Because of my splurge on NBA League Pass, I now have the option to watch almost any game I want (save for the ones that I get blacked out of). So, at the beginning of every week, I go through all the games and see which games are worth watching. Here are my picks for next week:
Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves
While I'm writing this, the Grizzlies are 5th in the Western Conference. This also might be the first game of theirs that I am watching this season (it's still early). With that being said, I don't know much about this team only that Chandler Parsons (a former Houston Rocket) plays for them, so I will be looking out for him. Besides, I'm not recommending this game because of the Grizzlies. Instead, I think the coming weeks will prove to be interesting for the Timberwolves. With the recent trade of hothead Jimmy Butler, I will be curious to see how this team shapes up without him. In Butler's words, the Wolves "[bleeping] need [him]," so we will see if he is right!
Lakers vs. Heat
I plan on writing a whole piece on my new Lakers obsession (a guilty one I might add- I grew up a quasi-Celtics fan), so I will summarize here. In short, the chemistry between the Lebron, the young guys (Ball, Kuzma, Hart, Ingram, Caldwell-Pope), and the old guys (Rondo, Chandler, Stephenson, McGee) is fascinating to me. Josh Hart is also one of my new favorite players to watch (I recommend reading this great article by Paolo Ugetti from The Ringer). Also, I love watching players play against their former team (Lebron and the Heat).
Los Angeles Lakers vs Atlanta Hawks Full Game Highlights | 11.11.2018, NBA Season www.youtube.com
Trail Blazers vs. Wizards
Similar to my Lakers fascination, the Wizards chemistry issues have been an interesting storyline in this young season. Their initial struggles (highlighted in this Washington Post article) were subject to media scrutiny, but they have appeared to have a found at least the beginning of a stride as we head into the holidays. Also, as I'm writing this, the Blazers are 2nd in the Western Conference, and it's always fun to watch good basketball.
Warriors vs. Spurs
I'm a bitter Rockets fan, but I have to admit, the Warriors are fun to watch. Because I live in the Bay Area now, I'm subjected to an overload of "Dub nation-ness." Again, it's always fun to watch good basketball, and the Warriors are, to say the absolute least, very good. As for the Spurs, the recent DeMar DeRozan trade has proven to be an excellent deal for the team as they stand 6th in the Western Conference. Also, Pau Gasol stills plays!
Jazz vs. Pacers
The Jazz are currently .500 (ranked 9th the Western Conference), and the Pacers are .571 (ranked 5th in the Eastern Conference). The Jazz will be playing 5 games in 8 days, Indiana being the last game of this road-trip, so it will be interesting to see how well they hold up after being on the road. However, I'm most interested in Victor Oladipo. Along with basketball, Oladipo also sings (his new track "Connected" just dropped earlier this month) and has been politically involved in the recent unsuccessfully campaign to reelect senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. On most nights, Oladipo appears to be the shining light amongst lower-ranked players; According to Paul Pierce, he's the "loneliest superstar in the Eastern Conference, maybe even in the league." Oladipo's rise in stardom, albeit lonely stardom, will be another interesting storyline to follow this season.
Suns vs. 76ers
I'll be honest, I would typically not be down to watch a Suns game. They are ranked last in the Western Conference, and if you haven't watched Charles Barkley go in on the Suns, please treat yourself. However, I am interested in seeing Trevor Ariza (a former Houston Rocket). The most interesting storyline in the NBA has been the Jimmy Butler fiasco. Long story short, Butler was frustrated at the lack of effort from the other Wolves players, specifically from superstars Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. As a result, he requested a trade. Finally, the Wolves reached a decision and Butler was traded to the 76ers. The coming weeks will be interesting to say the least; if Butler was frustrated with Towns and Wiggins, one can only imagine what is to come with the likes of Simmons, Embiid, and Fultz.
Celtics vs. Hornets
I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about the Hornets, but they are ranked 5th in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are a hodgepodge of incredibly talented players, which sounds good, but actually might be terrible. The team, as they work out what lineups work best with all their star players, have suffered a few hard losses recently. Nonetheless, Jayson Tatum is on track to be one of the greatest of all time, and I like to imagine myself telling my grandchildren I watched him when he was just 20 years old.
