It’s a new year which means some NBA teams get a fresh start. Unlike most seasons, it is not too late whatsoever to fix issues since most teams have played 4 or 5 games. However, some teams have noticeable issues that might hinder them if they continue on during the season.
As simple as it sounds, the Raptors just cannot score the ball. The Raptors are 29th in points scored behind Fred Vanvleet’s disappointing 14.7 ppg and Norman Powell’s 6.0 ppg. They also have the worst Relative Offensive Rating in the league with a -12.2. Yet, last year the Raptors were 13th in ppg, and were middle of the pack in most offensive statistics.
The Raptors just need to find a way to score the ball. Pascal Siakam is proving that he cannot handle being a number one option, forcing the aging Kyle Lowry to take on the scoring load. A Jame Harden trade could potentially fix all of these scoring woes if the Raptors front office is willing to give up Siakam.
The Celtics are currently are struggling without the shifty Kemba Walker on the floor. The play of Jaylen Brown has helped this team tremendously, but it is obvious that they need a dominant ball-handler to run their offense. They are even looking to rookie Payton Pritchard who is playing well, but cannot lead the offense like Walker.
Jayson Tatum is doing his best to run this offense, but he is constantly put in the position where he passes the ball to a non-shooter. Brad Stevens opted to go with the two-big lineup consisting of Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson which has left Tatum with little shooting threats. The trade exception received in the Gordan Hayward deal could be crucial in getting a shooter which the Celtics need.
The Wizards have allowed over 100 points in all of their game including 130 against the Magic. They can score with ease behind Bradley Beal’s league-leading 128 points through 4 games. However, with very little defensive presence on that team, they are blowing games they easily should win.
The Wizards are quite disappointing right now for a team that was projected to be in the playoff hunt. If they become average defensively they will be much more successful. Russell Westbrook should be able to pick up some of that defensive responsibility, but it really starts with center Thomas Bryant. The organization has expressed that Bryant will have to get better on defense to have a role with the team.
Warriors: Help around Stephen Curry
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins need to step up for the Warriors to have any chance to contend this year. Oubre had a historically bad start to the year by being the first player to go 0/11 (or worse) from behind the arc in a team’s first two games. Wiggins went 4/16 in game one from the field and 6/18 in game two.
Both Oubre Jr. and Wiggins had a bounce-back game against the Detroit Pistons, but are gonna need to be more consistent to take some of the scoring load off of Stephen Curry. Without Klay Thompson this year, defenses are going to key in on Curry. If Oubre Jr. and Wiggins can at least become solid threats from three, they could make a run in the playoffs.
Photo: Rick Osentoski