It is still very early in the NBA season, as we are not even 20 games into it yet. With almost every team having played roughly ten games, we have seen an offensive surge in star players’ scoring averages in the early part of the season, and the talent level in the league is at an all-time high, probably the best it has ever been.
There are even teams such as the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and others that everyone thought would be tanking for the “French Mamba,” Victor Wembanyama, but have been surprisingly competitive and are hovering around the.500 mark. Now let’s get into three reasons why I believe we are in a golden era of the NBA.
The elder statesmen of the previous generation are still balling.
Despite many of their teams currently struggling, such as the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Sixers, or just being an absolute dumpster fire (ala the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets), the guys who led the previous generation of stars in the NBA, such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, are still contributing at a high level to their respective teams, despite neither one of their teams looking like a powerhouse as we currently speak.
James is in the worst situation of them all; in Year 20, he is still asked to handle a lot on a dumpster fire of a Lakers team that has no shooters whatsoever, struggles to score, and has an Anthony Davis that has been solid but is brittle and doesn’t look like the same fluid athletic big we’ve known for most of his career that made him special and has a ball-dominant guard in Russell Westbrook.
James recently came off a 30-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers, where he shot 12-of-22 from the field and included 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and two steals to go along with it. He, unfortunately, hurt his adductor near his groin area, which is the same injury he suffered in 2018-19, his first year with the Lakers, in a game against the Warriors.
James is averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game on 45% shooting from the field, which is the lowest efficiency-wise since his rookie season, in which he shot 41%, according to Basketball Reference. He is also shooting a career-low 23% from three-point range for a Lakers team sitting dead last in three-point percentage at 29.3%, according to NBA.com. The Lakers currently sit near the bottom of the Western Conference as the second-worst team in the West with a 2-9 record, with only the young Houston Rockets having a worse record.
The Lakers lack assets to make a big trade to help shake up the roster due to giving up draft picks in the Westbrook and Davis trades, with the Pelicans getting the Lakers’ protected 2023 pick, which could potentially end up being the freak from France in Victor Wembanyama. Yikes. Despite his struggles, James is still balling and still performing at an All-Star level.