Well, here we are, just a few games away from the conclusion of the 2022 NBA regular season.

What started as a foregone conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets battling for the title has turned into one of the most topsy-turvy seasons in recent memory, with young stars battling their way to the top and several prospective first-time MVPs battling for the title of the best player in the game.

But for all of the great moments, there have been shockingly poor displays and “we wish we could forget about that” moments; so, here are the best and worst from each end of the spectrum.

Feel-goods of the 2022 NBA season

The Memphis Grizzlies

The NBA has been missing a smaller above-the-rim player to provide the best still images in the sport since Steph Curry made it cool for everybody to shoot half-court shots. Ja Morant has not only provided jaw-dropping excitement, but he has helped create an entirely new culture in Memphis; even better, the team has gone 20-2 in games in which he has not played, proving that their youth is not going to stop them from being the deepest team in the league. The Grizzlies are a fiery bunch that has repeatedly taken shots at former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala as fuel for motivation, showing that they do not care who you are, they are going to come straight for you. Morant

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dad jokes

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the perfect representation of the dichotomy of man. The “Greek Freak” is as tenacious and relentless of a player as the league has on the court, yet he still manages to come off as a respectful, humble, friendly figure off the court. Whether it be videos of him ordering a 50-piece nugget at the drive-thru after dropping a 50-piece in a closeout game of the NBA Finals or bringing a book of dad jokes to post-game pressers to kick off his interviews, Giannis is showing that the league will be in great hands once LeBron James and Kevin Durant retire. 

Chubby Luka is gone forever

Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic came into the 2022 NBA season looking more like he was ready for another round at the bar than 48 minutes of professional athletics; the young Slovenian needed a couple of months— and a few games off— to get himself sorted out, but he looks slimmer and quicker than he ever has during his time in the NBA, and he has posted MVP numbers while elevating Dallas to the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Doncic probably missed his chance at this year’s MVP, but it is likely that he will once again lead the offseason favorites for next year’s award.

Good lords of the 2022 NBA season

The Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers started the 2022 NBA season with six future Hall of Famers, two former MVPs, and players with a slew of other accolades on their roster; now, they are starting undrafted rookie Austin Reaves and journeymen Stanley Johnson and Wenyen Gabriel. They have a 31-47 record despite LeBron leading the league in scoring and will miss the play-in tournament if the San Antonio Spurs win two of their next four games. The purple and gold look awful most nights, frequently give up double-digit leads, play no defense, do not make perimeter shots, and most importantly, mortgaged their future and have little to build with. LeBron

The Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert relationship

Donovan Mitchell passes the ball an average of two times per game to Rudy Gobert. That’s right, passes, not assists— even if the Frenchman gets smaller guards switched onto him in the post and successfully seals them out, he very frequently does not receive the ball on the inside. This could speak to his lack of low-post moves, but it is probably more related to the fact that Donovan Mitchell, who has flirted with the idea of playing for the New York Knicks, does not want to be in Utah, and is operating as a solo act.

The rest of the Brooklyn Nets

Excluding Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets have been a total disaster; Kyrie Irving was only recently upgraded to a full-time employee, James Harden demanded a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons is still yet to appear in a game because of a disc herniation in his back, Steve Nash has not shown that he can coach a lick, Blake Griffin has become the team’s mascot, Joe Harris is injured, LaMarcus Aldridge returned from a life-threatening heart issue just to not play, and Patty Mills can’t shoot a beach ball into the ocean lately. Durant and his longtime friend-enemy LeBron are in the unenviable positions of being older players who have to do it all for their team, and they still usually lose— Brooklyn is currently 10th in the Eastern Conference and will participate in the play-in tournament.

 


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