Thanksgiving is a time to cease and mirror. It’s a time to consider the issues we’re grateful for and to acknowledge all the constructive issues in our lives. The basketball world, extra particularly the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation, isn’t any totally different. Whereas there are various groups that haven’t gotten off to the specified begin they have been on the lookout for, they’ve nonetheless discovered a number of positives one month into the season.
There aren’t any video games scheduled on Thursday as gamers and workers benefit from the vacation with their family members. As groups put together for this grueling three-month stretch earlier than the All-Star break, Basketball Insiders has recognized at the least one factor that every group ought to be pleased about on this necessary vacation break. We want you all a Glad Thanksgiving!
Celtics – Dennis Schroder’s contract
Boston had the very best deal of the summer time once they inked Schroder to a one-year deal for simply $5.9 million. It took him just a few video games to seek out his groove however he has been taking part in lights out just lately, with Boston lacking so many our bodies. Schroder has been averaging practically 19 factors per recreation within the month of November and the Celtics have gained six of their final 9 video games.
Nets – Veteran additions
Talking of worth signings, Brooklyn made just a few of their very own this summer time. Patty Mills was essentially the most underrated addition of the offseason, filling the void left by Kyrie Irving. LaMarcus Aldridge returned from retirement and has been sensational. Steve Nash has lastly moved him into the beginning lineup, making them much more deadly. Paul Millsap and DeAndre’ Bembry have each been wonderful of their roles as properly.
Knicks – The bench
The story in New York Metropolis this season has been the manufacturing from the second unit. The highlight was on Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier coming into this season nevertheless it has been guys like Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel, and Immanuel Quickley which have saved them a number of instances already this season.
The Knicks’ Bench within the 4th quarter pic.twitter.com/IQqXiBdW4S
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) November 18, 2021
76ers – Tyrese Maxey
Philly stays a catastrophe proper now, and it goes properly past the Ben Simmons state of affairs. Joel Embiid has missed the final three weeks on account of COVID-19 protocols. Tobias Harris, Danny Inexperienced, Matisse Thybulle, and Isaiah Joe have all missed time as properly. Maxey has grabbed this chance by the horns and is benefiting from it. His PER this season (19.8) ranks high 50 within the league and is similar as Simmons’ profession quantity. All issues thought of, the saga could also be a blessing in disguise for Daryl Morey.
Raptors – Scottie Barnes
When the Raptors stunned everybody within the draft by deciding on Barnes, naysayers have been fast to pile on. One month into the season, the ahead is the frontrunner for Rookie of the 12 months. Barnes has executed extra than simply slot in with the starters in Toronto, he has fueled them on each ends of the ground. The Raptors are counting on their depth this season, nevertheless it positive appears like they’ve a future All-Star in Barnes.
Bulls – 2021 summer time
Chicago gained the offseason with their strikes to amass Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan. Essentially the most impactful participant to vary groups this season has undoubtedly been DeRozan. The veteran has been placing up insane numbers and sits 4th in scoring at 26.8 factors per recreation. The Bulls are again, and whereas there are a number of causes for this, the most important one is the play of DeRozan.
“In the event you have been to have an MVP energy rankings as of right this moment, I would put DeMar DeRozan third after Steph and KD.”
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 16, 2021
Cavaliers – Evan Mobley
Earlier than he suffered an harm to his elbow, Mobley was making a powerful case for Rookie of the 12 months. The athletic large man was a big a part of the resurgence in Cleveland, making his presence felt on each ends of the ground. The Cavs could be coming again right down to earth, however the frontcourt pairing of Mobley and Jarrett Allen together with Darius Garland has them taking part in inspiring basketball.
Pistons – Cade Cunningham
Persistence is the secret in Detroit, the place followers are lastly attending to see simply how proficient their rookie level guard is. The highest total decide has come alongside slowly, however he’s going to make it properly well worth the wait.
Pacers – Rick Carlisle
The most important improve for the Pacers this summer time was bringing again their outdated head coach. It has been a sluggish begin for Indiana however they’ve handled a ton of accidents and nonetheless altering their offensive id. After a convincing beat down of the Bulls on Monday and an extra time loss to LeBron and the Lakers final evening, the Pacers may make up some floor within the subsequent couple of weeks as eight of their subsequent 9 video games are at house.
Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo
The 2-time MVP has been nothing wanting spectacular as soon as once more this season.
Hawks – Dwelling video games
After a disappointing begin to the season, it seems the issue has been recognized. The Hawks are 8-1 at house and simply 2-8 on the street. Now it’s as much as Nate McMillan and the gamers to determine that out. After a much-needed homestand, the Hawks have now gained six video games in a row.
