OTG's Full-Court Press: Week 3
Kory Waldron and Marc Cantave debate the hottest topic around the NBA!
Who’s start is more disappointing, the Indiana Pacers or the Boston Celtics?
Both of these starts came to a shock for me. I know it’s just 10 games into the year, but I had both of these teams as the threats to the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with being the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the Eastern Conference. Not sure how likely that is to happen now, but hey it’s a long season.
For me the Indiana Pacers are the bigger disappointment. The Celtics have been hit hard with injuries; Jae Crowder has been out with a sprained ankle. While Al Horford is still out with a concussion. You can’t fault Celtic struggles when they’re without key guys. On the flip side the Pacers are just horrid; defense has been a shell of itself thus far. Guys just aren’t gelling as quickly as many of us thought they would. They look like a team that will be struggling to even make the playoffs if the defense doesn’t get straightened out.
I agree, both of the teams started off slower than I would of imagined. I also agree that the Pacers are definitely more disappointing at the moment. Paul George is averaging 21 points per game, which is decent, but the Pacers are going to need more production from him to even be considered a threat. The Celtics have been bitten by the injury bug and for now, we have to assume that they will play better once they are fully healed.
Is DeMar DeRozan a top 3 shooting guard currently?
I’ve been hesitant to jump on the DeRozan bandwagon, but I can’t put him down any longer. He’s a top 3 shooting guard, with James Harden now a point guard. Klay Thompson being the third option in Golden State, arguably the best active shooting guard is DeMar DeRozan. 34 points a game, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists - he’s been putting on a clinic. The scary part about those 34 points per game, it has been done primarily in the midrange and at the line. Not something done often in today’s NBA, how he progresses throughout the year will determine if he is actually the top shooting guard. As of now we can’t deny DeRozan being top 3.
Technically, DeMar DeRozan is a top 3 shooting guard, but that is by default due to the fact that James Harden has moved to the point guard position. I believe that DeRozan is having a great start to the season and is a good player, but he’s not the player his stats are showing right now. He will cool off. To the readers, if he manages to keep this up you can slander me on Twitter (@gladiatorguru21) but I am pretty sure he won’t. I still put Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson ahead of him, but only those two. So yes, he still is a top 3 shooting guard.
Will LeBron James finish as the NBA's all-time leading scorer?
This was an interesting topic that was introduced to me on Twitter so I thought I’d bring it up. As I am writing this, LeBron James is currently 10th on the all-time scoring list and is 11,320 points away from the number one spot. LeBron James turns 32 years old next month. Okay, so by my mathematical calculations, LeBron James would need to average 23 points per game while playing at least 70 games for the next seven years. That would put him around 11,270. Let’s say he covers that 50 point difference by his birthday (which he will). Can he still get the number one spot? Is it possible, yes! Will it happen, no.
People who seem to think that LeBron James will shatter this record seem to miss the fact that he came straight out of high school. The man has been playing for 13 seasons, relatively injury free. That’s going to catch up with him. He won’t be averaging 23 points by the time he is 38-39. He’s barely averaging 23 points right now. Playing 70 games for the next seven years is also a stretch. His body will slow down sooner than later. LeBron James, rightfully so, has been coasting into the playoffs the last two seasons and expect that to happen even more as he gets older.
If I’ve learned anything it’s never count out LeBron James. Time and time again this man seems to accomplish what us as writers and fans doubt. Do I think him getting to number one on the all-time scoring list is impossible, no. However, like you said the injury bug has yet to reveal himself to King James, but that’s not the only thing for him to worry about as we saw with Kobe Bryant/Tim Duncan, father time eventually catches everyone.
With the added miles from the deep playoff runs, joining the league out of high school, not to mention how he is already changing his game I don’t think he’ll make it to number one. LeBron doesn’t and has never really wanted to score big numbers. He’s more concerned with winning by any means necessary, and after finally winning a title for Cleveland last year, we’ve seen a new LeBron this year. Through ten games he’s averaging 23 points, 8.9 rebounds and 9.6 assists, career highs in both rebounds and assists thus far. James is already adapting his game for the decline of his offensive/athletic abilities, now I’m not saying he can’t score or there’s a huge drop in skill coming I’m saying LeBron James is becoming a point guard at the age of 32 and isn’t concerned with chasing greats on the scorers list.
Who’s the better overall player, Russell Westbrook or James Harden?
Currently, James Harden is averaging 30.3 points, 12.6 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game, while Westbrook is averaging 32 points, 9.9 assists, and 9.7 rebounds per game. See what I mean, they are damn near identical. First of all, let’s take a moment to admire these two as they are putting up astronomical numbers.
It would be hard to pick one, but if I had to I would take Westbrook by a small margin. Westbrook’s intensity is what puts him over in my book as sometimes Harden takes games off, particularly on the defensive end. These are two great players, but Westbrook is slightly better. I believe that Harden is the better offensive player and can control the ball better in late game situations, but Westbrook’s will is hard to deny and that gives him the edge.
I had to think long and hard on this one, you brought up the stats on both these guys, impressive numbers no question. For me it goes to the eye test. Russell Westbrook is a maniac, his intensity and drive on the court is matched by few. He’s a one man wrecking crew after the departure of Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant. Yet, still at times I watch him run the offense and I think to myself “What a bonehead decision.” or “Did he really just take that shot?” Westbrook is an elite point guard and player in this league, but it's time we start giving James Harden the credit Harden has long deserved.
James Harden has made one of the smoothest transitions from shooting guard to point guard. His numbers have jumped up and he’s been putting on a clinic just about every night. Harden still is a question mark on the defensive end for me, he still looks disengaged at times. However, he looks more in control as a player then I’ve seen in past years. He’s running an efficient Rockets offense but that’s not all, he seems to finally be the leader of his team. If I had to choose one of these two to lead my team, I’d pick James Harden.