NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Christmas Day is just five days away and it is one of the favorite days of the year for NBA fans. There has been a lot of drama in the NBA so far in the 2018-2019 season. Power has shifted in the entire league and there seems to be unpredictably, which is a good thing for the NBA and it needs it. Who are the Top 10 teams in the NBA?
10. Boston Celtics: The Celtics have the talent to be one of the best teams in the NBA, but they are underachieving so far this season with a 18-12 record. Boston currently sits in the five spot in the east. Losing 111-103 at home on Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns isn't a good look for this team. Kyrie Irving has been really good this season, but Gordon Hayward has not. This team might need to make a shakeup at the trade deadline. The Boston Celtics have won nine games on the road and at home, but they lost four less games at home than they have on the road.
9. Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers just finished a road trip and they went 1-3 on it. Los Angeles was very good offensively, but they weren't very good defensively. The Los Angeles Lakers will play the next two games at home before playing the Golden State Warriors on the road on Christmas Day. There has been rumors of Anthony Davis joining the Lakers via trade, but it probably won't happen this season. Lebron James is averaging 28 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7 APG, 0.7 BPG, and 1.3 SPG so far this season. They are currently the number four seed in the west with a 18-13 record.
8. Portland Trail Blazers: Even though the Trail Blazers didn't make adjustments in the offseason, they are still a tough team to beat night in and night out. Damian Lillard is averaging 27.2 PPG and C.J. McCollum is averaging 21.5 PPG so far this season. Jusuf Nurkic is averaging a double-double with 14.4 PPG and 10.1 RPG so far this season. Zach Collins and Al-Farouq Aminu is some other key players on this team. Portland's record so far this season is 18-13 and they are currently the number five seed in the west.
7. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have done a tremendous job of being stable ever since Paul George and they are showing that last year was not a fluke. Indiana is currently in the number four spot in the east with a 20-12 record. They are a scrappy team and well coached by Nate McMillan. Victor Oladipo averages 20.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5 APG, and 1.6 SPG so far this season. Domantas Sabonis is averaging 14.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and 0.5 BPG so far this season. This team could be a dark horse contender in the Eastern Conference.
6. Philadelphia 76ers: The home and road record for this team is a major discrepancy. The 76ers are 15-3 at home and they are just 6-9 on the road so far this season. Philadelphia is currently the number three seed in the east and they are three games back of the Toronto Raptors for the number one seed in the east. The Philadelphia 76ers are 1.5 games back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the number two seed in the east. Philadelphia could make up ground in the conference with a game against the Toronto Raptors at home on Saturday night. The 76ers will play the Boston Celtics on the road on Christmas Day. Joel Embiid is averaging a double-double with 26.3 PPG, 13.2 RPG, and 1.8 BPG so far this season. Jimmy Butler is having a full effect on this team with averaging 19.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 2 SPG so far this season. J.J. Reddick is averaging 18 PPG. Landry Shamet is becoming a key player off the bench. He is averaging 8.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 0.9 APG so far this season. Ben Simmons is averaging 15.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 7.4 APG, 0.8 BPG, and 1.4 SPG so far this season. The 76ers are also a dangerous contender in the east.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder are 20-6 ever since starting the season 0-4. They are a defensive minded team. Oklahoma City currently sits in the number two spot in the west. The Oklahoma City Thunder can get into teams heads. Steven Adams is a rough rider. Russell Westbrook continues to set the tone for this team. Paul George is fitting in much better with this team this season. He is averaging 25.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.4 APG, 0.7 BPG, and 2.1 SPG so far this season. Billy Donovan has been much better coaching this team ever since that 0-4 start.
4. Golden State Warriors: The Warriors have not played with the same juice in the 2018-2019 season. They have had some injuries along the way, but there is also some inconsistent play with this team. Golden State sits in third place in the west with a 21-11 record, but they are just one game back of the Denver Nuggets for the number one seed in the west. At some point, this team will get DeMarcus Cousins back and they will also go on a massive winning streak. Steph Curry is the most important player on this team. He is averaging 29 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG so far this season. Kevin Durant is averaging 28.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1 BPG, and 0.9 SPG so far this season. Klay Thompson is averaging 22 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 1.2 SPG so far this season. Draymond Green has not been that effective on offense so far this season. He is averaging 6.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 0.8 BPG, and 1.7 SPG so far this season. The Golden State Warriors will start a four-game home stand on Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks. Golden State will face the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Christmas Day.
3. Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are living up to their potential. Mike Budenholzer has glued this team together and he has gotten the best out of his players. Milwaukee is the current two seed in the east with a 21-9 record. They are 1.5 games back of the Toronto Raptors for first place in the east. Giannis Antentokounmpo scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds, recorded eight assists, blocked one shot, and had two steals in a 125-117 win at home on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. He is the most important player on this team. The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA. They will play on the road on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks.
2. Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets have won four consecutive games and they currently have the best record in the west with a 21-9 record. Denver has beaten the Toronto Raptors twice this season. They are 13-3 at home so far this season and they are 8-6 on the road. Nikola Jokic is the glue of this team. He is averaging 18 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.4 APG, 0.7 BPG, and 1.5 SPG so far this season. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris is a tremendous back court in the NBA. Murray is averaging 17.6 PPG and 5.1 APG and Harris is averaging 16.6 PPG and 2.9 APG. Monte Morris is a good role player and he is averaging 10.1 PPG. Paul Millsap is averaging 13.6 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG, 1.1 BPG, and 1.4 SPG so far this season. Will Barton is averaging 16.5 PPG. Michael Porter Jr. and Isaiah Thomas has not played at all this season for Denver. Michael Malone could very well be the coach of the year in the NBA right now.
1. Toronto Raptors: The Raptors are the clear cut choice for the best team in the NBA right now with a 24-9 record. Toronto continues to impress night in and night out. This team can win in so many different ways. The Toronto Raptors can win games with or without Kawhi Leonard. They also have the best bench in the NBA. Nick Nurse has done a tremendous job coaching this team. Toronto can win games at home and on the road. This team has great mental toughness. Kawhi Leonard is averaging 26.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.6 BPG, and 1.8 SPG so far this season. Kyle Lowry is averaging 14.2 PPG and 10 APG so far this season. Serge Ibaka is averaging 16.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.4 BPG so far this season. The Raptors will travel for a big game on the road on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, but before that they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Friday night.