Hornets – Emergence of Miles Bridges
LaMelo Ball is having an unbelievable season, which is being overshadowed by the breakout season that Bridges is having. The previous Spartan is posting career-high numbers and has no intention of slowing down anytime quickly.
— Bally Sports activities: Hornets (@HornetsOnBally) November 22, 2021
Warmth – Arrival of Kyle Lowry
After making it to the Finals two years in the past, Miami fell flat on their face final season. The addition of Lowry has rejuvenated this workforce, most notably Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Simply as Chris Paul turned issues round in Phoenix final season, the Warmth are hoping the veteran level guard can do the identical for them.
Magic – Good well being
For the primary time within the final 5 years, the Magic are in comparatively good well being. Contemplating all that they’ve endured with participant accidents, they’re lastly attending to see what sort of expertise they’ve on the ground. Cole Anthony has been sensational and Wendell Carter Jr has been taking part in wonderful as properly. Their rookies are professional and Mo Bamba continues to enhance. Rebuilding is rarely enjoyable, however this workforce at the least has a particular path now.
Wizards – Rob Pelinka
Certain, the Lakers would most likely like to make use of a mulligan on the commerce for Russell Westbrook, however Washington couldn’t be happier with the way it went down. Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have all made sizeable contributions to this workforce. Proper now the Government of the 12 months award goes to Tommy Sheppard, who was simply rewarded with a brand new deal himself.
The Washington Wizards have the fourth finest Defensive Score within the league sitting at (104.0).
If the season ended right this moment it will be their highest in seven years – 2014-15 (103.0)
— Quinton Mayo (@RealQuintonMayo) November 22, 2021
Nuggets – Will Barton
Denver has already seen their justifiable share of accidents this season. The Nuggets may have three gamers out for the season in Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr, and PJ Dozier. Nikola Jokic has been out of the lineup with a wrist harm as properly, making issues much more tough for Michael Malone’s workforce. They’ve misplaced their final 5 video games and their subsequent two are towards the Bucks and Warmth. Barton is averaging profession highs in factors and assists however the ten-year professional can’t do it alone.
Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards
Edwards is oozing with athleticism, however the second-year participant is evolving into the whole bundle. He has already had 5 video games with 30 factors or extra and 9 video games with at the least 5 made three-pointers. He’s seventeenth in scoring and has a strong 17.37 PER this season. Edwards can be serving to change the tradition in Minnesota, because the Wolves have now gained 5 straight video games, their longest streak because the 2017-18 season. Final evening he completed with 33 factors, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and this monster dunk of their victory over the Warmth.
ANTHONY EDWARDS DID IT AGAIN pic.twitter.com/0ieQHcsJd7
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 25, 2021
Thunder – Josh Giddey
The rebuild in Oklahoma Metropolis goes very properly, largely due to Giddey’s playmaking. The rookie appears comfy on the ground and doesn’t should face the strain of successful proper now. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort main the best way, Giddey is the proper praise for this workforce. He’s averaging 10.8 factors, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists this season. Giddey has scored in double figures in his final 5 video games and ranks nineteenth within the league in assists.
Path Blazers – Damian Lillard’s loyalty
Portland had a shaky begin to the season, after a tense offseason that would have despatched them in a totally totally different path. Lillard is a person constructed on loyalty and is decided to steer this workforce to the promised land. His capturing woes, reportedly attributable to an undisclosed harm, have evaporated and the Blazers have gained 5 of their final seven video games. If it was every other star in his place, issues could be a lot worse for Portland.
Jazz – Camaraderie
Utah has made some minor tweaks to its roster in recent times however has largely remained the identical. Their core group has plenty of expertise collectively and the items match properly. Add to that the truth that Quin Snyder is in his eighth season as head coach, and the Jazz are primed for an additional robust playoff run. They presently sit third within the West, having gained 4 of their final 5 video games. Up subsequent they’ve a double date with the Pelicans on Friday and Saturday.
Warriors – Roster depth
Oddly sufficient, Golden State’s energy this season was their largest weak spot final yr. Even with Klay Thompson and James Wiseman out, they’ve gotten strong manufacturing from veterans Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica, and Otto Porter Jr. Their two rookies will solely get higher and the play of Gary Payton II has solely made their protection that a lot better. All of this together with Jordan Poole’s breakout season has the Warriors again within the acquainted spot of finest within the West.