Nuggets vs. Bucks
Two words: Giannis Antetokounmpo aka The Greek Freak. Giannis is on his way to an MVP season, and he's only 23 years old. According to one writer, "he's already surpassed heavyweights such as Lebron Jams, Kevin Durant, or Stephen Curry." I'll be honest, I don't know many of the other players on the Bucks, so it does feel like an Oladipo on the Pacers kind of situation. Regardless, the Bucks, currently ranked 2nd in the Eastern Conference, are set on their goal: "to be the top team in the East." The Denver Nuggets, according to Charles Barkley, "will have a better record than the Lakers." The Nuggets, although suffering a 4th straight loss last night, are still ranked 3rd in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray are the two players to watch as they strive to recover from this week's losses.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Kevin Durant FREAKS Duel 2018.11.08 - Giannis With 24 Pts, 9 Rebs, 4 Asts! www.youtube.com
Raptors vs. Magic
The Raptors, with new addition Kawhi Leonard, are currently ranked 1st in the Eastern Conference. So, they're pretty good, I guess. There was some initial concern over the chemistry of the new team given that the Raptors traded fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan for Leonard over the summer. DeRozan and current Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry were best friends and splitting the two up was a true tragedy. Nonetheless, both Leonard and DeRozan appear to thriving in their new respective positions. I don't have a lot to say about the Magic besides the fact that I can't get over how much Aaron Gordon looks like Aaron Judge. This Blazers game comes at the end of a tough spot in their schedule (76ers, Lakers, Knicks) before they move on to tough road trip (Nuggets, Lakers, Blazers, Warriors). If there were any time to prove what this team is made of, that time is now.
Clippers vs. Wizards
The Clippers are a fun team, and they recently pulled out a win over the Warriors in OT. I haven't watched a Clippers game this year, so I just did a quick Google search to see how even played for them, and it appears to be a hodge-podge of many different players coming from many different teams (Lou Williams, Marcin Gortat, Patrick Beverly, Danilo Gallinari). Also, a former Houston Rocket, Luc Mbah a Moute, currently plays for the Clippers. I'm interested in following the Clippers storyline primarily because I've always been fascinated by the fact that LA has two teams. No matter how good the Clippers are, will LA ever love them as much as they love the Lakers (especially with Lebron)?
Golden State Warriors vs LA Clippers Full Game Highlights | 11.12.2018, NBA Season www.youtube.com
Pelicans vs. 76ers
As previously discussed, the 76ers will be an interesting team to watch in the upcoming weeks. The Pelicans are off to a slower start this season, but it's still early. With the loss of Demarcus Cousins in the Warriors in the offseason, Anthony Davis has become the star of the show for the Pelicans. If Anthony Davis were playing for a big-market team, like the Lakers or the Celtics, he would be talked about with the likes of Curry, Durant, and other big names. Anthony Davis is good, really good, and this is definitely one of my most anticipated games of next week. Rising stars Davis, Simmons, and Embiid are all coming up in a new NBA that they have the power to control.
Raptors vs. Hawks
The Raptors are good, and the Hawks are 2nd to last in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, Trae Young is a rising star in the NBA and has the potential to be Rookie of the Year. Also, he's affectionately referred to has Ice-Trae by the members of Migos, which is fun.
Knicks vs. Celtics
The Celtics are good, and the Knicks are 3rd to last in the Eastern Conference. I'll be honest, I would not watch this game if I weren't a quasi-Celtics fan.
Pistons vs. Rockets
If you couldn't already tell, I'm a Rockets fan. After a rough start to the season, the Rockets finally start to look like they are coming back. Whether or not this rough start can be attributed to Melo, I can't say because I don't know really know enough about basketball. Unless I am on my way to a Warriors game on Wednesday (I know this sounds traitorous, but come on, it's the Warriors!), I will definitely be watching this game. All I know about the Pistons is that Blake Griffin plays for them, so that's fun!
The two ESPN games for ESPN's NBA Wednesday are Lakers vs. Cavaliers and Thunder vs. Warriors, which I actually might go to! The Lakers vs. Cavaliers game will be interesting to see the fans reaction to Lebron being back in Cleveland; I hope it's not like Lebron's return to Cleveland after he went to Miami. Then again, that might be entertaining. I'm excited for both of these games mainly because of the potential tension and side-storyline, both between and within teams (the Draymond Green vs. Kevin Durant story is what I'm most interested in currently).
Full Kevin Durant-Draymond Green yelling video. www.youtube.com
A few teams that I've already discussed are also playing on Wednesday: Pacers vs. Hornets, Trail Blazers vs. Bucks, Nuggets vs. Timberwolves, and Grizzlies vs. Clippers.On Friday 11/23, I have the day off thanks to Thanksgiving Break. The games I hope to watch are Rockets vs. Pistons (again), Spurs vs. Pacers, Jazz vs. Lakers, and Trail Blazers vs. Warriors.
Overall, my top 3 games of this week are
1) Warriors vs. Thunder
2) Lakers vs. Cavaliers
3) Jazz vs. Lakers