One of the main things which emerged from the NBA 2016-17 season was not a surprise: the New York Knicks are still trash. The other main thing was a surprise, after adding Kevin Durant the Golden State Warriors did not break their own regular season record of 73 wins.
But two other teams left a big impression on me.
The Phoenix Suns
Phoenix goes into the post season without a playoff appearance since 2010, but during this time the Suns have rebuilt well. But what makes them so exciting?
- Devin Booker. One of the best young shooters the game has seen, Booker is blessed with confidence and range, proving it after averaging over 22% in his second year with Phoenix. He is the youngest ever player to score 70+ points in a game.
- Marquese Chriss. The power forward’s first season in the NBA was pretty damn good considering his limited minutes in the first half of the season. He has since proved that he has the potential to be a superstar with his variety of scoring moves, as well as demonstrating some good defence.
- Their potential draft pick position. After such a poor record this year the Phoenix Suns will probably land the second draft spot this year (Boston would be unlucky if they Brooklyn’s pick out wasn’t top spot). With Phoenix’s pick they will probably draft the one who is left out of Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. Both are point guards, and despite having Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyler Ulis under contract, the combination of either guard with Booker is a beautiful one. If they do draft a guard, expect Phoenix to trade Knight or Bledsoe (probably the latter) for a first round draft pick.
The Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks know they have something special, not just Giannis Antetokounmpo but their depth and each player’s scoring ability.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak will probably be the best player in the league in the near future, his ability to run the floor, score and act as playmaker along with his athleticism is just insane for a 6 foot 9 inch forward. In my eyes Giannis is this year’s MVP.
- Thon Maker. When Maker was taken 10th overall in last year’s draft, no-one expected him to have this much impact straight away. At only 19/20 this season, he has shown defence to the quality of a veteran centre leading their team, with this rookie year foundations there will be an even greater level next year.
- Defence. Here I could have chosen Malcolm Brogdon, their 24 year old rookie, who has a good shot at this year’ Rookie of the Year award. But the Buck’s young roster and defence combination is too good to overlook. There are multiple players who are versatile enough to guard perimeter threats and inside threats. The Bucks also boast some centres who can defend the rim and high/low post incredibly.
Fear the Dear