- Cleveland Cavaliers last week (1)
LeBron James is 6-0 for the first time in his career. If you believe the past is a strong indicator of the future, then you may find it noteworthy that the three times he started a season 5-1 resulted in an NBA championship. The team is on cruise control early and their bad habits almost caught up to them against the Sixers, but for now the team is rolling.
- Los Angeles Clippers last week (3)
The Clippers are coming off a week with a great win against the Spurs, and an awful loss to the Thunder. While a night of ice cold shooting from the Clippers gave the Thunder it’s lone win against a playoff team, the Clippers are still showing that they are a force to be reckoned with. They have an NBA-best point differential of +12, and Blake Griffin once again looks like an MVP candidate.
- San Antonio Spurs last week (2)
The new season smell has worn off on San Antonio. Losing at home to the Jazz and Clippers by a combined 39 points was surprising, especially when you consider how good the team was at home last season. On the plus side, the Jazz and Clippers appear to be very good playoff teams and they weren’t blown out by the Lakers.
- Charlotte Hornets last week (8)
The Hornets are third in defensive efficiency through five games. While their offense is middle of the pack, the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has powered the Hornets to this strong start. Two seasons ago Kidd-Gilchrist was in the discussion for DPOY, and he is once again showing the tremendous impact he can have despite offensive limitations.
- Golden State Warriors last week (6)
For one night the Death Star looked fully operational. The Warriors systematically destroyed the Oklahoma City Thunder, showing the only place this rivalry is close is shots thrown with pre-game outfits. They also learned that if you party/fly with Drake the night before a game, you can get blown out by the lowly Lakers. They will have nights where they look like world-beaters, and nights where they look awful. But the more chemistry they develop, the more dangerous they become.
- Atlanta Hawks last week (6)
It seems like this was the week of the bad loss, and the Hawks were not immune. The close road loss to the Wizards was a disappointment in an otherwise great start to the season. Engaged Dwight Howard has been a huge win for this team, as they are still second in defensive efficiency, plus have improved their rebound rate from 28th to 6th.
- Toronto Raptors last week (5)
Speaking of bad losses! The Toronto Raptors lost to the Sacramento Kings who were on the second night of a back to back. They were without Valanciunas, but the loss highlights just how shallow their frontcourt depth is. The lone win the Raptors have over a playoff team was Detroit without Reggie Jackson, but they’ll face a test in the coming week against the Thunder and Hornets.
- Oklahoma City Thunder last week (9)
The Thunder currently sit atop the Western Conference, however they have not been tested. They were blown out by the Warriors, which was to be expected, but until they start getting quality wins over quality opponents I will remain hesitant in moving them much further up this list.
- Portland Trail Blazers last week (10)
The Blazers bounced back from being blown out by the Warriors and a bad loss to the Suns to beat the Mavericks and Grizzlies. Their success is heavily dependent on Lillard and McCollum being spectacular enough to overcome an otherwise lackluster roster. So expect more uneven play moving forward.
- Detroit Pistons last week (12)
The Pistons went 3-1 over the past week with their lone loss coming against the Nets. Despite the bad loss, Detroit is navigating the early portion of the season well without their starting point guard. They have a top five defense and Andre Drummond looks as dominant as ever.
- Utah Jazz last week (15)
The Jazz are nearly back to being whole with the return of Gordon Hayward. The team went 3-3 without Hayward, but when you consider the losses came against the Spurs, Clippers, plus a loss against the Blazers when Favors didn’t play, it’s hard to be too down on them. Sitting sixth in the West, I anticipate this team to continue trending upward this season.
- Boston Celtics last week (7)
Yes, the Celtics have been without Al Horford for the last three games, but the signs for concerns were there even with him. The Celtics are 29th in defensive efficiency and 28th in rebound rate. When Horford and Crowder are back in the lineup, that should help stop a few leaks in the defense, but the rebounding concerns will likely prevent them from ever having an elite defense.
- Milwaukee Bucks last week (20)
The overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks came on the second night of a back to back and was an unfortunate finish to an otherwise great week for the Bucks. They got a quality win over the Pacers, held off the Pelicans and dismantled the Kings at home. If they can continue taking care of business against the weaker teams of each conference, they could stay in striking range for a playoff spot late in the year.
