written by Babajide Fawole
All teams have played a minimum of 10 games so far. Enough to shake off the rust and oil the joints after the long summer. This break would have been longer for some than for others (For the teams that didn’t make the playoffs). A few lineups returned with very few tweaks and were able to put out relatively the same starting lineups as they did last season. Other teams that were active during the summer are going through rotations to find their “killer squad”. But after 10 games in, we can make a quick assessment of who is the “Amaka” of the NBA.
Amaka (for those who were either living under a rock this summer, or aren’t Nigerian) is one of Nigeria’s summer anthems by 2Baba (Tuface Idibia) featuring Peruzzi. In this song, 2Baba goes into details about how he’s ready for a fun evening with Amaka; booze is ready, the generator is full, he’s told his mum he’s met this girl...basically all is set. But then Amaka never shows up without any explanation, but he can see that she’s active on social media. “Amaka disappoint me” is the catchphrase in the chorus.
Back to the NBA, which team had us all excited, had us already looking at the jerseys for the new season and considering which one to buy, maybe already even had us making bold early predictions...only to pull an Amaka and disappoint?
The nominees are as follows:
Los Angeles Lakers
Naturally, any team that adds LeBron to its roster automatically becomes a championship contender. After all, he has been to eight straight finals. Look at the rest of his resume, 3x NBA champion (and was finals MVP each of those times), 4x league MVP. He will also probably be remembered in history for “the chase-down block” on Andre Iguodala, when he and Kyrie Irving led the Cavs from being down 3 to 1 to the Golden State Warriors, to come back and win a chip.
However, the Lakers have been off to an uninspiring 6-6 start to the season. Is this disappointing? Yes, so much so that news from the Lakers front office is that Team President of Basketball operations Magic Johnson allegedly screamed at Coach Luke Walton, making it clear to him that the pressure is on to win now rather than later.
But come on, we expected this with the meme squad (the nickname that the combination of Javale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley have been given). We understand it will take some time for Coach Walton to figure out how to mix veterans with the young guys properly, and we also know that the Lakers will probably make the playoffs, we also kind of knew that LeBron needs shooters around him.
So Lakers are disappointing, but they aren’t exactly “the Amaka”.
Houston Rockets, the team that was put together to defeat the Warriors according to team GM Daryl Morey, came very close to actually achieving this goal last season. Would they have beat the Warriors with a healthy Chris Paul on the roster? We will never know.
After a busy offseason where they resigned Clint Capela, added Carmelo Anthony, the scoring juggernaut that was the Rockets have been off to a 5-7 start. They have also had 4 straight games where they scored less than 100 points. In losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute, we knew that they would suffer defensively since Melo (who doesn’t really defend) was not exactly a replacement for the solid defenders they were losing. But in addition to losing defense, they are also not scoring as much. Things aren’t looking good for the Rockets. There are even reports that Carmelo might have played his last game as a Houston Rocket.
This Amaka is disappointing, but we already knew she would have questionable behavior, we just didn’t know it would be this bad. But she’s learning so we are giving her a chance. So, the Rockets aren’t really “the Amaka”.
The Wizards haven’t really clicked in a while and maybe, just maybe...it’s time for a rebuild. But we aren’t really surprised.
There were already problems with team chemistry...as was evident with the mutiny while John Wall was out injured last season. The team surprised everyone while their star player was out by going on an unbeaten streak. Their assist numbers were up, and Marcin Gortat famously tweeted “Unbelievable win tonight. Great “team” victory”, which everyone correctly assumed was a sub directed at John Wall’s ball-dominant style of play.
Then they added Dwight Howard...who hasn’t exactly been known to be the best teammate;
The Wizards have been off to a dismal 3-9 start. Also, remember the game when Steph Curry went ballistic and scored 51 points in 3 quarters? It was against the Wizards.
The Wizards haven’t bonded well. And we aren`t one bit surprised. We knew Amaka would be tough to get along with, but we went ahead with it. So we can’t really say we are disappointed.
This is our Amaka without further ado.
1-11 start which is effectively the worst record in the NBA;
They lost LeBron James in the offseason to free agency. Which means they got nothing in return for his departure. No pieces to rebuild the franchise...nada;
At the beginning of the season, a very cocky and confident Tristan Thompson when being asked about the new terrain of the Eastern Conference effectively told everyone to take a chill pill, as they were the defending 4-time Eastern Conference Champs. Oh the pride that cometh before a fall.
After a 0-6 start, Dan Gilbert, the owner of the franchise decided it was time to cut ties with Ty Lue. Then the drama with the replacement coach Larry Drew, who wanted assurances before assuming the title of coach.
Colin Sexton was taken with the 8th overall pick in the 2018 draft. Pretty high. But then the reports from the Cavs camp is that the veterans have ripped into Sexton, that he “does not know how to play”...Ouch;
Kevin Love is injured...so is Cedi Osman...and George Hill...and Sam Dekker.
And to top it all off JR Smith, of 2018 Finals Game 1 fame, acknowledged earlier in the month that he wants to be traded.
Amaka (Cleveland) disappoint me.
Images - Getty Images/NBA