Julius Randle isn’t ready for primetime
Julius Randle had an amazing season, taking home the Most Improved Player Award alongside an All-Star berth and heaps of praise from the media. Unfortunately he has not been able to replicate that play in the Knicks’ series versus Atlanta. Randle is shooting an abysmal 24.1% from the field as New York has fallen behind 2-1 in the series heading into a pivotal game four in Atlanta. It isn’t all bad for Randle however, as he has recorded a double double in each of the first three games of the series and has managed to get to the charity stripe more as the series has gone on. However, if the Knicks want to win a series for the first time since 2013 or continue their success next season, Randle has to be better, as simple as that.
The LA Clippers aren’t who we thought they are
The Clippers have had a very poor start to the playoffs after finding themselves down 0-2 to the fifth seeded Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers were able to bounce back and cut the deficit to one game, but they have not looked like the team NBA fans thought they were or a team that has genuine championship aspirations. The Clippers have gotten excellent play out of their two stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George so far in the series but have not had an answer for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks’ potent offence. The Clippers have given up 108 or more points in all three games thus far, with their defence looking non-existent. On paper LA should win this series and do so without an abundance of trouble, however based on what we’ve seen so far if the Clippers are able to come back and win the series it seems unrealistic to think that they are going to make a deep run. Is this another epic collapse the likes of which we haven’t seen since their dismissal from last year’s playoffs? Or will the Clippers figure it out and actually contend for a title? The latter is looking unlikely.
The Bucks are the best team in the playoffs
The City of Milwaukee got sweet sweet revenge on South Beach in the first round when they embarrassed the Heat en route to a 4-0 sweep. Giannis and the Bucks played amazing on both ends of the floor, making the Heat stars look average and having their way on the offensive end. The addition of Jrue Holiday is paying off in a big way as he was able to hold Jimmy Butler to just 29.7% shooting and -86 +/- in the playoffs. The Bucks were also able to pull off the sweep with Antetokounmpo averaging just 23.5 points per game. While the Bucks looked incredible in their first round series, other top teams have faltered a little bit. Brooklyn lost to a depleted Celtics team to make the series 2-1, the Lakers fell to Phoenix in game one of their series, and Philadelphia has looked good but not spectacular in their matchup against a ‘just happy to be here’ Wizards team. The Bucks are looking like an immovable force coming up the bracket of the Eastern conference and I wouldn’t bet against them going forward.
The NBA is in impeccable hands moving forward
This isn’t so much of an overreaction as it is a pleasant realization. With a lot of the superstars that have cemented their legacy the last decade moving into the later end of their careers, this begged the question of what the NBA might look like a few years down the line when they moved into retirement. Well the answer that I’ve gotten thus far is that the league is in amazing shape going forward. The NBA’s young guns have done nothing but exceed expectations so far in the playoffs and have generated a lot of buzz. Players like Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, and many more have all been unreal in the playoffs so far. Many of these young players have been must-see TV as they have pulled off some incredible stat lines and upsets over veteran stars in the first round. Just take Ja Morant’s 47 point explosion against the league’s best record holder Utah Jazz, or Luka being the best player on the floor in a series that includes Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The NBA has relied on these aging superstars for a long time, and now it’s time to pass the torch to the next generation as they set their sights on creating legacies of their own.