January was a wild ride for the NBA. Unfortunately for most teams it was for all the wrong reasons. If you thought Derrick Rose going MIA was going to be the runaway off-the-court play of the year winner, this past month proved instead that the race has only just begun in what is now an absolutely loaded category.
It’s time to #TrustTheProcess
The 76ers had a 10-3 stretch in the middle of January that has them now only 4.5 games out of the 8th seed in the playoffs. Now granted, that really just means that they are four and a half games away from a first round playoff exits by the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers but still – the 76ers could sneak into the playoffs! That is an absurd turnaround from last season where they only won 10 games all season. #TrustTheProcess and #RaiseTheCat Philly fans and enjoy this wild ride while it lasts. It’s a win-win situation from here on out. Playoffs show that the tanking era is over and this young team gets some playoff experience, while finishing outside the playoffs means another lottery pick.
All-Star Selections aren’t perfect
There are All-Star snubs every year and this year proved to be no exception. However some cut deeper than others. Damian Lillard was snubbed for the third straight year even though he is averaging 26 points, 6 assists, and nearly 5 rebounds a game. Lillard is in the incredibly unfortunate situation of competing for spots with Westbrook, Harden, Thompson, and Curry. The same problem held true for Westbrook who, although averaging a triple double, will not be an All-Star starter due to a voting tie-breaker. The new voting procedures left many fans, players, and coaches scratching their heads. The lack of a center position left Joel Embiid out of the game and a date with a celebrity, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was baffled with some player’s use of their player vote on “undeserving” players, and even though the fans tried their best – once again Zaza Pachulia will not be an All-Star. This All-Star game will also be without the banana boat (Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwayne Wade), potentially signaling the passing of the torch to the new NBA generation.
Twitter Beef is back!
I’ll just leave this right here:
The Bulls have officially imploded
Who would’ve thought that playing three ball-dominant guards together wasn’t going to work out? What if I told you that one of those guards was Rajon Rondo who has been known to kill locker rooms for years? Yes it’s true many people were skeptical of the make-up of this team from the start but nobody saw this coming. D-Wade is skipping practices, Coach Fred Hoiberg apparently has no control of his team, Jimmy Butler went to complain to the media, and then Rondo put the icing on the cake with his Instagram calling everyone else out. All in all this Bulls team is a literal dumpster fire right now. In a weak eastern conference somehow the Bulls have fallen to 7th place and are dangerously close to missing the playoffs if their locker room struggles continue in the second half of the year. Is it time for the Bulls front office to pull the plug or is there a second half come back in the Bulls future? We’ll have to wait and see.
LeBron started actually talking to the media
LeBron capped off January with one of the most puzzling quotes of the entire month. He told the media after a game that, “We need a f***ing playmaker.” His comment fell on deaf ears as nearly all the league would argue that Kyrie, Love, and Tristan Thompson are all “playmakers.” In the days following the comments it’s been clarified that LeBron’s frustrations are really focused around the Cavs reluctance to spend. However this also seems odd since the Cavs have dipped deep into the luxury tax two straight seasons. One thing is for sure, for the first time since returning to Cleveland LeBron does not have the option to opt out this off season. This lack of negotiating power appears to be frustrating LeBron and if the season doesn’t end with a Larry O’Brien trophy you can bet there will be more LeBron rants to come.
LeBron followed up this episode by calling out Charles Barkley’s criticism of his recent actions. The problem with this was that Barkley, an analyst paid to give his opinions on current NBA players, was just doing his job and LeBron attacked Barkley’s actions as a player instead of his criticism of him as a player. Major props to Barkley for standing by his comments in the face of LeBrons rant .