provide scoring and playmaking while Daniel Gafford was stolen in the second round. Tomas Satoransky and Thad Young were brought in to provide veteran stability and help ease the transition into a playoff contender. Otto Porter was ready to continue the success he had after being traded to Chicago last season.
The Bulls are 20-39. Markkanen and Carter have missed extended time due to injuries. Chicagoans are once again calling for the firings of head coach Jim Boylen and front office personnel John Paxson and Gar Forman. LaVine missed out on his first All-Star selection despite the game being held in Chicago. It's been an absolute mess. The glimmers of hope have turned into violent night terrors. What's next? Who knows. Probably sadness.
Eastern Conference Final Standings Prediction
1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Miami Heat
4. Boston Celtics
5. Philadelphia 76ers
6. Indiana Pacers
7. Brooklyn Nets
8. Orlando Magic
1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Boston Celtics
4. Miami Heat
5. Indiana Pacers
6. Philadelphia 76ers
7. Orlando Magic
8. Brooklyn Nets
Western Conference Final Standings Prediction
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Houston Rockets
4. Denver Nuggets
5. Utah Jazz
6. Dallas Mavericks
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
8. New Orleans Pelicans