Beyond the Arc – New Faces, New Places

We are currently only 47 days into this NBA season.  Though it is still very early on, there are quite a few marquee names that are both impressing and disappointing for their new found home teams.  Obviously all eyes are on LeBron, and they should be.

LeBron signing with the Lakers is one of the most monumental signings in NBA history.  The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the top 3 most successful and revered franchises in all of basketball.  Adding such a legendary player to such a legendary team merits as much attention as anything in sports.  It is also important to point out that this is rare for the Lakers.  Most of their superstars are homegrown.  Players like Magic and Kobe were drafted and created hall of fame careers that began and ended with the Lakers.  LeBron is the first superstar caliber player to be signed by them since Karl Malone, and we know how that stint ended.  Though I see LeBron having a much bigger success, such as that of one like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after his transfer from Milwaukee.  So far this season, James is averaging 28.1 PPG, 8 RPG, and 6.7 APG.  I would say those are pretty good numbers for a player of his age while still finding team chemistry with members of his new squad.  The Lakers are (12-9) and sit at 7th place in the Western Conference.  LeBron is a one of a kind player, and I see him leading the Lakers to a higher level of play throughout the rest of the season.

Another hot story line this year has been the Jimmy Butler saga.  The conflict between Butler and the Timberwolves swept the media off their feet after numerous reports of confrontations between Jimmy and the other players and coaching staff.  We all know tempers flare during sports, because athletes (as they should be) are naturally competitive.  Personally I feel this story got blown way out of proportion, but if the media covers which jacket that one of the Kardashians is wearing, why not cover an argument between athletes right?  Butler screamed “Y’all f***ing need me!” at a team practice.  Evidently, dude was right.  The T-Wolves currently sit at (11-11) and are 9th in the Western Conference.  Though they have KAT who I believe is a superstar, Wiggins has been very inconsistent despite being called an “out of this world talent”, along with other forgettable names on that roster.  Though the 76ers are sitting pretty at (15-8) in the 3rd spot in the East.  Jimmy is averaging 18.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.9 APG and 2 SPG with his new running mates.  With the deep roster of Embiid, Simmons, Fultz, Reddick and others along his side, this team should take home the East and head to the finals if they stay healthy.

There were a plethora of trades this offseason.  The most surprising and intriguing trade in my opinion this year was the trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs.  Many (including myself) were surprised at this trade considering Kawhi going to LA was supposed to be definite.  Many Spurs fans were displeased with Kawhi’s attitude, and were glad to see him leave.  But Kawhi is killing it in Toronto.  The man is averaging a strong 25 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.7 SPG.  He is also leading the team with the best record in the East at (19-4).  So look who’s laughing now Spurs fans… literally it’s Kawhi.  So please, we beg of you, don’t ever make that man laugh again. It’s unbearable.  On the other hand, DeRozan is doing everything he can to keep the Spurs relevant despite their (10-11) record.  He has 24 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 6 APG, and is probably headed for an All-Star nod.  Though DeRozan has less talent around him, and got traded by a team he devoted his whole life to, he is doing his best… sorry bud.

Many other veterans and low key players moved around this year as well, but not many to pay too much attention to.  None of those other players who have swapped teams have really changed their persona of being irrelevant.  Players such as Carmelo Anthony who people are just sick of hearing about.  Carmelo is like that uncle at the family gathering that always talks smack about how he “still got game” and gets whooped by your 12 year old cousins.  He had 4 good years and has drastically dwindled since.  Just like many of the other players not mentioned in this week’s article.  Throughout the season I expect to see a few more key moves, especially within the week of the trade deadline.  But as we all know, this game is unpredictable.  So all we can do is sit idly by and watch everyone (except Golden State) compete for 2nd place.

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