We are now three games into each of the conference finals, giving us enough data to analyse where the two series are heading and who will ultimately make the NBA finals.
This season we’ve seen unexpected players go off, and then players with high hopes disappoint. This has had a huge impact on the NBA as reflected in the conference standings.
Firstly, the revival of Derrick Rose. This season we saw Derrick Rose for the Minnesota Timberwolves come to light as if he has transformed into the vintage, MVP Rose we saw in 2010-11. The former Chicago Bull star was the youngest ever MVP winner and had the potential to be even better than what was.
Rose has struggled with ankle and ACL injuries his whole career, but his love for the game has never changed. This is what has been keeping him from going, even at his lowest points and as a result, Derrick Rose has been playing like nothing ever happened and is on track to win the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Markelle Fultz was the number one pick in the 2017 draft but from how he’s been performing, you wouldn’t assume he was a number one pick.
When the 76ers drafted Fultz, they were certainly unaware of how injury prone he was with this shoulder that has been bugging him his whole career as well as recently, his wrist.
Fultz is only averaging 8.2 points per game and 3.1 assists per game with a field goal percentage of 41.9 in 19 games this season. This isn’t necessarily bad but from watching Fultz, it is evident he is not confident shooting the ball.
He is still struggling from the free throw line shooting at 56.8 per cent this season. This is something he has been heavily criticised for.
Sources says the 76ers are looking to trade Fultz with his poor shooting skills. The Phoenix Suns have been reported to have an interest in him.
Up next, Kemba Walker.
Walker is having a breakout season. The Charlotte Hornets’ point guard is averaging a career high in points with 27.1 points per game and a career high in assists with 6.2 per game.
On the November 18th, the Hornets played the 76ers. On that night, Walker dropped 60 points setting a franchise high while shooting 61.8 per cent from the field.
This was not enough though as they still lost that game by three. Walker has been consistent with these performances as he has had many 30 point plus games.
The former University of Connecticut legend is very likely going to be an all-star if he keeps up with these numbers.
There’s one problem he is facing though – the players around him. The rest of the team can be described as average as Kemba is the best on the team by a mile. Some say he is wasting his talent at the Hornets and deserves better. There may be some truth in this as who knows what he could be doing with another team such as the Nuggets or Bucks.
The Boston Celtics have had a pretty disappointing season, to say the least, with all the talent on their side. There is too much skill and it is clear that players are not reaching their full potential.
Jaylen Brown who is coming off a pretty solid 2017-18 season has not made much of an impact with to the Celtics as his stats have dropped.
This also may be due to Gordon Hayward who is coming back from an awful, season-long injury. With all the hype of Hayward returning, it would be fair to say he hasn’t lived up to it all.
Hayward is only averaging 11.2 points and 3.5 assists per game. Not the kind of numbers the Celtics were hoping for. I say ‘only’ because if you look at the numbers he was putting up with the Jazz – he is not reaching his potential.