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The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Around the NBA on December 1

The season is around 20% over for most teams, and the league standings are slowly starting to take shape. So lets look around the league at which teams and players are doing well or struggling. Its the Good, Bad, and Ugly, start of December edition!

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

The Golden State Warriors: 19-0. It is December and the Warriors haven't lost yet. Pending a weird collapse or an injury to Steph Curry or Draymond Green they are going to be one of the greatest teams of all time.

Paul George: While people hoped that George would come back better than ever after his horrific leg injury, it was expected that it would take some time for him to readjust to the NBA. Instead, George has roared back as the best (or second best depending on how you feel about LeBron) player in the Eastern Conference and one of the top 10 players in the NBA. His shooting might be unsustainable, as he is at 45.5 from three on seven attempts a game, while his best prior season on any significant number of attempts was 38.5 way back in 2011. Nonetheless, his defense and all-around game is terrific, and PG is firmly back in the discussion for best two-way players in the NBA.

Chris Bosh: Another great story this season has been the return of Bosh from his frightening confrontation with blood clots in his lungs last year. Bosh has slid right back into his old role as a power forward --foregoing center in favor of Hassan Whiteside--and has been marvelous. He is hitting threes at a solid rate, still gets to the line, and remains one of the best big man defenders in the league. Miami is 10-6 with the third best record in the Eastern Conference despite an awful season by Goran Dragic and the continued decline of Luol Deng and Dwayne Wade largely thanks to Bosh (and Whiteside).

Dirk Nowitzki: Dirk is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the shell of Kobe Bryant. Somehow, at age 37, he is still putting up 17 and 7 on amazing shooting (on pace for clearing the 50/40/90 mark) and is leading a Mavs team everyone (including me) thought was headed for the lottery to a 10-8 record. His defense isn't great but he still gives effort, and the spacing he brings to the offensive end is as valuable as ever. He probably has a couple good years left, but who knows whether he will want to use them up or not. Enjoy him while you can folks.

The Bad

The Western Conference: The mighty Western Conference might finally be on the decline. After dominating the NBA for the better part of the last decade, the West only has 6 teams above .500 this season while the East has 9. Various teams have been beset by injuries, or malcontent, or just plain collapsed. Not only that, but many of the good Western Conference teams are not exactly full of spring chickens, while the Eastern conference has all the up and comers. The times they are a changin'.

James Harden: After a brutal start to the season, Harden has finally recovered a bit on offense. His percentages are still poor (40% from the field and 30% from three), but he is getting to the line a ridiculous 12 times a game. The issues are not on that end, but rather on defense, where he has reverted back to his 2013-2014 self. In other words, he doesn't try at all. The gifs and vines of his lazy defense are numerous, but it runs deeper than that, and he has regained his mantle as one of the poorest defenders in the NBA. The fact that the Rockets' superstar player has given up on one end is not good for team morale or overall play, and the Rockets are accordingly 7-11.

The Ugly

John Wall: Wall is an incredible talent, and last year was one of the five best point guards in the NBA. This season he hasn't even been top five in his conference. John is shooting career lows from the field and the line (39 and 73 percent respectively) while turning the ball over a whopping 4.3 times per game. Meanwhile, his assists have dipped from 10 last year to a mere 7.6 this season, and the Wizards are a poor 6-8. Wall has noticeably lost confidence in his shot, and more worryingly has played disinterested defense for the first time in years. If the Wizards are going to turn things around, they need Wall to play a lot, lot better than he has so far. Hopefully he gets out of his funk, because he is amazing to watch.

Michael Carter-Williams: Continuing the theme of Eastern Conference point guards, MCW has been awful this year, and was benched by Coach Jason Kidd a couple games back. His shooting percentage is actually the highest it has ever been, but he is not getting to the line and his outside shooting is as bad as ever. Carter-Williams has continued his trend of high turnover rate from previous seasons yet hasn't been able to pile up assists, probably because teams can overplay the passing lanes so much. He is a negative on the court. Amazingly enough, the Bucks gave up Brandon Knight for him less than a year ago; the same Brandon Knight who has set the league on fire so far this season. There is still hope for MCW but it is getting harder and harder to see.

Byron Scott: Kobe Bryant is not the biggest problem with the Lakers. Instead, that mantle has been claimed and staked out by Coach Scott, who has taken basketball back to the stone age this season. D'Angelo Russell continues to not get enough minutes despite improving drastically since the start of the season, and is benched for defense that his older teammates continually get away with. Metta World Peace is getting substantial minutes at age 36 for a 2-14 team over much younger (and more talented) players who need playing time to get better. Even outside of rotations, Scott's dislike of the modern NBA playstyle (3 point shooting and non-Princeton offense) has killed any chance his team had to be even moderately bad. The Lakers could be 5-11 while playing exciting basketball, but not while Byron is in charge.