Diehlman at Halftime: An NBA Weekly Column

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It seems like a few NBA teams have taken a step in the right direction in terms of it. The New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards are currently in the top spots in the Eastern Conference.

Somehow, the Golden State Warriors are still dominating, even without Klay Thompson. Finally, fans were excited to witness the debuts of two rookies: Detroit’s number one overall pick, Cade Cunningham and Golden State’s number seven pick, Jonathan Kuminga. Although they each only scored once, their futures are bright.

So, who’s raising eyebrows at the moment?

Highlight, Lowlight, Random Stat

Highlight

Isn’t it great when other teams that don’t have the luxuries of LeBron James and Kevin Durant actually want to try and win? This can be said for the amazing turnaround of the Chicago Bulls, who are 6-1.

Chicago’s plan has been to build around star shooting guard Zach LaVine. To get the party started, they acquired Nikola Vučević from Orlando at last season’s trade deadline and received DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso, respectively, by a trade and free agency.

DeRozan and LaVine are both averaging 25.6 points per game and the rest of their stats are eerily similar. Caruso can hype up the Windy City faithful with a thundering dunk or flashy assist. Vučević can work in the paint, as well as stepping further from the basket to shoot 3’s. 

Unfortunately, Patrick Williams, their young defensive weapon, is out for the rest of the year with a dislocated wrist. But, that shouldn’t completely derail their championship aspirations. The Bulls may finally be ready to be in the conversation for best team in the league.

Lowlight

Congratulations, Houston Rockets. Your five-game losing streak is currently the worst in the NBA. 

Stephen Silas has had it rough in his short head coaching career in Houston. Imagine going to a team with Russell Westbrook and James Harden in 2020, only to find out both would be gone before the team played their ninth game.

Then, the Rockets stunk so bad that they went on a 20-game losing streak later in the season. Houston made up for those catastrophes by selecting Jalen Green with the second overall pick in this year’s draft. Although it’s way too early to conclude what kind of career Green will have, the Houston front office and fans are praying his career resembles Harden’s.

They also have young pieces, such as Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. The teams like this need time.

And, think about it this way, in the Western Conference, Steph Curry isn’t 25-years-old anymore. The Lakers have the All-Star team from 10 years ago. The Rockets are inching closer to relevance. But, for now, I’ll close this section with Shakespeare: to tank or not to tank, that is the question.

Random Stat

Man, the Celtics are something. They must love my criticism of them since I also mentioned them last week. Not only are the Celtics 2-5 on the season, but they had two double-overtime losses in two straight weeks.

Boston already lost to the New York Knicks, like I said last week; they couldn’t get it done on the road against the Washington Wizards on Saturday. Washington won 115-112.

Boston has had a rollercoaster of a season so far under new head coach Ime Udoka. Former Head Coach Brad Stevens assumed the role of President of Basketball Operations after the retirement of longtime executive and former Celtics’ player Danny Ainge. To make the situation worse, they also beat the Hornets in Charlotte last Monday– in overtime.

Thus, if my math skills are up-to-date, according to the confusing school curriculums of 2021, that’s three out of seven games that were decided in overtime. This is not a great look for them, especially as they hope to make noise later. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are respectively averaging the most and second-most minutes per game in the league. The Celtics’ schedule has been favorable so far; it won’t be in the near future.

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.

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