The NBA season is just about one month old and there have been some surprises and some teams living up to expectations.
With so much going on in the NBA, we give you a Roundball Roundup to talk about surprises, some teams pulling away and some possible future trades. Here’s the January Roundball Roundup.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Lead Clippers
While the Los Angeles Clippers aren’t having an amazing season, it is a season that is currently well above what is usually expected of the Clippers. The acquisition of Chris Paul seems to be playing well for the Clippers as they are 9-5 and Paul is averaging 18 points per game and 8.4 assists per game. His presence alone has helped Blake Griffin to average 21 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. The Clippers are steadily showing improvement and still remain one of the most exciting teams in the NBA behind five players averaging 14 points or more per game. If the chemistry between the players continues to grow, the Clippers will be strong enough (and young enough) to contend this year and many more in the future.
Derrick Rose and the Bulls Flying High
Despite missing five games, Derrick Rose and the Bulls are sitting at a 16-3 record, the best winning percentage in the league. The team is in the top 10 in points per game (10th), rebounds per game (2nd), assists per game (3rd), and points allowed (1st). Rose has averaged 20.9 points per game and 8.6 assists per game for the league-leading Bulls. One of their acquisitions this off-season, Richard Hamilton, has provided a great spark averaging 14.2 points per game in nine games this season. The Bulls are a young talented team that will have a chance at the championship this year, as well as following years. Rose has a chance at winning multiple Most Valuable Player awards to follow up his performance from last season.
Flip Saunders Out as Wizards Coach
After starting the season with a 2-15 record, the Wizards have fired coach Flip Saunders. In more than three seasons with the Wizards, Saunders led the team to a 51-130 record, but he doesn’t take all of the blame. On a team lacking chemistry and a solid offense, Saunders was in a lose-lose situation. His star player, John Wall, has had a less-than-expectation season in which he’s been very average. Saunders is being replaced by lead assistant Randy Wittman, but unless he can get the team on the same page, it’s hard to imagine much more success for him in Washington.
Two Players that may be Traded by the Deadline
Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic – Despite Orlando getting off to a 11-5 start, it still appears that Dwight Howard would like to play elsewhere, with another star. He may get his wish if a team can compile a trade worthy enough for the Magic to accept the offer. The teams that are on Howard’s destination list include the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks. Of those teams, it seems like the Lakers be the only team with the pieces to make an in-season trade happen. Should Magic decide to keep Howard and let him walk after the season, it becomes all Howard’s decision on his landing destination.
Deron Williams, PG, New Jersey Nets – Williams is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and has stated that he would not return to the Nets unless they make a move to get him some help (i.e. Dwight Howard). However, the Nets had Brook Lopez who they unfortunately lost to an injury to start the season, but he will be returning soon. Nets’ GM Billy King has said that he does not intend to try and extend Brook Lopez’s contract before the deadline tomorrow. Williams may see disaster in the distance and would probably try to get out now to go to a title contender.
Lakers Need to Make a Move in Order to Contend
At 33-years of age, Kobe Bryant is still playing like Kobe Bryant, however the Lakers are sitting at a 10-8 record to start the year. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are averaging 15.8 and 15.9 points per game respectively, but that combined is just 1.2 points per game more than The Black Mamba is averaging on the season (30.5 ppg). If the Lakers expect to contend for a title, they’ll need to make a move to acquire some talent. Currently, their point guards have failed to make much of an impact with Steve Blake (7.3 ppg) and Derek Fisher (5.1). Metta World Peace (the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest) is not providing much off of the bench, averaging just 5.5 points per game. The Lakers need to make a roster change soon or they will be out of contention before they know it. Another Achilles heel for the Lakers: playing on the road where they currently hold a 1-6 record.
By: Brandon Williams