Rockets heating up, Dončić’s dazzling for Dallas, Spurs struggling to win games

Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs find themselves in unfamiliar territory: 12th in the Western Conference with a 6-12 record. The team is in jeopardy of ending their 22 consecutive years as a playoff team.

Mike Tipton / Wiki Creative Commons

Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs find themselves in unfamiliar territory: 12th in the Western Conference with a 6-12 record. The team is in jeopardy of ending their 22 consecutive years as a playoff team.

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The entire landscape of the NBA is slowly beginning to change, and unless you’re a Golden State Warriors fan, you would probably say that it’s changing for the better. The teams considered to be “elite” are shifting, and it almost feels like the era of extreme imbalance between the talent level of teams may be coming to an end. 

Teams such as the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers are asserting their dominance as the top teams in the league, while members of the old guard, such as the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs are falling to the wayside. 

Here in Texas, we can categorize our teams under three titles: the underperformer, the surprise team and the one picking up right where they left off. One of those is pretty obvious, as the Houston Rockets have been a mainstay at the top of the Western Conference standings for the past few years. The other two are definitely on entirely different trajectories from years past.

While many expected the Spurs to have a rebuilding year of sorts, no one expected them to be among the worst teams in the West, exceeded only by perpetual cellar-dwellers and what can only be considered as the post-dynasty Warriors. The Mavericks, on the other hand, are currently sitting with an 11-5 record which is good for fourth place in the West. This comes as a surprise following a season that saw the Mavericks finish in second to last in the conference. 

Over in Houston, James Harden and the Rockets are looking to finally take over the conference now that Golden State is out of the way. The Rockets currently have an 11-6  record following a great game against the Mavericks. Their success is due mostly to Harden taking his already MVP caliber game to an entirely different level. As it stands, Harden leads the league in most offensive stats, including an outstanding 37.9 points per game. He should be anyone’s pick for MVP at this point of the season. 

Sorry Spurs fans, but all good things have to end at some point. And it seems that almost 20 years of relevance may be coming to an end. The team still has bright spots, with Gregg Popovich remaining a premier coach along with DeMar DeRozan being in the top-15 for points this year. However, despite the season still being young, it already feels like a lost cause for the 2019 Spurs.

The Mavericks have bucked the negative expectations that many had for them prior to the season, essentially flipping places with the Spurs; Dallas is becoming an upper-tier team after finishing near the bottom last season. 

After being named Rookie of the Year last season, the young phenom Luka Dončić has picked up right where he left off. Dončić is already well on his way to one of the greatest seasons ever for a 20-year-old: after just 14 games, he has already tied Magic Johnson’s record for triple-doubles in his year 20 season. The future is now in Dallas, and it’s looking bright.