With constant new arrivals of NBA snapbacks and jerseys here at CAP-Z, it’s one thing for us to supply the goods, but it’s about time we weighed in on the NBA season. One month in here’s who we’re watching.
Rookies of the year
Zion Williamson is an obvious favourite. You can’t go anywhere in the NBA and hear the mention of this years rookie without the mention of Zion following close behind. Now said to return from a knee injury around the 3rd of December, Zion still has a lot of buzz around him for that rookie of the year title. His performance and skill certainly isn't the thing that would hold him back here, we’ve got our eyes on the physical side of things. Playing twice the amount of games he played last year in his college league, will Williamsons knees carry him through?
Ja Morant has showed no signs of slowing down as he seamlessly slipped into NBA from his college days. As much of a shoe in as anyone for rookie at this point, Morant is one to watch this season, if you can even keep your eye on him. Proving a valuable pick for the Grizzlies he’s already averaging good numbers on points and assists and almost shooting 50/50 field to 3 pointers.
R.J. Barret is another young player in the race to rookie of the year. Barret might have to push a little harder to get there. Exhibiting the skillset and potential in flashes he’s been hindered in the past by questionable shot calls. While the Knicks might not be the best performers right not, Barret is easily one of the best on the team. If he takes this opportunity to take as many shots as he likes, he could very well smooth out those growing pains and find himself front running rookie of the year.
One month in it’s still early days to be calling MVP but Luka Doncic is a bit of a no brainer. Having won the crown in the Euroleague as youngest ever MVP it really feels like it’s only a matter of time till he claims it in the US. At only 20 years old and in a team of exciting young talent Doncic no doubt has the skills to get him there. We’d like to see the Mavericks help him up the ladder and get the stats we know he’s capable of.
We’ve seen players move from most improved to most valued and it seems that could be the narrative Pascal Siakam is writing himself into. Rising to the occasion he seems to play unbothered underpressure and it’s allowed him to rapidly step up to the plate and become the Raptors beacon.
Teams flying out of the gates at high speeds is nothing new. Yes, we’re only one month in and we know anything can happen at this point but it’s worth noting that the league is moving faster than we’ve seen before this season. The average team has upped an addition 2.6 possessions per game compared to 2018. Honourable mention to the Houston Rockets who seem to have harnessed that rocket power to break records. Currently at an all time low in a good way, they’re averaging 14.3 the shortest possession time since about 1996. While most teams start strong and speedy the Rockets are certainly ahead of the game in speed. The thing we’ll be watching for is which teams can pace themselves before they burn out.