The NBA season started about two weeks earlier that it traditionally has in years past. That means the overreactions were able to start circulating at an earlier pace as well. There have been several but two stand out to me more than all of the others.
Less than two weeks into the season Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball had been declared a bust. Some (a lot) of this backlash is the result of his father, LaVar, talking so much smack but that doesn’t make this type of labeling of Lonzo correct.
Via @EliasSports: fewest career games needed for 2nd triple-double in NBA history
Oscar Robertson 3
Ben Simmons 9
Hambone Williams 10
Magic Johnson 12
Connie Hawkins 14
Lonzo Ball 17 pic.twitter.com/3Eb8rIsFpS
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 20, 2017
Look at the names on this list: Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Connie Hawkins. If you join them on any NBA list of any kind odds are you’re doing something right. Lonzo Ball is wildly inconsistent and his jumper is broke. Lonzo Ball is not a bust. He recorded his second career triple-double in only five more games than Magic Johnson and he’s not out there passing to the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. Everybody needs to stop being so quick to rush to definitive judgement.
The second overreaction was that the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek Freak, was a lock to win the MVP Award. To be fair, he did start the off on fire to the tune of 36.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game through his first four games. It was a never before seen start, but that was just four of 82 games. He has since “cooled” down to 29.7 points per game. He is already a force to be reckoned with and imagine how much scarier he will be when he becomes a little more consistent with his jumper.
I’m not saying that he isn’t a legitimate MVP candidate, I just wasn’t ready to give him the trophy after four games, that’s all.
The one reaction that’s completely bona-fide this season is the Coach of the Year competition. This is clearly Brad Stevens’s award to lose. Prize free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward was lost for the season five minutes into his Celtics debut. Al Horford has been in and out of concussion protocol, Kyrie Irving suffered a facial fracture, Jason Tatum battled an ankle injury.
In spite of all that the Celtics did something on Wednesday night that they hadn’t done since Oct. 18, lose an NBA game.
They reeled off 16 straight wins before falling to the Miami Heat. Through it all, Brad Stevens has kept everything in perspective and is doing everything he can to be as immune to adversity as possible and continue build on their great start. No one saw this coming, Boston was virtually written off for the season as soon as Hayward completed his unfortunate landing under the basket in Cleveland. Stevens had other ideas and now every other coach in the league is coaching for second when it comes to Coach of the Year.