Heading into week 2 of the NBA season there are already some teams that have fallen short of expectations or absolutely broke them. While the limited sample size we have right now can’t be enough to judge an entire year on, the early momentum might shift the direction of a certain team or even an organization.
The Miami Heat will win the East
After the Miami Heat traded for Kyle Lowry in the offseason, hopes were high in South Beach. A secondary playmaker alongside Jimmy Butler who could score and facilitate to players such as Bam Adebayo. The early results from this offseason have been staggering. Not only has Lowry made a big impact stepping into the starting point guard role, but Tyler Herro has really stepped up this season. After a big performance in the bubble to help the Heat to the Finals, Herro seemed to regress last year and it was looking like the bubble performance was a fluke. Starting off the season Herro has 22 points per game on 47% shooting from the field. He has stepped into the sixth man role, and the Heat are reaping the rewards. With this new offensive output combined with the stifling defense that has now become a trademark of Miami and Erik Spoelstra, the Heat look poised to take it all in the East.
Paul George won’t be able to carry the Clippers
After Kawhi Leonard’s injury in last year’s postseason, it was a known fact that the L.A Clippers would have to survive without Kawhi for at least this year’s regular season. This meant that the onus of keeping this team afloat was on Paul George. So far he hasn’t been doing such a great job. The Clippers are under .500 and while he is averaging 28 ppg, there is not another player on the roster averaging over 15. Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard are solid role players, but asking them to fill Kawhi’s void seems like too much. This team was constructed for a two star lineup, with the majority of the scoring coming from those two players. With one of them gone, George can score as much as he wants but unless another player emerges to somewhat fill the hole this team’s playoff aspirations are all but gone.
The Brooklyn Nets aren’t going to dominate the NBA
The Brooklyn Nets have gone all in and after two years, have yet to reap the rewards. This seemed to be the year where the Nets put a fully healthy team on the floor and completely annihilated the rest of the league. Yet this year has its own challenges with Kyrie Irving not playing due to the Covid-19 vaccine, and James Harden struggling with the new fouling rule. It is falling on Kevin Durant’s shoulders just as it did last year, and the Nets aren’t going to be winning anything without a trio clicking on all cylinders. Even a healthy Harden and Durant gives this team a fighting chance, but the dominance we expected from this team might never happen.
Top Image: Brandon Wade/AP