Week 15 has been a weird week for me. The teams listed in the top five have yet to change for the third week in a row, but the order has changed a bit based on the few games I’ve watched this week.
I also want to preface this article with this. [spoiler] The Pacers are in fifth out of pure respect this week [/spoiler]. I highly doubt they’ll be around next week, as teams below them right now seem to be surging, but with what happened to Victor Oladipo this week in their game against the Raptors, I felt like it was well deserved. With all that being said, lets dive into the happenings of week 15.
1. Golden State Warriors (35-14)
Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 115.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.5 (2nd)
Technically the Bucks should be here on winning percentage alone (regardless of the Warriors having only one more loss). Strength of schedule compared the Warriors (vs. Lakers, Wizards and Celtics) and Bucks (vs. Mavericks, Hornets, Thunder) are almost carbon copies of each other.
HOWEVER, I put the Warriors in number one based on their game against the Celtics. I’m putting this bluntly, but that doesn’t mean that the Thunder are chumps. Quite the opposite really. Anyways, the Warriors were able to stave off defeat by 4 points, and holding Kyrie to a meager 32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. It really seemed like the Warriors were able to lock down in crunch time, and manage to score 115 on one of the leagues better defensive teams.
Enough of the positive crap now. I loathe the Warriors. The fact that Boogie is back and averaging a cool 13.3ppg and 7.7 rpg for them, is enough to enrage me beyond words. With that being said, kudos Golden State. You’re first overall this week, and you bought your fourth ring. Can we fast forward to the 2019-20 season yet?
2. Milwaukee Bucks (35-13)
Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 103.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +9.4 (1st)
If the Warriors are 1A in week 15, the Bucks are 1B. As stated previously, the game that it came down to that separated these two were the Warriors vs Celtics and Bucks vs Thunder. The Warriors won, and the Bucks lost.
That should mean sweet fuck all at this point really, but I think it’s common sense right now that the Warriors are really…really getting into the swing of things. The only thing that the Bucks can say that they are better at when compared to the Warriors, is they are defensively arms and legs above the competition right now. With that being said, the difference in offensive rating between the Bucks and Warriors is a cool 2.5 points right now, and they’re doing this with about 1/5 of the star power that the Warriors have.
Is it fair to anoint Giannis as the East heir apparent yet? After being named Eastern Conference All-Star Team Captain this week, he capped a three game week off on Sunday averaging a quiet 32.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 4.5 apg with 1.5 spg and 1.5 bpg. ALL OF THIS ON ONE HALF OF A THREE POINT MADE PER GAME. He really is a freak in the most positive of ways.
3. Toronto Raptors (37-15)
Week 15 Record: 2-2
Offensive Rating: 112.4 (7th)
Defensive Rating: 107.5 (9th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)
I’ve made it quite clear that I am a Raptors fanboi before. Please take the following as a personal cry for help from Raptors Nation to Raptors Front Office brass.
To Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse:
Start playing Kawhi more. Stop with this rest shit, and get him in the game. We should be fisting teams right now, but instead I find myself more and more worried about how well Malachi Richardson is going to match up against other teams star small forwards. I DO NOT WANT TO BE DOING THIS ANYMORE. Get your shit together, for the love of god, please.
Also, please be active at the trade deadline. You’ve made it quite clear that this is the all-in year. Push your chips into the middle of the table and show the rest of the upper echelon teams that your nuts are hanging down around your knees. If I don’t find out that one of Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, or Marc Gasol are not a Raptor post deadline, I might cry. I might cry blood. Don’t make me cry blood.
Concerned Raptors Fans Everywhere
4. Denver Nuggets (33-15)
Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 107.7 (10th)
Net Rating: +5.8 (4th)
As a teenager, I found myself enthralled with the game of basketball. I would literally watch anything of any professional playing anywhere to learn more about the game. I found myself absolutely amazed with the story of Arvydas Sabonis, while he played for the Trailblazers from 1994-2002. His skill set was unreal, but what I found the most amazing skill set he maintained was his ability to pass in and out of the post.
I feel the exact same way about Nikola Jokic. His passing ability, his soft hands around the rim, and his ability to absolutely dominate on the block. Here’s a video of his game on Saturday night.
Due to a 1 game suspension he earned in week 15, Jokic only played in 2 of the Nuggets 3 games.
28 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
32 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 2 3PM
Jokic is going to be the reason that the Nuggets go deep into the Western Conference playoffs this year. Mark my words (out of 10).
5. Indiana Pacers (32-18)
Week 15 Record: 1-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (15th)
Defensive Rating: 104.2 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.5 (5th)
I’m still 50/50 on the whether or not the Pacers will be here next week. Part of me believes that if they can grind out a win against the Raptors after VO blew out his quad, then they can do it. The other part of me looks at the wing depth, or lack thereof on this team and thinks that the Pacers are about to plummet.
Regardless of all of this, I was quite sad to find out about the severity of Oladipo’s leg injury this week. The East was better off with him leading the Pacers.
JUST MISSED OUT:
Philadelphia 76ers (32-18)
Did the Sixers get better when they found out that Jimmy Butler has to see a wrist specialist? I imagine they could’ve got something a lot more productive in a trade otherwise. That’s a shame.
With that being said, they went 2-1 in week 15, and are breathing down the neckline of the Pacers blue collared shirt.
Also, in other news: Ben Simmons shot a 3 this week. Never again.
New Orleans Pelicans (22-28)
If I’m Dell Demps, I’m writing my resignation letter in English and Creole French right now. I’ll refer to the once great David Stern’s thoughts on Demps:
“[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”
Yea, he’s gonna lose AD. The Pelicans are slumping, and they’re leaning on Jahlil Okafor for offense right now. It’s time to pull the plug and clean house. Davis is a Laker, Celtic, or Not-Pelican come this summer. This season is a wash.
Houston Rockets (29-20)
Did I say Rockets? I meant Hardens. The Houston Hardens are posting the following line in the last 7 days:
44.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg on 4.3 3PM. Somhow I think those three point numbers are a bit too low.
When you look past the legendary 1-man show that James Harden is putting up recently, the Rockets went 3-1 in week 15 and are leap frogging up the West standings right now. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Paul’s return will change the pace, or if Harden continues to out-alpha every man on a basketball floor within 100 feet of him in week 16.