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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

NBA second week recap

Seven games mark several questions
NBA logo from Flickr
NBA logo from Flickr

Week two of the NBA season has concluded with James Harden on a new team and the first round of in-season tournament games being played. As teams get further into the season teams and players begin to separate from the pack.

Last week, All-Star guard James Harden was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after a lengthy saga with the Philadelphia 76ers. This trade was the final, all-in move for the Clippers as it left them with very few assets left for the future. After this season, their core of Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Harden could all potentially leave the Clippers. This makes this season a big one for the Clippers as the ramifications for an unsuccessful season will be felt for years to come.

While the team believed that the Harden acquisition could make them a legitimate contender in the Western Conference, it has the potential to implode. This is largely due to Harden being another aging, injury-prone star added to a team full of them. The biggest need for the franchise is to stay healthy and perform in the playoffs which is something Harden could struggle to do. However, this trade does add a perimeter creator that the Clippers have needed in past years to help improve their halfcourt offense.

With the additions of forward Kristaps Porzingis and All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, the Celtics have arguably assembled the most talented five-man starting lineup. Through their first five games, the Celtics lead the NBA in point differential with +18.4. All of their players have a role on the team that fits their play style. Led by superstar Jayson Tatum, the Celtics have the pedigree to make another deep playoff run. Tatum’s reputation as one of the best two-way players in the league has cemented him as a franchise player. The Celtics lack a perimeter creator who can initiate offense for others in the half-court. Although Holiday will help address that need, he is not an exceptional playmaker. Despite this issue, the Celtics are still one of the favorites to win the championship.

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Last year was a disappointment for Toronto Raptors fans as their forward Scottie Barnes, did not improve from his rookie year. In his sophomore year, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 6.6 rebounds; almost identical to his rookie year. However, through the first seven games of the current campaign, Barnes is averaging 21.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 9.7 rebounds a game. His strong defense and ability to make threes gives him strong qualities that can make him a potential All-Star. Although the numbers are from a limited sample size, this could be the leap that the Raptors were hoping for from their third-year forward. 

Three games to keep tabs on this week include the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Sacramento Kings at 10:00 PM on NBA TV on Nov. 13th, the Minnesota Timberwolves battling the Golden State Warriors at 10:00 PM on Nov. 14th, and the Boston Celtics dueling the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 PM on ESPN on Nov. 15th.

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