1) Coaching actually matters… sort of:
The top three teams in the east at the moment are the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, and the Detroit Pistons. Surprising? Absoulutely. The three coaches of those teams are as follows, Brad Stevens, Frank Vogel, and Stan Van Gundy. After apparently losing all of their defense during the offseason, the Boston Celtics are now first in defensive efficiency in the league. After not making any splashes during the offseason and drafting what looks like a long-term prospect in Jonathan Isaac, the Orlando Magic are now second in offensive efficiency behind only the Golden State Warriors. The Detroit Pistons are now coming off a three-game winning streak against Minnesota, at the Clippers, and at Oracle against the defending champions. Coaching matters, and to prove that, you just have to contrast the recent success of these three teams to that of Cleveland. Ty Lue and his Cavaliers are 27th in defensive efficiency and dropping four of their last five games against teams that were all below .500 last year. Inept coaching is being exposed and the talent hasn’t been able to compensate for Ty Lue’s incompetence, especially with Isaiah still sidelined.
2) The Process is going to have to wait a few years:
This past week Markelle Fultz has been sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Regardless when Fultz has been on the court this season, he hasn’t played the part of a number one pick. Of course, much of this can be attributed to his health. However, it just seems that the injury gods like picking on 76ers rookies. Embiid, Simmons, and now Fultz. Coming off of a tough road victory against Houston, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have looked worthy of all the hype, but that’s about it. It’s been the Simmons x Embiid show while the surrounding cast has failed to contribute in any sort of way. The 76ers are still a couple years away from any sort of playoff relevance and even then, we need to see if Markelle’s game can translate to the NBA the way many expected it to.
3) Milwaukee is a Parker away from being serious contenders:
Giannis is MVP caliber and there is no denying that. Malcolm Brogdan looks like an elite level perimeter defender and the right play-caller for this Bucks team. And Kris Middleton compliments Giannis’ game perfectly, with his knock-down shooting. However, if last week’s home loss to the Celtics taught us anything, it is that the Bucks are in dire need of a weapon that can create their own offense. Barring that Jabari Parker returns before playoff time and at the same level he was playing at before, which are both big “ifs”, opposing teams won’t be able to double/triple-team Giannis like the Celtics were able to do. Parker can give this team a whole new dynamic, and considering that the East’s power houses have looked out of sorts, the East looks ripe for the taking.