Welcome to another edition of NBA RoundTable. This week, Is home court less of a factor, Will San Antonio break the record for most road wins to start a season, that and so much more on NBA RoundTable.
Here are the questions:
It seems like more of the top teams are losing at home more often this year. Is home court becoming less of a factor? Cavaliers 9-2, Warriors 8-2, Spurs 5-4, Clippers 7-2)
Steve: I don’t really think it matters much being the regular season. I mean it is nice an all to win consistently in the regular season for your fans, but the playoffs is the biggest home court edge. That being said, to answer the question is is less of a factor? Absolutely. I mean the Cleveland Cavaliers went into San Francisco and eliminated the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 on their own home floor. They had a record that any team would love to have at home. So while it is a factor in many senses, it is not the biggest factor.
Dan: Besides what’s happening in San Antonio, which I have no idea after being unbeatable at home last season and changed it to nearly unbeatable on the road, every other team isn’t really having that much of a difference for it to be come less of a factor. Would you rather play at home as an 8th seed trying to beat GSW? Or in GSW where the crowd is against you, it’s loud, etc. It’s still a major factor in my opinion from the playoffs to the regular season.
Chad: In the Regular Season I don’t think there is much of a difference home or away. In the playoffs with the crowd into the game there is more of an impact but with Cleveland clinching in San Francisco last year I do think it’s effect is becoming diminished on the overall effect of a playoff series.
San Antonio is undefeated on the road at 11-0. They are 4 wins away from breaking Golden State’s record of 14 road wins to start a season. Will they get there?
Todd: I think they will. Their first possible road loss will be at Portland on December 23. That is a second night of a back to back after playing the Cilppers. If they get by Portland they might not have another chance to lose until they play Cleveland on January 21st. Last year they were dominate at home and this year they are dominate on the road. You out their home record last year with their road record this year and they are 54-1.
Steve: I don’t think they will. Sure they are a great team on the road, but they have not been playing Spurs like basketball over the past couple of weeks. Their home record is average, and they are losing games that they should be winning. Tomorrow they play the Bulls in Chicago, and I have a feeling that will be their first loss, assuming they got by a pesky Minnesota team yesterday.
Dan: While I want to say yes, the schedule doesn’t sit in their favor. They almost got beat by the Bucks but were saved by a generous goal tending call late in the 4th quarter. They face Minnesota and Chicago in their next two games, then have to go to Phoenix and after a couple home games, they’ll face the Rockets. If they can get through Chicago, I don’t know if they can get through Houston. If they do tie the record, they play the Clippers. I think they’ll come one game short with their first road loss coming to Houston. James Harden gets the best of them. I know they already beat them in Houston earlier in the season by six, but I don’t think they can do it again.
Chad: I will say yes because of a favorable schedule and they do have enough talent to get to the 14 straight wins set by Golden State.
Nick Young of the Lakers has been playing great basketball on both ends of the floor. He often guards the other teams best offensive player. Should he be in the conversation of most improved player?
Todd: his defense definitely improved. Nick Young has never been known as a defensive player. Along with his improvement on defense and he can still average 13 plus points a game. I think he can be in the conversation considering what he did last year.
Steve: I could see it, he is the most improved player on arguably the most improved team? There is still a lot of season left to play, but he is easily the front runner right now.
Dan: I definitely think he should be in the conversation but I don’t think he’s going to win it. His numbers are up, but I don’t think that it’s going to be enough to win the award compared to some other players. One thing that is going to hurt him is the team he plays for as well as his personal fouls. Averaging 2.7 fouls per game compared to last year when he averaged 0.9 which is way under his 1.9 career fouls per game average. He’s in the conversation, he’s just not going to win.
Chad: Roughly a quarter of the way through the season I would say he is a strong contender for most improved player on maybe the most improved team in the league.
Anthony Davis is having an outstanding individual year. He is leading the NBA in scoring and block shots, which no player has ever done thru a whole season. If the Pelicans miss the playoffs or even end up in the 8th seed, should Davis be in the MVP conversation?
Todd: Davis is an MVP caliber player on a mediocre team right now. Should he be in the MVP conversation? yes Will he be? probably not because the Pelicans are an 8th seed at best.
Steve: Davis is always going to be in the MVP conversation. I really feel for him, I really do. Even though the Pelicans are playing better, I don’t see them making a serious run at the playoffs. However, should they sneak in, whether its the 8th seed, or better. I could see him getting votes simply because the Pelicans are awful without him.
Dan: Yes, I believe so. Without Anthony Davis, that team would be terrible. He is bringing that team up from an awful start and he would be the true Most Valuable Player in the league. Look at Mike Trout. While it’s different sports, he won the MVP award on an awful Angels team who would’ve set records for losses, etc without him just showing you that they don’t need to be on a championship-caliber team in order to win the MVP. If he finishes with the points crown as well as the blocks crown, you won’t have much of a case against him unless Westbrook averages a triple-double and OKC gets a top 4 seed. Either way, he’s definitely in the conversation.
Chad: He should be yes but with talent like Curry, Westbrook, and Lebron it would be hard to sway votes to Davis and win the MVP but leading in points and blocks would make his case stronger but his team is an 7-8 seed at best.
With the Lakers doing better than most people thought. Are they a legit contender for a playoff spot?
Todd: I think they are a year away from making the playoffs again. I think they might win 30-35 games at best this year and thats if they get back some of the guys from injury. That is better than I would have thought at the beginning of the season.
Steve: I said at the end of last season that if they got one of the top two picks in the draft, with an exiting Kobe Bryant, a young, hungry coach who has championship experience, that the Lakers could win anywhere from 35 to 40 games. I don’t think they are going to the playoffs this year, but they will be in the topic of conversation at least through March.
Dan: Yes, I believe with the way they’re playing now, they can realistically contend for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They most likely won’t make it into the playoffs, but with how the chemistry is and how on par with each the Lakers are, I think they can definitely compete. With Paul George having a down year in Indiana and the entire team’s chemistry is so off, Paul George more than likely wishes he decided to go to Los Angeles. They’d be in top 5 of the West conversations, but even without a top super star they’re still playing good ball including a big 20-point win over the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers are contending for the playoffs this year, but they aren’t making them…
Chad: I think they are still a year or so away from really being a contender in the west for a playoff spot. I say they win about 30 games this year; try again to get a little bit better in the offseason and really make a run at it next year.
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