Welcome to Around The League With Alex Golden. In today's debut article, I gathered some of NBA Twitters finest, to discuss some of the current events in the NBA. The League is always on the go, and with so many storylines and topics to discuss, I wanted to find a central location where we can cover that for you. So without further ado, here is the debut of: Around The League.
1). Is there a team good enough in the Western Conference to take down the Warriors? If so, who and why can they beat them in a 7-game series. If not, is there a team good enough from the Eastern Conference to take down the Warriors? If so, who and why can beat them in a 7-game series.
Keith Smith (Yahoo! Sports): "With all due respect to the Denver Nuggets, I think the Houston Rockets are the team we need to keep an eye on here. Houston has started to pick up their play after a slow start. And, as we saw last year, they can hang with the Warriors. They were a bad-shooting night away from knocking of Golden State last year and the Warriors seem a touch more beatable this time around."
Jabari Davis (HoopMag): "I'd love to be able to say the Rockets or Nuggets or even some mystery team can beat them in a 7-game series, but the trouble is (much like the previous couple years), unless they are injured going down the stretch, it is difficult to fathom them losing to the same team four times in 10-14 days. That isn't to say it would be impossible or there is absolutely no chance of crazy things happening for the duration of a series, but it feels like a year in which the talent they have in that locker room will put it together when it is time to get to work in April, May and beyond. This may be the most vulnerable they've looked over this stretch, but it would still be a significant upset if someone finds a way to slay the beast. "
Becca Winkert(Locked On NBA Network): "I don’t believe there is a team in the Western Conference talented enough to take down the Warriors in a 7-game series, but I do believe the Raptors can. The Raptors were able to beat the Warriors this season in a blowout fashion, 113-93, without Kawhi Leonard. Should everyone on the Raptors remain healthy, they will pose a serious threat to the Warriors."
2). There is no doubt that Luka is running away with the Rookie of the Year award, but do you believe Luka is better than all of the great talent we saw in the 2017-2018 Draft Class?
Keith Smith (Yahoo! Sports) "Yes. Luka Doncic is the best rookie to hit the NBA since Anthony Davis. That is more about him than any of the others, because the league has seen a massive infusion of talent. Doncic is just that good, as he's showing on a nightly basis for Dallas."
Jabari Davis (HoopMag): "Luka is clearly the ROY at this point, but a strong case could be made for him being in the same conversation with Jayson Tatum or Donovan Mitchell in terms of both skill set and trajectory. A lot of folks appeared to be personally invested in being disparaging and full of doubt when it came to his actual ceiling, but the kid can play. Plain and simple."
Becca Winkert (Locked On NBA Network): "I don’t feel that anyone in the 2017-2018 Draft Class can compare to Luka Donic at the moment. Donic is incredibly consistent with scoring, but at the same time it’s too early to tell if he is better than Jayson Tatum."
3). We’ve seen stars like Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler force their way out of their current situation by asking for a trade. Who do you think is the next star to do so?
Keith Smith (Yahoo! Sports): "The obvious answer here is Anthony Davis. Many expect him to eventually tire of New Orleans being good, but never a real contender. But keep an eye on Karl-Anthony Towns. It hasn't always been the best experience for him in Minnesota, and if the team continues to struggle, he could ask out. And for a vet, Bradley Beal isn't exactly a star, but he's very, very good and Washington is a volatile a situation as there is in the NBA."
Jabari Davis (HoopMag): "Anthony Marshon Davis Jr. is likely going to be the next to do so. While the Pelicans are more talented than the record shows to this point, it isn't as though it appears they will get to a place where they can realistically challenge for a Conference Finals, let alone anything beyond. As much as Davis acknowledges how much he loves the organization, city and fans (which is absolutely believable), the signs of an eventual change of course certainly appear to be there. With a contract that essentially ends at the end of next season (player option for 2020-21), the team cannot afford to simply wait things out and hope for the best. Expect the Celtics and Lakers to make a hard push for him next summer, but it could ultimately come down to whether Davis is willing to publicly acknowledge where he wants to go and specifically where he isn't willing to re-sign."
Becca Winkert (Locked On NBA Network): "Anthony Davis may be the next star to ask for a trade. Anthony Davis has a desire to win, and he knows that he will not be able to with the Pelicans. The Pelicans are in a tough spot, having to compete will the superstar talent out west."
4). Which team has surprised you the most this season? Which player has surprised you the most this season?
Keith Smith (Yahoo! Sports): "The Sacramento Kings playing as well as they have as been a fun and pleasant surprise. Same for the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers, as all have taken a leap from good to very good."
Jabari Davis (HoopMag): "As strange as it sounds, no one has really surprised me as of yet. The Clippers may be a few games ahead of where I anticipated, but they have a good deal of talent and finally seem to have pieces that actually fit around one another. The Wizards remain one of the more disappointing teams as it never seems as though the sum of their parts add up to what they should or (perhaps more appropriately) could be. From a player perspective, so far it has been Derrick Rose's on-court resurgence and the fact that he is currently 2nd in WC All-Star votes at his position. Folks certainly love a comeback story."
Becca Winkert (Locked On NBA Network): "The Nuggets have surprised me the most this season. I would have not predicted they’d be in the number one spot in the Western Conference, or even remotely close to it this season. Thomas Bryant has surprised me the most this season. He is currently the starting center for the Wizards. Dwight Howard is out indefinitely, and originally Bryant was the third in line center. His work ethic and energy has been crucial for the team."
5). Who is your pick right now for 6th Man of the Year and why?
Keith Smith (Yahoo! Sports): "It's a three-man race for me at the moment: Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Domantas Sabonis. Williams is the old standby and has been terrific. Harrell changes games with his energy. And Sabonis has been consistently great and has missed something like four shots all season. If you are making me pick, I'd go with Williams. But it's so close, I wouldn't feel great about it."
Jabari Davis (HoopMag): "Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lou Williams and even his teammate Montrezl Harrell are each in a group of players that absolutely deserve recognition, but Julius Randle has been phenomenal for New Orleans as a Sixth man and in replacement of Nikola Mirotic. Yet, another reason why the Pelicans' struggles don't make a lot of sense. Not only is Randle averaging career-highs in points (19.8 PPG), three-point field goal percentage (31.6) and free throw percentage (72.3), but he could potentially be seen as a replacement in the event the organization ultimately has to move Davis over the next 12 months. "
Becca Winkert (Locked NBA Network): "Derrick Rose has been incredible this season. Considering how much he struggled with injuries and the length of time he’s been in the league, it’s amazing that he has been able to support the Timberwolves by averaging 18.9 ppg."
Written By: Alex Golden