Every week we take you beyond the Toronto Raptors to look at the rest of the NBA. This week’s highlights include Paul George set to return, a coach on the hot seat, and the Boston Celtics’ early dominance.
The Toronto Raptors are 7-3 and tied for second in the conference despite a whirlwind of injuries hitting them at every turn. But what’s been going on around the rest of the NBA? We take a look in our weekly NBA update.
Paul George set to return
After missing the opening 11 games of the season, Paul George is expected to be back in uniform on Thursday night. The All-Star swingman is returning from two separate shoulder surgeries this offseason, on injuries that clearly impacted his game at the end of last season.
The Toronto Raptors aren’t necessarily going to feel bad for anyone else’s injury luck at the moment, but the Los Angles Clippers 7-3 record without their second-best players is nonetheless impressive. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers have looked like a good but not great team so far to start the season. George’s return has the ability to change that.
Coach Fizdale is on the hot seat
After a rough 2-9 start to the season, it appears Head Coach David Fizdale is on the hot seat in New York. After game 10, team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference explaining their dissatisfaction with the team’s start.
Then, less than a day later, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, as he is known to do, dropped a bomb. According to Wojnarowski, Mills has been trying to lay the groundwork for a Fizdale firing for some time, claiming the current roster could be competitive in the East.
Mills’ claim is, to be quite honest, ludicrous. New York’s current roster doesn’t come close to resembling a competitive team. Everyone knew the Knicks were going to be terrible except for the Knicks. Is it possible Fizdale is a bad coach? Absolutely. Could any coach succeed with this team? Absolutely not.
If Dolan believes that Mills is the problem rather than Fizdale, well that could impact the Raptors greatly.
Boston Celtics hot start
Don’t look now, but the Boston Celtics have the best record in the NBA. That’s right, despite losing Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, and others, Beantown is currently 8-1. They rank second in offensive rating and seventh in defensive rating. The offense isn’t surprising, but having a top-10 defense with this roster is a complete testament to Brad Stevens.
Now, they’ll face bad injury luck which seems to be spreading through the league like wildfire. Gordon Hayward, who finally looked like his All-Star self, will miss the next six weeks with a broken hand. They won’t keep up their current pace, but if they can manage to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference, this team should be considered a frisky NBA Finals contender.
Check-in at Raptors Rapture every Wednesday for our weekly NBA update.