Let’s dive in to the NBA’s most significant stories of the week including the Utah Jazz record-breaking streak, the rumors around Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond and the Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks
The Utah Jazz are making noise in the 2020/21 campaign leading the NBA with the best record in the league(15-4). The Jazz remains a great defensive team limiting their opponents to 44.2% from the field and 35% from three-point range. They allowed just 105.3 points per contest being the third best team in the league in this category behind the Knicks and the Lakers. They are also the strongest rebounding squad in the NBA with 50.0 per game.
However, Utah is not only dominant in the defensive end, but also in offense this season. They are second in three-point percentage and third in three-point attempts. Quin Snyder’s team stretches the floor and registers 114.2 points per 100 possessions being the 7th best team in OffRgt. Utah outscores their opponents by +7.5 this season- the best average in at least the last five seasons.
For the first time in Quin Snyder’s era, the Jazz seems to be flawless as a team having the right balance between the bench and the starters. More importantly, the Jazz are good in both ends of the court being on the midst of a franchise-record 11-game winning streak.
Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal could be part of the next NBA blockbuster trades
It will be difficult for any other blockbuster deal to match the magnitude of the ‘James Harden to Brooklyn Nets’ trade. During the last week, Andre Drummond and Bradley Beal were part of the trades rumor mill for different reasons last week.
Drummond is on the last year of the lucrative deal he signed with Pistons back in 2016. The veteran big could find many suitors, if the Cavaliers continue to win the rest of the season. Drummond will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer and the Cleveland could secure draft compensation for the New York native. Drummond averages 18.1 points, 14.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 29.8 minutes per contest.
On the other hand, Bradley Beal is a quite different situation. Beal has an incredible year so far leading the league in scoring (34.7 pts per), but the Wizards started the season horrible with just three wins in their first 15 games. More importantly, this record comes after the franchise gave up on John Wall, who had a great relationship with Beal, in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The 2016 MVP award recipient is having the worst year of his career so far shooting a career-low 38.8% from the field.
For the first time in years, the Wizards seem to be running out of time regarding Beal. However, Bradley Beal could also be running out of patience with Washington missing the playoff for the third season in the row during his prime years.
Tom Thibodeau’s project ‘defense’ in New York
Tom Thibodeau is famous for making his teams play effectively in the defending end. The veteran head coach was hired by the New York Knicks to instill a winning culture in the franchise, after years of turmoil.
In his first season, the Knicks seem like they are turning the corner in that regard. More specifically, the team is on the playoff conversation through the first quarter of the 2020/21 campaign. In an era where the best offense beats defense, the Knicks are winning thanks to their defensive ability.
In particular, they make their opponents shoot poorly from almost every position in the floor. Knicks limit their opponents to 58.8% from the restricted area and to 41.2% in shots from the paint. They had the best defense in the league forcing the opponent teams to shot with a league-worst 31.2% from beyond the arc and 42.6% from the field, while they limit teams to under 39% in corner threes.
New York is conceding 102.7 points per game posing as the best defense in the league, while they are third in DefRtg conceding just 106.5 points per 100 possessions. The Knicks are close to the 50%(9-11) record-wise and in reaching distance to a playoff spot, so far.