- Houston Rockets last week (14)
The Rockets are in the middle of a tough road trip. Their losses against the Cavaliers and Hawks were to be expected, as those teams are simply better than them. But they did get a decisive win against the Knicks at MSG. They will need to avoid a letdown against the Wizards, as that game is followed by a home and home against the Spurs. Nothing comes easy for the Rockets early in this season.
- Los Angeles Lakers last week (not ranked)
I’m as surprised as you are. The Lakers looked to be off to another season filled with losing before they rattled off three straight good wins against the Hawks, Warriors, and Suns. I’m not sure how sustainable their recent play is, but they’re a fun, young team that appears destined to be a League Pass darling.
- Denver Nuggets last week (17)
The Nuggets are a young, frustrating team. They will have nights where they look awesome, like their blowout win over the Celtics, and nights where they fail to hold on to late leads like against the Raptors and Blazers. The fact that they’ve hung around with quality teams without starting shooting guard Gary Harris is encouraging. Now that he’s back, the Nuggets appear to be back on track towards being a surprise team of this season.
- Indiana Pacers last week (18)
The Pacers had a better week, going 2-1 with wins over the Lakers and Bulls. But the loss to the Bucks was typical for this maddeningly inconsistent team. Defense is the biggest concern, as Myles Turner continues to be overmatched on that end of the floor. The Pacers are currently 27th in defensive efficiency, and seem unlikely to put together a strong stretch of games until they can shore that up.
- Chicago Bulls last week (13)
The Bulls followed their 3-0 start with three straight losses. They still have the third best offensive efficiency in the league, but I expect that number to plummet as the team stops shooting better than expected.
- Memphis Grizzlies last week (11)
This Grizzlies team just doesn’t seem to have the magic of previous season. They rested all their starters against the Timberwolves, then barely beat the lowly Pelicans the following night. Follow that with losses to the Clippers and Blazers and you have an underwhelming week for Memphis.
- Sacramento Kings last week (16)
The win against to the Valanciunas-less Raptors was solid, but it came after four straight losses. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are playing great to start the season, but if they want to make progress this season they will need to avoid having too many losing streaks along the way. Uneven play will be the downfall of this team.
Ride The Wave
Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.
Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.
Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.
This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.
On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.
It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?
The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.
The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.
Year 15 | A Mini Documentary
Year 15 of a legacy…
Something Out of Nothing
It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.
We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.
Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.
It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.
We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.
I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.
Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.
The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).
Stay tuned, because it’s not over.
Ride The Wave
Year 15 | A Mini Documentary
An Ode to the 2007-2008 Warriors
USA VS EVERYBODY | The Break | Episode 17
Trading Places | The Break | Episode 18
Christmas Day Showdowns | The Break | Episode 10
Western Conference Preview | The Break | Episode 1
Eastern Conference Preview | The Break | Episode 2
NBA & More Mailbag with Josh Howe — TWT 102
Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview with Keith Parish — TWT 101
Ride The Wave
Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things...
Year 15 | A Mini Documentary
Year 15 of a legacy...
Something Out of Nothing
It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau....
Lonzo Ball: The New Face of the Lakers
Lonzo Ball is the new face of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. The new savior. The Big Baller Brand is...
Carmelo Anthony has been traded away from the New York Knickerbockers to the Oklahoma City Thunder. You probably knew this...
Reloaded Raptors Banking on Young Guns
Masai Ujiri is a smart guy. No matter which conference your team is in, you’re either stuck with the issue...
Jamal Murray: Maestro in the Making
It’s been four years since the Denver Nuggets have made the NBA playoffs. The last time the Nuggets were playing...
Nikos Galis: The Greatest Greek To Ever Do It
When you grow up Greek, you get the entire culture instilled into your veins. From the stubbornness that flows with...
Fantasy Tips from a Man Who Played One Year and Lost
Let me set the scene for you: A cutthroat, 10-team head-to-head league with a zero dollar buy-in, and a few...
Talking LA Clippers with Tom West — TWT 99
Hey there, and welcome to another episode of Timeout with Ti. Last time out on episode 98, I (Ti Windisch)...