Don't Mess with the Jokic Brothers
With most teams being about a dozen games into the season, there has been plenty of exciting basketball around the league. These past two weeks probably don’t match up to the insane week one, however a lot sure has taken place. The Klay Thompson-less Warriors are at an amazing 11-1, holding the league’s best record. Steph Curry continues to amaze everyone in his age-33 season. He is probably the MVP at this point in the season - averaging close to 30 points, playing above-average defense, and leading a roster that has no other all-star caliber players to this hot start. No other team has had nearly as impressive of a start as the Warriors.
It would be criminal not to mention the start to the season Ja Morant is having in Memphis. At this point, I can confidently say that Morant is more likely to be the best player in the 2019 draft than Zion Williamson. Morant is electrifying going to the rim; his speed similar to prime John Wall, his explosiveness like young Russell Westbrook, and the bounce of a pre-injury Derrick Rose. He is truly a generational talent. And the crazy thing is that his jump shot is only going to get better. The Grizzlies do not get much national coverage, but they have a really nice young team. Desmond Bane looks like a steal from the 2020 draft by averaging nearly 15 points a game and carving out a role as a three and D player. De’Anthony Melton looks like he could be a candidate for 6th Man of the Year with starter Dillon Brooks returning from injury. Jaren Jackson hasn’t quite lived up to his rookie year expectations yet, but I still expect him to progress and be a two-way talent moving forward.
The last team worth highlighting in the West are the Nuggets. They too are having a noteworthy start sitting at 8-4, however let’s talk about the Jokic vs Markieff Morris scuffle in Monday night’s game. First things first, those Miami Heat City Edition jerseys are disgusting. They look like letters children put on a refrigerator. What are we doing Pat Riley? How do you go from Miami Vice to that? ANYWAYS, Markieff Morris (known dirty player) had it coming. The cheap shot he took to Jokic’s ribs and knee is an extremely dangerous play. You’re down 15, you average 5 points a game, and are making the veteran’s minimum. You don’t do that to anyone, let alone the reigning MVP. Jokic had every right to retaliate by checking Morris to the floor. Fake tough guy Jimmy Butler ran his mouth to Jokic the second Jokic got back to his bench, but not when he was within two feet of him, then claimed they would meet in the tunnels, only to be held back by a security guard with white hair.
Now let’s talk about the aftermath. Events like this are NBA Twitter users’ heaven. The content is endless. Marcus Morris (also known dirty player) decided to stand up for his twin brother saying Jokic was soft for waiting for Markieff to turn his back. This is where it gets good. Jokic’s two Serbian brothers, both 7 feet and jacked, then created a twitter account and replied to Morris essentially saying you do not want these problems, and if you’re dumb enough to start these problems, you know where to find us. I have attached the thread below for all to witness. Jokic ended up getting suspended one game, and Butler and Morris got fined. The rematch will take place on November 29th. Personally, I would resign former center Chris “Birdman” Anderson to a 10-day contract if I were the Nuggets.
Let’s go to the Eastern Conference. The team worth noting is the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have a ton of potential to be a sleeper in the East, currently with a record of 7-6. Admittedly, I did not understand the Scottie Barnes draft pick, but I should’ve never doubted Masai Ujri. He is a basketball wizard. Barnes looks like the best player in the draft. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, nearly 3 assists, and playing phenomenal defense (all FSU alumni do), all while being incredibly efficient from the field. Fred VanVleet has taken over the point guard job and has thrived as well. He’s adding an increasingly-utilized mid-range jumper to his repertoire. Gary Trent Jr. is building off his strong showing in 2020 by shooting the ball and playing tenacious defense. OG Anunoby has taken another step forward as well. Initially entering the league as a 3-and-D prospect, he now has much more in his arsenal, as he is averaging near 20 a game. Oh, and they just got All-Star Pascal Siakam back! The Raptors are following the blueprint of what won them a championship in 2018 by having great team defense and moving the ball offensively. I am not sure if they have enough of a shot to make it as a contender, but we will see how much Barnes grows throughout the year. We The North.
End of the Year Predictions
New York Knicks
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP- Giannis Antenkoumpo
Most Improved Player- Dejounte Murray
6th Man of the Year- Tyler Herro
Defensive Player of the Year- Myles Turner
Coach of the Year- Erik Spoelstra