Unexpected Occurrences as the NBA Season Reaches its Midway Point


James Snyder

At the start of the NBA season, Alex Halpern ’21 took a neutral stance on how the Lakers would perform throughout the season, and as the season reaches its midway point, the Lakers have showed signs of progress, but so far, not enough to increase their chances to contend in the playoffs.

Anticipation built as the NBA season began. On October 17, 2017, basketball fans all around the world were excited to see how this season would unfold, especially with major changes to team rosters and coaching staff. From Celtics fans in Boston excited to see the new all-star duo of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, to Lakers fans in California, who longed to see the newly acquired college star, Lonzo Ball, only time would tell whether such teams would thrive this season.  

Fast forward to January 20, 2018, the halfway point of the season. More teams are enduring injuries to key players, as well as pivotal trades just before they reach the trade deadline. At the start of the NBA season, Celtics fans initially feared that the loss of newly acquired Gordon Hayward would bring the team down during the season. Surprisingly enough, the Celtics have been performing far better than any other team in the Eastern Conference, building their chemistry through Kyrie Irving because he has been able to help the team work together, involving the new, young and veteran players into the team’s playing style. Moving down the ladder, teams such as the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons continue fighting, barely making the playoffs to become the eighth best team in the East.

The New York Knicks have released Carmelo Anthony after seven nail-biting years for their fans, who had been praying that the Knicks would add another championship to the books, and Anthony would finally get his first championship ring, which has not happened for the duration of his time with the Knicks. Finally, as no clear resolution to help Anthony or the Knicks was reached, Anthony was released prior to the start of this season, and the Knicks have brought in players such as Enes Kanter and rookie Frank Ntilikina to build around the rising Latvian star, Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks started the season off on the right foot, adding up significantly more wins than losses.

“I would say that so far the NBA season has been competitive. Even losing teams seem to compete every night with their young talent, as seen with the Lakers and the Knicks with their rookie players.”

Unfortunately, as the season progressed, the team has been relatively stagnant in the amount of wins they accumulated up to the halfway point of this season. Rather, the Knicks have been adding up losses that lower the team’s aspiration to make the playoffs after a handful of years of not making the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Regardless of the losses that teams like the Knicks have been taking, students believe that the competitive aspect of NBA games has not been taken away.

“I would say that so far the NBA season has been competitive. Even losing teams seem to compete every night with their young talent, as seen with the Lakers and the Knicks with their rookie players,” said Zaheen Hossain ’18.

Like Hossain, Alex Smyk ’18 stands firmly behind the Brooklyn Nets, trusting that once “D’Angelo Russell gets back into his prime shape after coming off of an injury that cost him a large bulk of games during the season, the Nets will be a team to look out for.”

“The Nets are underestimated because their team is so young. With a little more experience they can be 3rd in the conference, or higher, as a matter of fact,” Smyk added.  

Speaking of experience, for Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis’s second year in the NBA, he has been putting up career numbers, but just after the halfway mark of the season, Porzingis made a contact dunk that cost him a torn ACL in February. Knicks fans stood in awe as their star player fell to the ground; for many, this moment took away any hope they had in the Knicks making strides this season.

All in all, avid NBA fans like Hossain and Smyk remain optimistic about their teams, regardless of any obstacles that have come their way. In the final stretch of forty-one games that NBA teams look forward to progressing through, it will be a matter of months before we find out if lower-ranked teams pull themselves up in the standings and if higher-tier teams lose the momentum that has brought them this far into the season.