First and foremost, I hope you’re all having a safe, happy, and healthy weekend. Today, we’re not even going to think about our beloved Timberwolves. We’re just going to get a quick look in at the landscape of the league.
To make a long story short, the West is a jumbled mess at the moment. I suppose that’s sort of to be expected at this point in the season, but we currently have nine teams within one game of .500.
The Lakers (7-3) are unsurprisingly the class of the conference so far, but Phoenix (6-3) is a bit of a surprise as the second best team thus far. I think many of us expected Phoenix to be good, but I definitely didn’t see them being one of the two or three best teams in the league, which they look like right now.
The scary thing is that they’re really cooking right now based on the fact that they’re role players are playing great, mostly Mikal Bridges. It’s not always fair to play this game, but boy oh boy, can you imagine if Philadelphia hadn’t traded Bridges for Zaire Smith on draft night?
At the bottom end of the conference, Memphis is putting themselves into a really interesting spot. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. are both going to be out for quite a while, and with seemingly every other team TRYING to win (please, I beg you to forego the low-hanging Timberwolves fruit today), they are setting themselves up nicely for the Cade Cunningham sweepstakes. All I’ll say is if Memphis is able to add one of Cade, Jalen Suggs, or Evan Mobley to this core, woooo boy. Look out.
Honestly, I have no idea what to make of the East yet. It feels like most of the teams we thought would be good haven’t really hit their stride yet, while teams like the Knicks (again, please forego the low-hanging fruit. It’s the weekend.) and Cavaliers are playing competitively.
The contender I’d like to highlight is Boston because of the incredible early play of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The Jay’s are carrying this team. Holy smokes are those two guys special. Brown in particular looks to have taken the next step, now averaging over 26ppg on .539/.421/.767 and playing better defense than usual away from the ball. He is not only an All-Star, but a legitimate All-NBA level player at the moment, and is one of the main/only reasons Boston is still competitive even amidst their glaring lack of depth.
At the bottom, the surprise is clearly Toronto. The Raptors will probably figure this out ... to an extent. They’ve “overachieved” for so long, that eventually a lack of talent was bound to catch up to them. They’re sitting at 2-6, and if they continued to lose would also be in prime position for the Cade sweepstakes. I think they’ll probably end up being too good for that as long as Kyle Lowry is around, but if this ship doesn’t get turned around soon, he would be an interesting trade candidate for a team in need of a point guard (looking at you, Clippers).