Proud vet is an understatement . I’ve seen this man put within the work on a regular basis for the previous couple of years and his future is extremely brilliant ✨ 👌🏽 https://t.co/PDLWQG0lO4
— klay thompson (@KlayThompson) November 23, 2021
Clippers – Paul George’s shoulders
With out Kawhi Leonard, the destiny of the Clippers lies on the shoulders of George. To this point he has responded properly, carrying the workforce to a spot on the high of the convention. George leads the workforce in scoring and assists and is 4th in scoring this yr. The roster is much from championship-worthy however that can change if and when Leonard returns this season.
Lakers – Carmelo Anthony’s capturing
All is just not proper in Laker Land, with criticism being spewed in all instructions. From LeBron lacking time on account of accidents and a suspension to Anthony Davis being too gentle and needing to put up up extra, to Russell Westbrook and his decision-making and turnovers. The one nice shock has been Anthony, who began the season on fireplace. This workforce has desperately wanted his offensive manufacturing and shot-making from outdoors. They’re nonetheless solely a .500 workforce however the panic meter could be at 100 with out Anthony’s manufacturing.
Suns – Chemistry
This workforce is totally steamrolling by means of their schedule proper now. The Suns are simply as sizzling as their identify as they’ve gained 14 consecutive video games. There doesn’t look like any burnout with this workforce after their journey to the Finals and so long as they continue to be wholesome, they might discover themselves there once more subsequent summer time.
JJ requested @mikal_bridges if he looks like The Suns are being neglected by the media this yr.
His reply was wonderful. pic.twitter.com/2bMc8Mv9rs
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) November 24, 2021
Kings – Younger expertise
One other yr and one other coach firing in Sacramento. Because the Kings seek for their tenth head coach up to now 15 years, they are going to discover solace in understanding that there’s loads of expertise on the roster. The loaded backcourt of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Davion Mitchell, and Buddy Hield is greater than sufficient to make this workforce aggressive. Richaun Holmes and Tristan Thompson are hungry as properly. The Kings ought to be higher than they’re, and if they will lastly work out the teaching factor, they could lastly break their lengthy playoff drought.
Mavericks – A motivated Kristaps Porzingis
Not many individuals notice that Porzingis has the Twelfth-best PER within the league proper now. He’s additionally high 20 in scoring and high 30 in rebounding. After lacking a while earlier within the yr, the massive man has come again robust for the Mavericks. He’s clearly motivated this season and is lastly giving Dallas that second star alongside Luka Doncic.
Kristaps Porzingis is taking part in the very best basketball of his life proper now.
He has scored 20+ in 7 straight video games, the longest streak of his profession. pic.twitter.com/tUQNAWHE2O
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 24, 2021
Rockets – Low expectations
It ought to shock nobody that the Rockets have the worst document within the league this yr. By not taking part in John Wall and embracing the dropping tradition that comes together with taking part in the younger guys, Houston is sitting with a 2-16 document. With out the strain of successful although, gamers like Jalen Inexperienced, Kevin Porter Jr, and Alperen Sengun are free to make errors in an effort to be taught. They rank final in basically each statistical class (besides tempo, the place they’re first) however that’s a part of the rebuild. Stephen Silas has been rumored to be on the new seat, which is ridiculous contemplating the unfair hand he was dealt.
Grizzlies – Ja Morant
He’s the actual deal, and he’s must-see TV each single evening. He presently leads the league in scoring within the paint, which is extraordinary for a non-center, not to mention a degree guard. He has elevated this workforce and makes everybody round him higher. If Morant doesn’t make the All-Star workforce this season, somebody ought to launch an investigation.
It is nonetheless surreal to look at Ja Morant as of late, he is taken such a large step ahead as a scorer and he is obtained unbelievable confidence in himself. He simply dominates the courtroom. Completely backing up the All-Star discuss. He is gonna be within the All-NBA dialogue quickly at this price.
— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) November 19, 2021
Pelicans – Zion Williamson
With out Zion, that is what the Pelicans are. Issues are gloomy in New Orleans proper now, however brighter days are forward when he lastly returns to the ground.
Spurs – Scouting division
They may not be successful a bunch of video games however the Spurs have plenty of younger expertise. Dejounte Murray is having an All-Star-worthy season. Keldon Johnson is oozing with potential. Devin Vassell, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker have all grow to be strong contributors. These are all gamers that San Antonio has drafted within the final 5 years, and molded into what they’re right this moment. Gregg Popovich could be on his approach out however he’s definitely leaving this franchise in a a lot better place than when he arrived.